WEC - Interview with Anthony Davidson | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile
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WEC - Interview with Anthony Davidson

2014 FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Champion Anthony Davidson of Toyota Gazoo Racing spoke about the all new Toyota TS050 HYBRID that was launched at the Circuit Paul Ricard this morning. After a disappointing 2015 season, the Englishman hopes this new car will see Toyota once again challenging for race wins and, ultimately the FIA World Championship titles
Anthony Davison Q&A 2016 WEC

Q: Tell us about the new car.

“The TS050 is all new. New powertrain, new hybrid technology and even the steering wheel is new. It’s been a fast tracked programme for the team.  Hats off to all the guys back in Japan on the engine side and battery side and everyone at TMG in Cologne.  This has been put together in such a short space of time; it should’ve taken maybe two years and they’ve done it in six months. So from the beating we had last year we had to retaliate in an aggressive way.  It has put us on the back foot coming into this year because it is not that easy to get it all done in a short space of time but they’ve really worked wonders.  I’m super impressed by everybody’s effort, including the drivers.  We’ve helped the team along every step of the way.”  

 Q: How different is it to drive compared to your 2014 championship winning car?

“In terms of how it feels to drive it’s quite similar. At the end of the day it is still an LMP1 car and the regulations haven’t changed that much from last year.  So it does feel quite similar but, having stepped up the megajoule category, the hybrid kick that you get is much more and it is coming from battery power, the latest in lithium-ion technology, instead of the older super capacitor.  The technology is moving at such a fast rate and when you drive car you feel the advancements – it is incredible.

“I’ve driven turbo cars in the past with Peugeot which arguably had a bigger effect on the performance than today.  The heart of the power source in LMP1 now is the battery and the hybrid, especially more so because we are extremely limited on fuel.  These engines are sipping away a very small amount compared to Formula One for example, who use 20 to 30 percent more fuel than we use per lap.  So it puts even more emphasis on the battery than ever before and the turbos are there simply to give you extra torque and also increase the efficiency of the engine.

“When we talk about the combustion engine its 2016 and it is pretty old technology.  When you compare it to the battery, the lithium-ion technology and electric motor recovery and heat recovery, this is where it’s at and where we are racing ahead in development.  I can easily see where we were left behind last year in the hybrid stakes. What we are working on right now it is going to propel the road car industry as well. The amount we have already learned in just two months is an eye opener for everybody in the team.”

Q: After winning in 2014, last season was a tough year.  How did you keep yourself motivated?

“I didn’t drive at me best last year, I was fast enough but I made too many mistakes, so I want to iron those out for this year.  I think the mistakes came through sheer frustration. I was still driving like I should be winning races, the same mentality and approach to the races, but we were getting lapped and that was incredibly frustrating to the point it was damaging to my consistency. Hopefully we will have a faster car and I just want to be back on form like I drove in 2014 and at the very end of the 2015 season.”

Q: Winning Le Mans is very important to every driver but it is also important for Toyota.  Do you feel that with Porsche and Audi deciding to run just two cars in 2016 instead of three has levelled the playing field for you as Toyota has traditional run two cars at the event?

“In terms of performance, not really. In terms of luck, perhaps. You are on a more equal footing in terms of reliability and if lucks going to go your way or not.  The year we really should’ve had three cars should’ve been 2014 but financially it wouldn’t have worked and we would’ve lost general performance through running a third car at Le Mans.  So , yes, it may be more of a level playing field when it comes down to luck.  I’ve won the championship already, it’s a great championship, don’t get me wrong, I would love to win it again but Le Mans is still on my ‘to do’ list.”

Q: How important is this two day official test going to be for you and the team?

“People always say you can’t really see much in terms of lap times and there is a lot of ‘sandbagging’ going on but you know.  And people say they are not going to look at the competition but you do, it is human nature, you want to see what everybody else has got.  We came away from this test last year knowing the season was going to be tough, so this is an important test, it really is.”