Fujitsu is supporting Toyota Motor Corporation's (hereinafter referred to as Toyota) racing team Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this year.
On July 10, 2022, the fourth race of the WEC season, the 6 Hours of Monza, was held at the Monza Circuit in Italy. As for the results, TGR's two GR010 Hybrids (*1) fought through a tough race with car #8 finishing in second place, narrowly behind the leader, and car #7 in third, resulting in an impressive double podium finish for TGR.
My name is Matsunaga and I am known as a keen motorsports enthusiast here at Fujitsu. I was cheering on the race at Monza from in front of my TV set and I would like to report on the race results from a fan’s perspective.
- *1GR010 Hybrid: Developed by TGR for the 2021 season, the car entered the Hypercar class, the highest class in the WEC.
- Table of Contents
Despite Some Challenges, Two GR010 Hybrids Finish on the Podium
Firstly, let me introduce the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The WEC is an endurance racing world championship in which prototype cars are built specifically for competition use and grand touring cars (GT cars) are built out of commercial models to be used as race cars. There are four different classes: Hypercar, LMP2, LMGTE Pro, and LMGTE Am.
4 classes of WEC
|Hypercar||Prototype car||This is the highest class in WEC and uses high-performance prototype cars. TGR's GR010 Hybrid is entered in this class.|
(Le Mans Prototype 2)
|Prototype car||This class is contested by prototype cars based on vehicle regulations known as LMP2. Only private teams, which are not the factory teams of car or engine manufacturers, are allowed to compete in this division.|
(Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Pro)
|GT car||The GT category for professional teams, where the factory teams of automobile manufacturers compete for world titles.|
(Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Amateur)
|GT car||The cars are similar to LMGTE Pro, but two of the maximum three drivers in each car must be amateur level drivers, and the cars must be at least one year older than the latest models competing in the LMGTE Pro class.|
The performance adjustment called BoP (Balance of Performance), which limits the output of each car in order to equalize the performance of the competing cars, made the Hypercar class an intense sprint race in which the cars competed solely for high-speed performance. It was an exciting and thrilling race to watch. Among the four classes, the LMGTE Am class car #33 was involved in a large crash that overturned the car but thankfully the driver was unharmed. Following the crash, the safety car was deployed and the gap between each car was reset.
I have put together a short race summary for each of the notable teams.
- Glickenhaus Racing
They started from pole position, but in the middle of the race, white smoke started to come out from the car’s right exhaust and they retired from the race. They will not participate in the next race at Fuji Speedway.
- Alpine Elf Team
Throughout the race, they battled fiercely against the two GR010 Hybrids. Despite making contact with the #7 car, they took their second win for this season. They hold the top position in the championship.
- Peugeot TotalEnergies
Both cars had a number of problems and had to make several pit stops. However, #34 was able to take the checkered flag 25 laps behind the leader. Let's see how they go in the next race.
- Toyota Gazoo Racing
The #8 car suffered from electrical problems from the beginning of the race. Despite the race pace slowing down, Sébastien Buemi's skillful driving kept TGR going and they were able to repair the problem during a pit stop. Due to the BoP (performance tuning), it was a race of endurance that did not fully demonstrate the benefits of hybrids, but the two TGR cars were able to finish on the podium nonetheless. With about an hour remaining in the race, a collision between #7 and #36 (Alpine) on the home straight caused #7’s right rear tire to burst, damaging the cowl. Kamui Kobayashi was able to control the car out of a potential crash and pit in with all three remaining wheels still in one piece. The mechanics quickly repaired the car and it successfully returned to the track.
The fifth race of the season will be held at the Fuji Speedway, right here in Japan, with the final to be held on September 11. This race has been canceled in recent years due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, so this is the first time it is being held in three years. I'm really looking forward to it! The next round at Fuji will be an important round for the manufacturers and drivers to win the two titles (*2). I think the highlight of the race will be the battle between the Toyota and Alpine teams. I am also looking forward to seeing the wingless Peugeot prototype live. The rear wing is a symbol of racing cars so I think that it will be very interesting. I'm looking forward to watching the race unfold and hope to be there to cheer them on at the track. Let's all cheer for the race together at the race site or in front of the TV.
- *2Manufacturer: This term refers to a team directly managed by the manufacturer of the race car among the teams participating in the competition.
Matsunaga’s Views on the Possibilities of Technology
I personally believe that Fujitsu can make a significant contribution to motorsports by utilizing Fujitsu technologies such as the Digital Annelear, data-driven services, and AI technologies. Here are three possible examples:
- Prediction of problems using telemetry data
- Create race strategies based on simulations using historical data
- Analyze the needs of the fan base through social media and provide information and services in order to support fan engagement.
I will work hard so that we can see Fujitsu's technologies at the forefront of motorsports as soon as possible!
Fujitsu is committed to solving issues facing society, including the realization of carbon neutrality and a sustainable world by taking on challenges in new fields such as motorsports.
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