Toyota has claimed its first FIA World Endurance Championship victory of the season, albeit under extreme circumstances, following a rain-shortened Six Hours of Fuji.
The No. 7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid of Kaz Nakajima, Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre were declared winners Sunday in Japan, as the race was cut short after only 16 completed laps, all under the safety car, due to torrential rains and low visibility.
Eight laps were initially completed prior to the first red flag, which lasted nearly two hours before an additional seven laps were run under the safety car before a second red flag period.
The race resumed more than one hour later, only to complete one additional lap, before series officials stopped the race due to worsening conditions and lack of light.
Nakajima was the only driver to turn laps in the winning Toyota. The Japanese driver took over the lead during the second safety car period when the pole-sitting Audi of Andre Lotterer made a series of unscheduled pit stops to repair the intake on his R18 e-tron quattro.
“It’s the first one we’ve won without driving any laps,” Lapierre said. “We didn’t make any mistakes. The car was waterproof in this condition. In a dry race , we would have had a good chance to win. We don’t know what the pace could have been in the wet. We’re happy with the team. It’s a win.”
Half points were awarded Sunday as the race failed to reach 75 percent of its scheduled race distance. Nonetheless, Audi clinched the Manufacturers’ World Championship with a second place finish for its No. 2 car driven in the race by Loic Duval.
The No. 12 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota completed the overall podium, due to the issues for the No. 1 Audi, as well as the No. 8 Toyota, which started from the pits and spun while under the first safety car period.
It’s unclear if all drivers in each lineup will score points, as many teams were unable to rotate drivers through the cars while during the 16-lap race.
The No. 35 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan was credited for the win in LMP2, while the Nos. 97 and No. 95 Aston Martins picked up GTE-Pro and GTE-Am class honors, respectively.