Buemi leads opening Portimao 6H practice for Toyota

JEP/Motorsport Images

Buemi leads opening Portimao 6H practice for Toyota

Le Mans/WEC

Buemi leads opening Portimao 6H practice for Toyota


Toyota Gazoo Racing’s GR010 HYBRIDs enjoyed a perfect start to the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Portimao weekend this morning, setting the fastest times in Free Practice 1 in the Portuguese sunshine.

The fastest time in the session came early on from Sebastien Buemi in the No. 8, the Swiss driver touring the circuit in 1m32.792s. It was a time that would go unchallenged, 0.384s quicker than the sister car which ended the session second.

The best of the rest was Ferrari AF Corse. Its pair of 499Ps at this early stage came closest to the Toyotas, with times six and seven tenths off respectively, the No. 51 ahead of the No. 50, Alessandro Pier Guidi setting the best time of the team’s six drivers.

Of the two teams running LMDh chassis, it was Porsche that set the quickest time, the No. 5 963 managing a 1m33.688s, 0.8s off the fastest Toyota. The second Penske Porsche was exactly a second off in sixth.

Cadillac’s single V-Series.R would finish with the seventh-fastest time, the car completing the least laps of the front runners, only completing a single out lap in the first 30 minutes of running. The Cadillac would eventually go on to lap the circuit 23 times. 20 fewer laps than the two Toyotas that completed the most mileage of the Le Mans Hypercar runners.

It was an underwhelming first session for Peugeot, which is looking to move past its difficult trip to Sebring. The two 9X8s were 1.7 and 2.2 seconds off the pace respectively, with the slower of the two, the No. 93, under the top three in LMP2 in the times.

Both Prema Racing ORECAs and the example from Inter Europol made up the top three in LMP2. The quickest time came from Mirko Bortolotti, a 1m34.542s early in the session in the No. 63. The No. 9 ended up second.

Inter Europol’s Fabio Scherer reeled off a 1m34.920s to go third. The top five was completed by the No. 23 United Autosport and No. 41 WRT ORECA, which brought the session to a premature end when Rui Andrade had an off into the barriers head-on at Turn 11.

The best of the two non-hybrid LMH entries from Vanwall and Glickenhaus were 20th and 22nd overall, the Vandervell quicker than only two of the cars in LMP2, the No. 36 Alpine and No. 10 Vector ORECAs.

In GTE Am, Kessel Racing’s Ferrari 488 GTE Evo set the pace, Daniel Serra setting a 1m41.341s, half a second clear of the No. 98 Northwest AMR Vantage that ended up second. The No. 88 Proton Porsche made it three makes in the top three with a 1m41.862s.

Proton’s No. 77 Porsche, meanwhile, ended up at the bottom of the timing screens, after causing a red flag when Mikkel Pedersen got beached in the gravel at Turn 8. The Iron Dames Porsche also neutralized the session, bringing out an FCY period after Sarah Bovy had an off, also at Turn 8.

UP NEXT: The second free practice session is set to run at 3:30pm local time.