Latino Racers Help Toyota Win at LeMans

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Jul 032018


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France.

Latino Traffic Report has learned that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, including Fernando Alonso, won the eighty-sixth Le Mans 24 Hours, taking an historic first victory at its twentieth attempt.

Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Alonso in the #8 TS050 HYBRID started from pole position and took the chequered flag after 388 tense and often dramatic laps at the Circuit de La Sarthe to extend their lead in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, who led for long periods in the #7 TS050 HYBRID, made it a perfect result for TOYOTA with second place in front of 256,900 fans.

“It has been amazing. We know how important and iconic Le Mans is in the world of motorsport and as a team we achieved an amazing result,” said Alonso. “Every moment was a reminder of how tough and long this race is, anything can happen so we tried to execute our race and stay calm. Happily everything worked well. We wanted a one-two and we achieved that so I am very happy.”

TOYOTA, which had entered 47 cars at Le Mans prior to this weekend’s race and finished on the podium six times, becomes only the second Japanese manufacturer to win at La Sarthe.

The result is a culmination of intense and determined efforts by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing colleagues from Higashi-Fuji and Cologne to continually enhance its hybrid-electric technology, which won this weekend’s race using 35 percent less fuel than in 2012, when it returned to endurance racing.

“I want to congratulate car #8 and the whole team,” said López. “I am really proud of my #7 team, and Kamui and Mike; we gave it our all. We are here as six drivers but there are so many people behind us, working so hard. This is a big achievement for TOYOTA and that was the main target this week.”

The two TS050 HYBRIDs were evenly matched throughout the 5,286km and swapped places several times during a race which featured its share of drama for the leaders.

After a nine-week break, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will return to action on 17-19 August with the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the third round of the 2018-19 WEC season.

DS Virgin Racing Season Ends, Lopez Takes Podium

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Aug 042017

Latino Traffic Report has learned that DS Virgin Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez secured his second podium of the season during the thrilling Formula E season finale in Montreal, with team-mate Sam Bird finishing fourth to secure the team fourth place overall in the constructors’ championship. The result caps off the most successful season for the British team in terms of silverware, with an impressive six podiums and two wins, together with two pole positions and two fastest laps.

“I’m really pleased with the result, especially after what happened in race one, and to finish the season this way,” said Lopez. “I could tell straightaway what a difference the team had made to the car since my last race and it was frustrating our qualifying group meant we were unable to show this. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the race and of course the whole season, as well as working with the DS Virgin Racing team.”

Lopez  showed front-running pace but was drawn in the first qualifying group leaving him with the tougher of the track conditions to contend with, and starting from P11.

As the 37-lap race got underway, Lopez moved quickly up the field to lie sixth. Bird then made contact with the wall at Turn 3, damaging his steering and compromising both his handling and energy consumption during his first stint. Despite this, he was able to keep pushing and remarkably only lost one further place before pitting on lap 17, with Lopez stopping soon after and the two running third and fourth after the pit stop shuffle.

In the closing stages, race-leader and rival Felix Rosenqvist had dropped to second and into the clutches of Bird but with less usable energy, he was unable to maintain the pressure which allowed Lopez to get ahead. Lopez pushed until the chequered flag but was unable to get the better of Rosenqvist to cross the line third, one place ahead of his team-mate.

Team Principal Alex Tai commented: “My congratulations go to Jose for his superb podium today and his success in his debut season. Our achievements wouldn’t be possible without such a dedicated team, together with our partners, and we’re looking forward to continuing this momentum into season four.”

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon added: “It was great to end DS Performance’s second Formula E season with a podium, and to add to our tally this season. Throughout the season, the team has developed the performance of the DSV-02, which has allowed us to fight at the top regularly and I’d like to thank the whole DS Virgin Racing team, to Total and our partners for this. This season has also been rich in terms of technological breakthroughs for us as well as brand awareness across the globe.”

