The second qualifying session
Final adjustments are made to each of the three racecars as they prepare for the race itself
The 24 Hours of Nürburgring entered its second day. The second qualifying session was held on May 27, and ran for two hours from 9.30am to 11.30am. The rain that had been falling since the night before finally stopped in the early morning; yet, while the race line of the Grand Prix course was dry by the start of the session, parts of the Nordschleife were still wet. Consequently, the team waited for track conditions to improve before heading out.
An hour or so into the qualifying session, the LEXUS RC and LEXUS RC F finally took to the circuit. The LEXUS RC team focused on the car’s setup, which they had failed to perfect during yesterday’s qualifying session. The vehicle height was adjusted in line with the course conditions at the Nürburgring, and the drivers gave positive feedback, noting that its stability had improved markedly. Chief Mechanic Minoru Takagi said: “It’s a relief to have found a good direction for the setup. The temperature issues we were concerned about yesterday won’t present any problems in today’s conditions. However, there’s no knowing what will happen during the 24 Hours race, so I would like to thoroughly check the heat-resistance of the parts in question.”
The LEXUS RC F encountered a problem on its in-lap, and returned to the pits immediately. The planned attack in the second qualifying session was put on hold as the team sought to locate the cause of the issue. Team TOM’s Engineer Tsutomu Tojo noted that the issue would be resolved before the race itself: “The engine didn’t rev when the accelerator was pressed. However, the engine itself wasn’t the cause, so the problem isn’t so bad. All the other parts are working smoothly.”
The TOYOTA C-HR Racing was intending to go on the attack if the conditions were dry. However, since the track surface wasn’t as good as the team would have liked, they decided against running in the second qualifying session. Chief Mechanic Akihiro Osaka discussed the team’s strategy for the race: “During yesterday’s first qualifying session, we dialed in our setups for both dry and wet conditions. We decided not to risk anything, as we wanted to preserve the new drive system we had installed yesterday. We are running a power deficit compared to our rivals but, when cornering, the TOYOTA C-HR is unbelievably stable for an SUV. We intend to perfect our setup in preparation for tomorrow’s race.”
The final qualifying results for the three TOYOTA GAZOO Racing vehicles were as follows: the TOYOTA C-HR Racing placed fifth in the SP2T Class, and 148th overall; the LEXUS RC placed fourth in the SP3T Class, and 81st overall; and the LEXUS RC F placed first in the SP-PRO Class, and 38th overall. The mechanics made final adjustments and maintenance to the three machines, as the teams awaited the start of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring at 3.30pm on the following day.