The legendary 24 Hours of LeMans takes place next weekend on the historic circuit. For only the fourth time in its 88 year history the race will take place outside of its traditional June spot. It is however the first time in the events history that it will take place behind closed doors with no spectators due to COVID-19.
Toyota Gazoo Racing go into the race aiming for a hat trick. Speaking ahead of the race the drivers said:
Mike Conway (TS050 HYBRID #7): “I’m tired of coming second at Le Mans; I’ve done it three times already so the only target this year for the #7 car is to win. Le Mans is such a special race because of all the history and how hard it is to win. It’s only once a year and it’s the team’s main focus when they build the car. So everything is for Le Mans and it is constantly on our mind through the whole season. Last year we were unlucky but we have another big chance this season; the TS050 HYBRID is a great car with two great driver line-ups. As always, we have got to execute our race and make the right decisions.”
Kamui Kobayashi (TS050 HYBRID #7): “For the last few years our #7 car had a chance to win in Le Mans but unfortunately we always missed out, so we really want to win this one. I believe one day it’s going to happen and I hope it is this year, particularly because it is the final Le Mans for the TS050 HYBRID. It is a pity that there will be no spectators at the track to say goodbye to this amazing car but I hope the fans will watch the race on TV and give us their support from a distance.”
José María López (TS050 HYBRID #7): “I have won three world titles but Le Mans has always been my dream; to win this race would be the highest point in my career. I am in the best team, the TS050 HYBRID is an incredible machine and I have the best team-mates so the target is clearly the centre of the podium. But Le Mans is so tough and there are many drivers who came close many times and never won it. I am lucky to be here with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and to have the chance to fight for the victory so I will give everything to take this chance.”
Sébastien Buemi (TS050 HYBRID #8): “This is the biggest race of the year and one we have waited longer than usual for. I have been lucky to race in some amazing years in the history of Le Mans and now we want to achieve something really special for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing and for the TS050 HYBRID. We won Le Mans twice in a row with this car; the target this year is to win it for a third time and we will give everything to achieve that. Having no fans at the track makes this year’s edition quite unusual and we have to adapt to the situation. It will not change our focus or determination; we are doing the best we can to win again.”
Kazuki Nakajima (TS050 HYBRID #8): “Le Mans means a lot to me; it is such a special, unique race. Since the first time I raced there in 2012 my biggest target has been to win the Le Mans 24 Hours and even after winning for the last two years this doesn’t change; we all go there with only one target in mind. Of course it’s an honour to win Le Mans twice, and to become the first Japanese driver to achieve this, but I hope there is more to come. We know how difficult it is to win this race, and all the things that can go wrong, so we will be fully focused on our job.”
Brendon Hartley (TS050 HYBRID #8): “Le Mans is the race we all dream of winning; we dream of stepping on the top step of the podium. Of course, this year is going to be a lot different without spectators but the fighting spirit and the challenge that’s required to win this race will be the same. There are a huge amount of variables so we all have to do our jobs as perfectly as possible; every single part of the team has to be working as one. It is such a long and hard race that anything can happen so we need to be ready.”
Hisatake Murata, TOYOTA team president said:
The Le Mans 24 Hours is the highlight of our year; it is the main target and always the biggest challenge. We are proud to be preparing for this race as two-time winners and we are giving everything to win a third consecutive Le Mans. Our team members in Japan and Germany have worked flat-out together, as one team, to achieve our dream and this spirit of one for all, all for one is so important to meet the special challenge of Le Mans. Normally we look forward to sharing this challenge with the fans at the circuit, who create a unique atmosphere with their passion for endurance racing. We will miss them this year, so it will be a very unusual edition but we are grateful to the ACO for overcoming the difficult circumstances and giving us the opportunity to share the spirit of Le Mans once again. Although they cannot join us at the track, I hope we can be part of a Le Mans 24 Hours to remember for all the fans at home.