Hyundai Resigns Sordo to WRC Racing

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Sep 022016


Latino Traffic Report has learned that Hyundai Motorsport has signed a two-year extension to its agreement with Dani Sordo (pictured above, right), which will see the Spaniard remain with the team until the end of 2018. The announcement was made just one day after scoring his first podium of 2016 in a second-place finish at the rally in Germany.

Along with his co-driver Marc Martí, Sordo has played a vital role in establishing the team in the competitive world of WRC since the first rally back at Monte-Carlo 2014.

The Spanish crew contributed to the team’s historic 1-2 in Rallye Deutschland two years ago, while adding a further podium in Rally Spain in 2015. The pair have been regularly among the quickest in the field this season and secured their first podium of the season, finishing Rallye Deutschland in second place, equaling their best result for the team.

l to r: Martí and Sordo

Team principal Michel Nandan commented: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Dani as we look to build further on our inaugural years in the WRC. Since we joined the Championship back in 2014, Dani has been an essential member of our team. He is motivated and consistent, helping us to develop both on and off rallies. We have shared many happy memories together, including their excellent result at the weekend. We can now look forward to even more positive progress in the future.”

Sordo added: “Hyundai Motorsport has become like a family to me, so I am pleased to extend my contract for two more seasons. I have had the pleasure of seeing and helping this young team grow into real contenders in just a few years and I am really excited to see where we can develop into the future, especially with the new regulations. My aim is to fight for WRC wins and podiums on a regular basis, and I know that is a realistic goal with this team. We’ve had our most successful season to date in 2016 but I know that there is so much more to come this season – and beyond.”

Sordo is not waiting until next season for his next big result. With Tour de Corse next up on the 2016 calendar—and his home rally in Spain two weeks later—he is definitely looking to continue his strong form.

“We’ve had our most successful season to date in 2016,” he adds, “but I know there is so much more to come in the final rallies of the year.”

Parente and Ramos Lead McLaren to Victory

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Nov 022015


The McLaren 650S GT3 claimed its first championship over the weekend in Barcelona as McLaren GT customer team Teo Martin Motorsports secured the International GT Open Championship title, and also saw the first victory for the McLaren GT Young Driver Programme. A hard-fought double podium finish for factory driver Alvaro Parente and teammate Miguel Ramos secured the championship, while Young Driver Andrew Watson took overall victory in the weekend’s opening sprint race alongside Fernando Monje.

mcclaren3The results in Barcelona underline the success from the outset for the 650S GT3 in its debut season. Based on the road-going 650S Coupe, with a lightweight carbon fibre MonoCell chassis and award-winning 3.8-litre twin turbo V8 engine, it launched at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last summer, and made a strong debut at the Gulf 12 Hours in December 2014, finishing on the podium. These latest results mark the 20th victory, with an additional 23 podium finishes.

“The 650S GT3 has established itself as the car to beat during 2015 in series across the world, taking victories in Europe, Asia and North America,” asserted Parente. “The results in Barcelona, and securing the championship, reinforce that message and highlight just how competitive the car is. The 650S GT3 has more than proved itself with bulletproof reliability, and a double podium was a great way to end the season. Thank you to all of the team at Teo Martin Motorsports, my teammate Miguel [Ramos] and to the team back in Woking.”

 mClarenAndrew Kirkaldy, managing director, McLaren GT added:  “Congratulations to Teo Martin and the entire team at Teo Martin Motorsports on securing a win, two podiums and the overall International GT Open title in one weekend. A fantastic weekend of results for the team, and a real high point to end the season on for the first McLaren GT Young Driver Programme with Andrew [Watson] taking the overall win in the first race.

‘These latest results are the end result of a long hard season by the team at Teo Martin Motorsports and by the entire team at McLaren GT in Woking. This season is one of the most competitive I can recall in GT3 racing, with global grids boasting some of the most talented drivers, and with a range of manufacturers and models that are all capable of contesting and winning races. We have seen some fantastic battles in every series, and for the 650S GT3 to be claiming podiums and victories in all championships, and now securing a title in its debut season, really highlights just how competitive a proposition it is.”