Toyota GAZOO Racing’s Kazuki Nakajima expects a promising future for the new era of Le Mans Hypercar and the WEC.
The 36-year-old Japanese driver joins his fellow team-mate Sébastien Buemi with their three-consecutive Le Mans victories with Toyota in the #8 car this year, and with the official unveiling of Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid and the approaching Sebring opener, he gave his thoughts on their LMH ahead of the 2021 season:
“It is really exciting to be part of this new WEC generation, which is quite different to what we had before in terms of the technology and the approach to racing.
“As a driver it is a special experience to race a new car for the first time and to experience the different sensations behind the wheel.”
Nakajima has raced in the WEC since the championship’s beginnings in 2012 with Toyota, when they made a comeback to endurance sportscars through LMP1.
He was also in the car at the team’s most ruthless loss when the car broke down a lap remaining at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.
But, despite the fact Toyota have dominated in recent seasons. he believes the field will be more tightly packed this year after the introduction of the new regulations.
“The car looks great and it will be spectacular to watch when it is racing flat-out,” he added his initial impressions on the GR010 Hybrid.
“I think the racing will be closer than ever this season; everyone in the Le Mans Hypercar class will be pushing to win which is good for drivers and fans.
“We need a different approach but the goal won’t change and the target for this season is always clear.
“We want to win Le Mans for a fourth time for Toyota GAZOO Racing and the World Championship.”
Their all-new LMH will be managed by a balance of performance system to establish closer racing against Season 9 rivals ByKolles and Glickenhaus, then to be followed by Peugeot in 2022, then Audi and Porsche in 2023.
The opening round of the WEC Season 9 will be at the 1000 Miles of Sebring on March 17/18, although other series’ postponed races may suggest that the 2021 season may kick off at Spa-Francorchamps on May 1.
A reminder to stay tuned on Last Lap to see a more in-depth technical profile on the GR010 Hybrid.