Skip to main content

Toyota Gazoo Racing Set A New Sebring Lap Record

At its first ever visit to Sebring International Raceway for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) 1000 Miles of Sebring, Toyota Gazoo Racing (GR) set a new lap record on Test Day #1. Mike Conway in the #7 TS050 Hybrid LM P1 car had a best lap time of 1:41.211. Like Brabham's BT62 Bathurst lap record a few weeks ago, the lap time is unofficial because it wasn't set during a competitive session, but it is a verified clocked time. But this is a test session for the WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring so this is likely in race spec unlike the Brabham's BT62 lap time that was set during demonstration laps. Porsche's LM P1 car, the 919 Hybrid, famously obliterated the Nurburgring lap record last summer in 2018 with a lap time of 5:19.55.

Before the test, Mike Conway said: "Going into Sebring my expectations are high. We would like to keep up the good run of form we have had in #7, which means continuing to score well and win more races. Sebring is going to be a challenging one because it's a new track for the team. I know the circuit well from IMSA racing and testing in IndyCar. I hope that my experience there will help the team to speed up the process and get the car into a good window. I'm looking forward to going back there and earning a good result." I doubt he's disappointed with their progress so far.

Toyota GR driver Mike Conway - Toyota GR ©

Now, everyone knows exactly how fast the Porsche 919 is because there is an abundance of lap times at the 'Ring but very few people have a gauge for lap times at Sebring (myself included). To put the lap time into perspective, I tried to find lap times at Sebring but it was harder than I thought. Fastestlaps has only 11 entries and none of them are easily verified. Sebring International Raceway website doesn't have any (or if it does, they're buried). After a bit of searching, I found just about the best resource there is: NASA (National Auto Sport Association) championships. Jackpot.

I couldn't find any national championships held in 2018 but I checked Time Attack (TT - Time Trial) in 2017 and found plenty of events. All production-based cars (Corvette's, Ferrari's, Porsche's, etc.) have lap times in the 2:10+ range. The vast majority of lap times are 2:20 and slower. Fastest lap time was a 2:13.410, a whopping 32+ seconds slower which. If you're curious (kids, don't do this at home), that would be like saying the Porsche 919 can do a 5:19 lap on the 'Ring but most other cars that are really quick and built for lap times are around the 7:00 minute mark, right in the ball park you'd expect.

The previous lap record at Sebring was set in 2013 by an Audi R18 e-tron, one of the cars that basically kicked off the current crop of hybrid LMP1 cars. It was 2.655 seconds slower with a lap time of 1:43.866. Leading both of the morning and afternoon sessions puts Toyota GR in the lead, but being just a test session, it won't count until Qualifying.

FIA WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring Test Day 1 results - FIA WEC ©

LMP2 class and LM GTE AM classes swapped leaders. Signatech Alpine Matmut had the quickest LMP2 time in the morning session with a lap time of 1:49.343 whereas TDS Racing led the afternoon test session with 1:47.869. In GTE Am, Dempsey Proton Racing led the morning test session with 1:59.943 in the #88 Porsche 911 RSR (GTE Am) car, to be bested by about half a second by the Aston Martin Racing team in the afternoon session with a 1:59.435 in the #98 Vantage GTE car.

In the LM GTE Pro class, Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK lead both sessions like Toyota GR in its class, with a best time of the day of 1:58.318 in the #67 Ford GT car. With that said, one of the Ford GT's prime rivals, the Corvette C7.R, was absent from the test session. That said, Chip Ganassi did manage to stay ahead of the other front runners in the class, the 911 RSR GTE Pro and the GTE Pro Ferrari 488.

There are three more Free Practice (FP) sessions before Qualifying on March 14th and then the race on March 15th. I can't wait!

Follow Ram's Eye The Track Guy on Facebook and Instagram!


Does An Aftermarket Grille Really Increase Airflow?
I put a Saleen S281 grille to the test to answer that question.

Stock Suspension S197 Mustang With Square 305/30/19's
What you need to fit a proper size square tire setup.

How Limited Slip Diffs Make You Faster on Track
What you need to know about how they put power down and pros and cons.

