After a break of around two months, the FIA WEC is finally back in action at the next round of the season: the 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan. Toyota Gazoo Racing go into their home race as the favourites in LMP1 and were looking to perfect their race strategy in the free practice sessions. In GTE Pro, Ford held the advantage in FP1 before Aston Martin rose to the top in the second free practice session
In spite of some changes to EoT regulations, Toyota once again dominated the LMP1 category in free practice at Fuji. The #8 Toyota TS050 recorded the fastest time of the day, a 1:23.973, in the second practice session. However, Rebellion Racing also appear to be in promising shape for this weekend’s race, finishing the day only 0.6 seconds down on the second-placed #7 Toyota.
By contrast, free practice was a mixed bag in LMP2: TDS Racing was the quickest in FP1 with a fastest lap time of 1:30.360, but could only manage to finish fourth-quickest in the second 90-minute session. Fastest in FP2 was the Signatech Alpine Matmut squad, who received their LMP2 winner’s trophy for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 – following G-Drive Racing’s disqualification – moments before the action began.
Close battle in store in GTE
The GTE cars appear to be very closely matched across the board: In GTE Pro, the entire twelve-car field was covered by just one second in both sessions. The performance of the various cars appears to be extremely well balanced and a close battle is surely in store at the fast Fuji circuit. The #95 Aston Martin Racing car had its nose ahead in the second free practice session, finishing fastest by only 0.162 seconds ahead of the #67 Ford.
Porsche appears to be the car to have in GTE Am this season, and the honours in free practice once again went to the #88 and #77 Dempsey Proton Racing 911 RSRs. Third fastest over the two sessions was the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari.
Images (c) WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff / Ton Kerdijk)