Toyota looking to stretch fuel advantage over Audi at Le Mans

The Toyota TS030 HYBRIDs could go two laps further between fuel stops than the rival Audi R18 e-tron quattros in this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours

Toyota looking to stretch fuel advantage over Audi at Le Mans

The Japanese manufacturer has revealed that it will experiment in qualifying tonight with exploiting the extra three litres of fuel-tank capacity that petrol-powered LMP1 chassis were awarded ahead of Le Mans.

The Toyotas were expected to go one lap further than the Audis on the evidence of the Silverstone and Spa World Endurance Championship rounds before the increase in fuel capacity.

The evaluations are focused on stretching that advantage to two laps with the additional fuel capacity as it strives to compete with the faster Audis in the race.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon said: "Three litres is really worth half a lap.

"Are we able to do one more lap with those three litres? Yes. Are we able to do one more lap and gain something? That is the question.

"We have to calculate what the loss in lap time is in order to do one more lap; we have to calculate what is the threshold of acceptable lap time loss to do this extra lap."

Audi has calculated that should the Toyota go two extra laps, its cars would need to lap 1.5 seconds faster every lap to make up for the time lost in the pits.

It is also expecting the TS030s to be closer to its R18s on race pace than in qualifying.

Toyota has not been surprised by the pace of the Audi, which was more than four seconds faster around the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe in first qualifying on Wednesday evening.

"We were expecting this; there have been no surprises," said Vasselon. "We are well behind on absolute pace and what we are now trying to do is to achieve a consistent race pace."

Anthony Davidson, who shared the #8 Toyota with Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin, stressed that the race was not only about absolute speed.

"The race is not only about lap times; it's not that black and white," he said. "It is also about strategy and fuel consumption."

Toyota has revealed that the driveline failure that afflicted the #8 car in first qualifying on Wednesday night was caused by the failure of first gear.

The team decided that Buemi should park the car rather than risking further damage to the transmission bringing it back to the pits.

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