Toyota is refusing to set the target of beating Audi to race victories over the remainder of this year’s World Endurance Championship.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon said it would be unfair on his team to burden it with the target of winning races over the five events of the second leg of the WEC, which begins this weekend at Interlagos in Brazil. He made the comments in the wake of Audi’s dominant form in the first three races of the WEC, including victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
Vasselon, whose squad won three of the final four races last season, said: “It is not fair on the team to set the target of a race win. We will only do everything we can to win a race and dream about it.”
He admitted that any targets for 2013 were ripped up on the eve of the opening round of the WEC at Silverstone in April when it became apparent that the turbodiesel Audi R18 e-tron quattro had increased its power advantage over the gasoline-engined Toyota TS030 Hybrid.
The change in the Balance of Performance ahead of Le Mans, which afforded the Toyota TS030 HYBRID an increase in fuel capacity of three liters could have a greater benefit in the six-hour race than in the 24 Hours, Vasselon conceded. He explained that it could result, at least at some races, in the Toyota making one less pitstop than last year.
Last season, Toyota had to build a gap of approximately 40 seconds over the Audis to be able to make a late splash-and-dash fuel stop and retain the lead. This season, the Audis, which have so far used about 20 percent more fuel than in 2012, are likely have to pull out an even bigger margin to negate the effects of what could be two extra stops.
SOLO TOYOTA VERSUS AUDI PAIR
Toyota fields a solo entry in Brazil and is likely to do so for the remainder of the season with the exception of its home race at Fuji in October.
Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi, who are Toyota’s best-placed crew in the WEC points, have been confirmed in the lone car for Interlagos and the following round of the series at Austin in September.
Audi’s Le Mans winners Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval lead the championship by 30 points from reigning world champions Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler.