Saturday, June 17, 2017

LE MANS: Toyota's Three Car Monty...

Can Toyota join it's country's rival Honda's feat of winning a racing series "Crown Jewell" this year?

Toyota appears to be the favourites to finally conquer Circuit de la Sarthe this year, and join Mazda as the only Japanese Automaker's to win Le Mans outright, as Toyota's upped the ante by adding a third car to its entry this year.

Also in typical Japanese tradition, the team's cars see home grown talent behind their respective keyboards, with two former Formula 1 drivers and a relatively unknown Super Formula "Youngster."

As the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid features my personal favourite "K-Squared," aka Kamui Kobayashi, Japan's last F1 racer, who scored his country's latest podium finish aboard the Sauber C31 in 2012 at Suzuka no less! After having begun his Formula 1 career with Toyota and then seeing his F1 career flaming out by no fault of his own, at the limp Caterham F1 Team, who cratered in 2014!

The No. 8 sees ex-Team Willy' (Williams F1) Piloto Kazuki Nakajima, son of previous F1 regular Satoru, who raced during the 1980's, while the #9, No. 9, Number Nine? See's Le Mans rookie Yuji Kunimoto at it's controls.

Interestingly, 26yr old Yuji is the reigning Super Formula champion, Japan's premiere single seater category, which McLaren sent their F1 Prodigy Stoffel Vandoorne to compete during his 2016 "sabbatical." As the Belgian rookie finished fourth vs. Kunimoto, whilst Kazuki Nakajima wound up sixth and Kobayashi had a miserable season winding up 17th overall!

Finishing three places ahead of Kobayashi was another forgotten F1 driver fondly known as "The Speediest Indian" here in Nofendersville, nee Narain Karthikeyan, whilst former IndyCar and Indy 500 competitor Bertrand Baguette finished 15th.

As I'm rootin' for K-Squared', Mike "Ice-Ice, Baby!" Conway and St├ęphane Sarrazin's #7 to be victorious, whilst perhaps Yuji "Superfast" Kunimoto and the No. 9 will be Toyota's Hare? Or will it be Nakajima playing his Kazoo in victory lane for the #8 Toyota crew...