Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 TS050 HYBRID continued to pace the LMP1 field in Saturday’s final practice session of the weekend at Fuji Speedway, after topping both sessions on Friday.
This time it was team newcomer Brendon Hartley who ran fastest ahead of his second race with the team. The Kiwi’s best time was a 1m25.621s, the fastest lap of the weekend so far.
That time was two tenths up on the sister No. 7 Toyota (the heavier of the two chassis following the ‘Success Handicap’ changes implemented for the weekend) which took second, a change in form after finishing FP2 in fifth.
Best of the privateer non-hybrid runners, again, was the No. 1 Rebellion, with Gustavo Menezes’ best lap of 1m26.172s just over half a second off Hartley’s.
The two Team LNT Ginettas completed the top five in the overall classification, both G60-LT-P1s managing over 50 laps again in what is their first time running at the Fuji Speedway.
The LNTs have been notably quick here, especially in a straight line. Yesterday Egor Orudzhev in the No. 5 Ginetta broke the all-time FIA WEC speed trap record at the circuit, hitting 325.3 kph, (203 mph) during the second free practice session, after Ben Hanley in the same car originally eclipsed the previous record in FP1.
LMP2 was paced by Racing Team Nederland’s ORECA 07 Gibson, which put Michelin at the top of the class for the first time this weekend with a 1m29.008s from F2 champion Nyck de Vries.
Quickest of the Goodyear teams ended up second — JOTA’s ORECA, four tenths off the RTN in the times. Silverstone winner Cool Racing completed the top three.
Danish outfit High Class Racing was fastest on Friday, but opted to work on race pace with a full fuel load today, monitoring its tire wear during the session and finishing up eighth in class.
In GTE Pro, the Porsche GT Team set the benchmark time, as it did during both practice sessions on Friday. The No. 91 911 RSR was the quickest of the pair, with a 1m37.601s from Gianmaria Bruni. He was less than a tenth faster than Nicki Thiim in the No. 95 Aston Martin, the Dane’s clocking the best time for Aston Martin thus far .
The second of the Astons, the No. 97 of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin, finished up third ahead of the first of the two AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVOs. Notably, the quickest Ferrari was just six tenths off the best GTE time of the session, but slower than the top five in GTE AM.
Matt Campbell’s fast lap in the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche, a 1m37.807s, topped Am and would have been good enough for third in GTE Pro. The Silverstone-winning AF Corse Ferrari finished up second ahead of the two Project 1 Porsches, the No. 56 ahead of the No. 57.
Qualifying is next for the FIA WEC runners, due to start at 13:10 local time.