Toyota Just Set an All-Time Lap Record at Le Mans
Porsche, take note.
As the this weekend's 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans approaches, qualifying is in full swing with Toyota and Porsche at one another's throat. The two teams have bounced back and forth to make it an unbelievably close contest, and now, Toyota has made a statement. Team driver Kamui Kobayashi just ran a 3:14.791 lap time at the circuit, setting an all-time record and showing how serious the Gazoo crew is for this year's race.
Thanks to a clear track ahead of him, Kobayashi was able to fly around without worrying about overtaking. This gave him the right of way to set the blistering lap time, one that's never been matched in either qualifying or an official race since the chicanes on Mulsanne Straight were introduced in 1989.
Twenty minutes prior to Toyota's lap, the No. 33 Eurasia Motorsport LMP2 car had crashed, which resulted in a red flag. Kobayashi was the first to be sent out once things had cleared up, therefore allowing him to route the 8.469-mile Circuit de la Sarthe unlike we've seen before.
As you can see, the team was pretty ecstatic back in the pits.
Toyota Gazoo will assuredly use this to put Porsche on note for what is to come. After last year's gut-wrenching loss at the 24 Hour race, the Japanese crew has had a taste for blood. The team's consistent showing throughout the 2017 WEC season has been a strong indicator, and now, it looks to reinforce it with this move.
There will be one more nighttime testing tomorrow, but it's doubtful that we will see this benchmark broken given the conditions.