The FIA WEC’s first weekend at the Fuji Speedway since 2019 is underway and in the opening session, it was Toyota that topped the times in the Hypercar class. Sebastien Buemi was the quickest of the Japanese marque’s driver-crew in FP1, steering the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid to a 1m31.171s lap.
The sister No. 7 Toyota finished the session a quarter of a second off the No. 8 in the hands of Mike Conway, but only just clear of the faster of the two Peugeot 9X8s.
James Rossiter, who has spent much of his career racing in Japan, put the No. 94 Peugeot third in the running order on what was the first competitive session for a factory effort for Peugeot in sports cars since 1992. His best lap was a 1m31.439s, only 0.268 off the No. 8 GR010 HYBRID.
Behind, the No. 93 Peugeot finished the session fourth fastest well clear of the No. 36 Alpine, which finished the session over 1.3s off Buemi’s time. This weekend there are just five entrants into the Hypercar category, as Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has opted to skip the flyaway race to Japan.
LMP2 had AF Corse’s No. 83 ORECA of Nicklas Nielsen leading the way with a 1m32.624s. It was enough to overhaul the earlier efforts from United Autosports’ pair of 07 Gibsons.
The Yorkshire squad had identical times for both cars, Alex Lynn in the No. 23 posted a 1m32.866s a little earlier than Filipe Albuquerque in the sister No. 22.
Renger van der Zande was the only driver not to see track action this morning after feeling unwell. He is expected to be back in the car for the second session.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado topped GTE Pro with a 1m37.723s tour, 0.169s clear of the No. 92 Porsche of Dane Michael Christensen with the sister No. 91 just a few hundredths slower.
Corvette Racing’s C8.R ended the session fifth. The U.S.-flagged team was pushing hard to get up to speed in its first visit to Fuji, spending the session finding straight-line speed and removing downforce, and ended the session just over a second off Calado’s best.
Matteo Cairoli was the fastest driver in GTE Am, with a 1m39.064s in the No. 46 Team Project 1 Porsche, just 0.003s clear of Tomonobu Fuji in the No. 777 D’Station Racing Aston Martin. He hopes for a strong showing at his home circuit this weekend.
David Pittard put the No. 98 NorthWest AMR Vantage third fastest, just ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella in the #60 Iron Lynx Ferrari.