Round 2 of the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship – the competition’s 60th fixture since its creation in 2012 – lived up every bit to its promise as changeable weather forced the teams to consider flexible strategies.
Toyota Gazoo Racing won its home FIA WEC race for the seventh time thanks to the N°8 TS050 Hybrid of Kazuki Nakajima/Sébastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley which crossed the line ahead of the Japanese outfit’s N°7 sister car (Kamui Kobayashi/Mike Conway/José María López). The N°1 Rebellion Racing (Gustavo Menezes/Bruno Senna/Norman Nato) made it an all-Michelin podium.
After monopolising the top two places in qualifying, with pole position going to the N°8 prototype, the two Japanese cars dominated at the front of field, even when rain swept over Fuji Speedway shortly before the race’s midpoint.
The order at the sharp end wasn’t affected by this shower, however, but it did evolve in LM P2 thanks to an inspired drive on Michelin slicks by Racing Team Nederland’s Nick de Vries who posted a sequence of quick laps in the N°29 ORECA that occasionally outpaced those of the LM P1 runners, allowing him climb from third to first place and lay the foundations for another Michelin victory in LM P2 in which the French firm faces competition from a rival tyre manufacturer.
Aston Martins finished on top in both LM GTE classes where all the teams compete on Michelin rubber. The N°95 Vantage of Thim/Sørensen took the spoils for Aston Martin Racing in the Pro battle, while the similar, TF Sport-tended N°90 car of Yolluc/Eastwood/Adam was the first Am contender past the chequered flag.