Toyota took the spoils at the 2023 6 Hours of Monza, pipping Ferrari and Peugeot to the win at the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Grandstands were packed to the rafters as Italian fans paid homage to the Ferrari works squad following its victory at Le Mans two weeks prior, despite blistering heat. But the tifosi were left disappointed as the #7 Toyota edged the win ahead of the #50 Ferrari.
Difficult conditions in Monza heat
The race began in tough conditions with ambient temperatures upwards of 32°C and track temperatures hovering around the 50°C.
There was controversy in the first turn, as the #8 Toyota made contact with the #51 Ferrari and spun the car around. But things would soon go from bad to worse for Toyota driver Sébastien Buemi.
The Swiss made contact with the #777 Aston Martin, spending the GTE Am car’s driver Satori Hoshino into the barriers and retirement. Fortunately, the Japanese driver emerged unhurt.
What followed for Buemi was a one-minute stop-and-go penalty, taking the championship-leading crew out of contention for the race win.
Peugeot take early lead, before Ferrari and Toyota resume battle
The upward trend in Peugeot’s overall performance continued in Monza – one year after the official debut of the 9X8. The #93 car took the lead of the race towards the end of the opening stint and remained well in contention as the race progressed.
Soon enough, though, the Toyota-Ferrari battle continued into its next round as the #7 GR010 Hybrid and the #50 499P raced for the lead.
After some hard wheel-to-wheel racing, particularly between Mike Conway and Miguel Molina, the Toyota eeked out a small advantage going into the closing stages.
After the final pit stop, the gap was only around 15s, but the Toyota proved to have the pace to see out the race and secure the third win of the season for Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.
Second was the #50 Ferrari, while a visibly delighted Peugeot garage celebrated the 9X8’s maiden podium with an impressive third-place finish.
Familiar faces fight for LMP2 win
LMP2 powerhouses United Autosports, JOTA, Team WRT and Alpine battled it out for the class win Monza. In the end, victory went to the #28 JOTA machine with the #36 Alpine one lap behind in second.
All-Porsche podium in GTE Am
The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 secured the win in GTE Am by 11 seconds ahead of the #60 Iron Lynx machine.
Third was the #86 GR Racing Porsche, which recorded its second podium finish in as many races. Champions elect Corvette Racing came home in fourth.
The full run-down of race results is available here.