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Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Toyota Gazoo Racing's Legendary Hybrid Racer is Set to Retire


Since its debut in 2016, the TS050 Hybrid has a record of 33 WEC races, 18 wins, 15 pole positions and 14 fastest laps, as well as recording the fastest-ever lap of Le Mans. It also helped Toyota Gazoo Racing win the World Championship in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

Following this week’s Bahrain race, it will head into retirement, to be replaced by a new car for the 2021 season, designed according to the new Hypercar regulations and based on the GR Super Sport road car currently in development.

The final race of the TS050 Hybrid will be a showdown for the drivers’ World Championship crown. The #8 car of reigning champions Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, alongside Brendon Hartley, lead the standings by seven points after their victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, in the #7 TS050 Hybrid, are behind in the title race for the first time this season following their misfortune at Le Mans, but they will compete at Bahrain with a favorable success handicap.

Success handicaps were introduced this season to promote closer competition in LMP1 by imposing lap time penalties based on the championship standings for all races excluding Le Mans. Although the TS050 Hybrids are the only LMP1 competitors this week, as the system relates to individual cars, the team supports the continuation of success handicaps in Bahrain, in the interests of fairness to each driver crew.

For only the second time this season the #8 crew has a success handicap disadvantage compared to the #7 drivers. In the previous six WEC races, the #7 car has been at a relative disadvantage to the #8 crew on three occasions, impacting on their results.

Mike, Kamui and José have already won once this season in Bahrain, while the team is looking for its third consecutive win in the Middle Eastern kingdom.

Both crews will use the high-downforce specification in Bahrain, reverting to the configuration last used in Austin back in February.

A compressed timetable sees a single practice session on Thursday evening before a busy Friday, which includes two practice sessions and qualifying. The eight-hour race will take place behind closed doors following the example of earlier events at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.

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