For the first race of its new Hypercar prototype, Toyota won the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with the number 8 of the Buemi-Nakajima-Hartley trio ahead of Alpine and the second Toyota.
The era of the Hypercar class begins as the LMP1 era has ended. Indeed, at the end of the six hours of racing on the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit, it was Toyota who took the honors for the debut of its GR010 Hybrid. with number 8 entrusted to Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley. While the first tests gave fear to competition from prototypes in the LMP2 category, the two machines of the Japanese manufacturer took control very early on, ahead of the Alpine, which entered the former Rebellion R-13 this season with technical parameters. corrected in order to put it in a performance window close to that of Hypercar. But the ambition of the team led by Philippe Sinault was quickly showered by concerns of excessive fuel consumption., which notably forced it to make one more pit stop than the Japanese prototype.
Toyota relaunched Alpine before winning
However, the looming Toyota double was called into question in the fourth hour of the race. Indeed, while the race management had to neutralize the race, the passage to the pit of number 8 was longer than expected. In the process, the number 7 was penalized for a collision with the Porsche flanked by the number 91, which caused a puncture of the latter. The GR010 Hybrid entrusted to Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria Lopez also experienced an exit from the track at the start of the last two hours of the race. Incidents which allowed the Alpine A480 of André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxivière to take the lead of the race for a while but, just under an hour from the checkered flag, Toyota regained control with number 8 to never let go, perfectly calculating his effort to avoid making an extra lap at the end of the race.
United Autosports and Porsche in the spotlight
Winner of the last 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 category, United Autosports kicked off the 2021 WEC campaign with a win for Phil Hanson, Fabio Scherer and Filipe Albuquerque, who started the race on the second row of the starting grid. In the general classification, it is a fourth place for the American team, only one lap behind the winner. Starting from pole position, the official Porsche wearing the number 92 and entrusted to the duo of Kevin Estre and Neel Jani won the race in the GTE Pro category, taking the best from the Ferraris of the AF Corse team. The Italian team, for their part, won the GTE Am category with Frenchman François Perrodo, accompanied by Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera.. A first race which will allow the FIA and the ACO to have as much data as possible to rebalance the two prototype categories, which should involve an improvement in the performance of the Hypercar in view of the second round of the season. , organized on the Portimão circuit on June 13th.
ENDURANCE – FIA WEC / 6 HOURS OF SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
Final classification – Saturday May 1, 2021
1- Toyota Gazoo Racing n ° 8 (Buemi-Nakajima-Hartley / SUI-JAP-NZL / Toyota GR010 Hybrid) 162 laps
2- Alpine Elf Matmut n ° 36 (Negrão-Stone–Vaxivière/ BRE-ENG–ENG/ Alpine A480-Gibson) at 1’07”196
3- Toyota Gazoo Racing n ° 7 (Conway-Kobayashi-Lopez / GBR-JAP-ARG / Toyota GR010 Hybrid) 1 lap
4- United Autosports USA n ° 22 (Hanson-Scherer-Albuquerque / GBR-SUI-POR / Oreca 07-Gibson) 1 lap (1st LMP2)
5- Jota n ° 38 (Gonzalez-da Costa-Davidson / MEX-POR-GBR / Oreca 07-Gibson) 1 lap
13- Porsche GT Team n ° 92 (Estre-Jani /ENG-SUI / Porsche 911 RSR-19) at 9 laps (1st LMGTE Pro)
20- AF Corsica n ° 83 (Perrodo-Nielsen-Rovera /ENG-DAN-ITA / Ferrari 488 GTE Evo) at 10 laps