The 60 cars entered for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours took the 13.629-kilometer 24-Hours circuit by storm on the test day, a general rehearsal before the pinnacle of the FIA World Endurance Championship on 17-18 June. In front of the 23 000 spectators who attended the day’s free practice sessions Toyota laid down a marker by setting the fastest time with the no. 7 TS050 Hybrid: Kamui Kobayashi clocking a lap time of 3m 18.132sec.
It is the first time that the 3m 20-sec barrier has been breached at the test day. The Japanese car was also quicker than the pole position for the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours (Neel Jani Porsche in 3m 19.733sec). The icing on the cake for Toyota was that it monopolised the first three places overall (nos 7, 8 and 9 in that order) in front of the two Porsche 919 Hybrids (nos 2 and 1).
The quickest car in LMP2 was the no. 35 Alpine A470-Gibson, while the no. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C7-R topped the timing charts in LM-GTE Pro. The no. 98 Aston Martin Vantage dominated the LM-GTE Am class.
The hectic Le Mans 24-Hours week will kick off on Sunday 11th June, so the next rendezvous for the drivers and their cars is scrutineering (technical and administrative checks) on Sunday 11th and Monday 12th June after which they will return to the track on Wednesday 14th June for more free practice. – ACO (Pics: Toyota Gazoo Racing)