WEC: Shanghai Struggle for Mike Conway and Toyota Gazoo Racing

1st November 2015

MB Partners driver Mike Conway and his TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team had a good but challenging race in a wet Six Hours of Shanghai, the penultimate round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship, starting from sixth on the grid and finishing in fifth.

For the fourth consecutive race, Mike’s #2 TS040 HYBRID with fellow drivers Alex Wurz and Stéphane Sarrazin qualified in 6th, with an average time of 1min 45.962secs.

Both TS040 HYBRIDs finished in the top six, with Mike’s car earning fifth place. Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima were sixth in the sister car.

Overall it was a disappointing race for the 2014 World Champions, marked by incidents and bad luck, which prevented the TS040 HYBRIDs repeating the fighting performance shown in similar conditions last time out at Fuji.

Persistent rain throughout the morning meant the first 12 minutes of the race ran behind the safety car. This made the track treacherous and took its toll on many participants. Following another full-course yellow in the second hour, both Toyota cars spun off at the restart.

Into the second half of the race, the track began to dry and the car pitted for hybrid intermediates, later switching to slick tyres. After 165 laps and six pit stops, Mike’s #2 TS040 HYBRID took the flag in fifth, four laps behind the winning #17 Porsche, with a fastest lap time of 1min 49.374secs.

Mike Conway said of the difficult race: “The conditions at the start were really tricky; visibility was bad but it is the same for everyone. I just struggled to get the tyres into the right operating window. Towards the end of my stint they seemed to get there and the lap times improved. They were really difficult track conditions which were changing all the time. Fifth is one place up from where we started and at least it brings us a bit closer to the #1 crew in the championship.”

Toshio Sato, Team President added: “This has been a disappointing day. The track conditions never quite worked out for us and we had a few incidents. The weather was very difficult for everyone so thanks to the team for a professional job. We fought as hard as we could but unfortunately fifth and sixth was the best we could manage. Congratulations to Porsche on winning the manufacturers’ World Championship. We have been very proud to wear the #1 this year and we are sad it will leave us, but Porsche are worthy champions following some very strong performances. We are sure we will give them more of a fight next year.”

Today’s result confirmed Porsche as the 2015 manufacturers’ World Champions, succeeding TOYOTA. The drivers’ title will be decided in the last race of the season, the Six Hours of Bahrain on 21 November.

MB Partners Toyota Hybrid Racing Bell Prosperity Investment Management