Toyota City, Japan, Mar 7, 2023 – (JCN Newswire) – TOYOTA GAZOO Racing begins its defence of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) titles, and an exciting new era of Hypercar competition, with a much-anticipated trip to Florida for the 1000 Miles of Sebring on 17 March.
For the first time, the team will compete with its 2023-specification GR010 HYBRID, an evolution of the Hypercar which has won 10 of its 12 races since its 2021 debut. A productive pre-season testing programme has validated the changes, which were made to optimise reliability and drivability as well as reducing overall weight.
Behind the wheel, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez team up for the fifth consecutive season, at the wheel of the #7 GR010 HYBRID. In the #8 car, Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa will aim to repeat their world title and Le Mans wins from 2022.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing enters the 2023 season, its 11th in WEC, on an unprecedented run of success, having earned five consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours victories and four straight World Championship doubles.
But a 1000-mile race over eight hours at Sebring presents a unique challenge to drivers and cars. The historic venue, home to endurance racing in the United States since it opened in 1950, is famed for its bumpy and unforgiving track surface, while the Florida weather is likely to be hot, humid and unpredictable.
On track, the competition in 2023 will be more intense than ever with new Hypercar rivals Cadillac, Ferrari, Porsche and Vanwall lining up, along with established competitors Glickenhaus and Peugeot. A total of 11 Hypercars will battle for overall victory in the first of seven races this year, the biggest top-category grid for a WEC season-opener since the series was relaunched in 2012.
Teams and fans get their first opportunity to see the class of 2023 on track together this weekend, during the traditional Prologue test, which features 12-and-a-half hours of running on the 6.019 km airfield circuit during Saturday and Sunday.
Practice for the 1000 Miles of Sebring begins on Wednesday with two one-hour practice sessions, followed by a final 60-minute practice on Thursday. The starting grid will be determined during a 15-minute qualifying on Thursday evening as the sun sets in central Florida. When the race begins at midday local time on Friday, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will begin its fight for a second Sebring victory, having triumphed there in 2019.
For more information, visit https://toyotagazooracing.com/wec/release/2023/0307-01/.
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