Can Telemetry Explain Schumacher's Talent?
A comparison between Schumacher's and then team mate Herbert's data.

Cayman GT4 Track Review
The first Cayman with proper (911-challenging) power.

Is an EcoBoost Mustang any good on Track?
Two days at the track in a Mustang short 4 cylinders.

2016 BMW M4 DCT Track Review
It's quick (properly quick). But is it fun?

Can a stock Golf Diesel handle a Track Day?
Not your every day track beater.

🔥 Most Visited This Week

Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2's vs Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R's

I never thought I'd ever run Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2's on my 2012 Boss 302. The cost is astronomical and they are supposed to last the least of anything comparable. So how did I end up with (nearly) fresh Sport Cup 2's? A complete fluke. I came across a lightly used set with only a few hundred miles and no track time; 305/30/19 takeoffs from a GT Performance Pack Level 2 (GT PPL2). I knew my 71R's were getting very worn before the season started and likely wouldn't last the whole season, even this short one. The price was far better than a new set of RE-71R's, a little more than half, and local Time Attack rules (Canadian Automobile Sport Clubs) recently made 180 and 200 TW tires equivalent, meaning no PAX or PIP point penalty for going with 180 TW tire like the Pilot Sport Cup 2's. I have been very curious about how PSC2's compare to RE 71R's but I stayed away due to their being painfully expensive and, up to last year, their 180 TW rating would

GTR vs Evo X vs STI: which has the best AWD system?

A few weeks ago, I made a post explaining  mainstream AWD system types and how they compare , pros and cons, etc. including some simple diagrams to show where the power goes and how much. As promised, this post will focus on specific cars and what AWD systems they use, especially ones that that have more or less been defined by their AWD systems, and the best place to start may be with a bombshell; the Nissan GT-R. Nissan GT-R (R35) The GT-R has built a reputation around having monster traction and very approachable performance, thanks to its AWD system - Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) - and what it can do for you. But the GT-R doesn't actually use the most mechanically sophisticated type of AWD systems discussed in the previous article, namely a "true" AWD with a centre differential. Instead, it uses a clutch pack to transfer power. RWD-based clutch-type AWD schematic - Rams Eye The Track Guy © The R32, R33, and R34 Sky

How would a Mustang 3.5L EcoBoost compare to the 5.0L V8?

Ever wonder how a 3.5 litre EcoBoost might fair against the 5.0 litre V8 in the Mustang? Of course you have. Ever since Ford dropped it in the F150 (and perhaps well before), everyone has been wondering how it would perform. There are basically two camps; those who think it would be awesome because of tuneability and power potential and those who think it means the death of the V8 in the Mustang. If you are in the latter group, we seem to be good so far with continuous upgrades to the 5.0 litre Coyote and the brand new Shelby GT500 which still uses a supercharged V8 as it has been for over a decade and multiple iterations. But what if... Well, it seems we are closer than ever to finding out the answer to that question. American Trucks recently got together two crew cab, short box, 4x4 F150's but one has the 5.0 litre V8 and the other has the 3.5 litre EcoBoost V6. There has been a few comparisons between 5.0 litre and 3.5 litre EB F150's, but this seems to be the most di

Bridgestone Potenza RE-71R Track Review

2012 Boss 302 on square 305/30/19 RE-71R's at AMP - Graham MacNeil © For better or for worse, I have heard and read so much about RE-71R's. Everyone swears by the grip but complains about the wear. Generally speaking, the pros are: 1. They grip as well or better than most R comps. 2. They don't wear as quickly as R comps if driven occasionally on the street. 3. They work better in the rain than R comps. The cons were limited to overheating quickly when used on track (being an autocross tire) and wearing too fast on heavy cars like mine. In the popular 200 TW category, they are faster than the popular Hankook RS-4's and BFGoodrich Rival S's according to published Tire Rack Tests. According to plenty of reviews, they are also faster than well established R comps like R888R's (which don't seem to work too well on heavy cars anyway) and the venerable NT01's. But I was still hesitant for a while until I talked to a tire tech support gentleman