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WEC Monza

Toyota and Ferrari predict tyre wear will decide WEC Monza battle

Toyota and Ferrari are predicting that tyre wear will be the deciding factor in searing temperatures during Sunday’s Monza round of the World Endurance Championship.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa

The WEC Hypercar frontrunners who led the way in qualifying on Saturday made the claim in the knowledge that track temperatures will hit in excess of 50C over the course of the Monza 6 Hours and that they will have to undertake double stints on a set of Michelins over the course of the race.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon said: “The track temperature should be between 50 and 55C, and we know we have to do double stints and the second stint [on the tyre] will probably be race deciding.”

Ferrari has admitted concerns over the level of degradation that could occur in the race.

Giuliano Salvi, Ferrari’s sportscar race and test team manager, said: “I am a bit worried for the race, for the deg and for the management of track temperatures.

“We will face extreme conditions and we will need to manage the tyres really well.

“It will be quite a lot in the hands of the drivers: how you manage [the tyres] in the corners will be crucial to how you can extend your stint.”

Each car in the Hypercar class has 18 tyres available to it for qualifying and the race.

Hypercar supplier Michelin has brought the hard and medium compound tyres to Monza.

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: James Calado

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: James Calado

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Vasselon stressed that it wasn’t a given that only the hard tyre would be used despite the hot conditions forecast.

“There is more comfort in terms of wear with the hard, but it is not black and white,” he explained.

“There is a threshold where you have tyre that has less wear and is more resistant, but with less grip [because it is harder], it slides more and then loses more grip and so on and so on.”

The left-side tyres take the majority of the punishment on the 3.6-mile Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

Salvi described tyre wear as “really asymmetrical”.

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Teams are known to have experimented on running a mix of compounds left to right across the car during free practice.

Meanwhile, Earl Bamber said Cadillac is “quietly confident” heading into the race as he believes “our tyre degradation is one of our strong suits”. The sole Ganassi-run V-Series.R he shares with Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook starts fifth.

“It looks like it’s super hot, and it should fit us well,” he told Autosport.

“Toyota will be very strong because they’re always very strong.

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“But I think in this condition, in this heat with the tyre energy that happens here, it’s one that hopefully we feel fits us well so we’re quietly confident going into the race.”

The Monza 6 Hours, round five of the 2023 WEC, starts at 12:30 local time on Sunday.

Kamui Kobayashi took pole position for Toyota by just 0.017s from Ferrari driver Antonio Fuoco.

Additional reporting by James Newbold

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