Pascal Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, explained that while the Glickenhaus team have taken a step forward in consistency compared to previous rounds of the WEC, they will be difficult to beat at the 6 Hours of Monza.
He made the claim after Romain Dumas took pole position on Saturday in the solo Glickenhaus 007 LMH with a margin of nine tenths of a second over the best of the Toyota GR010 hybrids.
“If they manage to be consistent at this level of pace, we don’t have a chance,” he said.
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Vasselon said he still expects the Glickenhaus to suffer a greater performance drop during a double stint on a set of Michelin tires as in previous races.
“It is true that at Spa [in May] their beat didn’t last a full [double] relay and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans we saw them be very fast – as fast as we are – and then lose a bit of rhythm,” he said.
“But now they have a 0.9s buffer; they’ll probably degrade more than us, but they have a pretty big margin.
Vasselon said he was not surprised by Glickenhaus’ pace in qualifying.
He suggested that its margin at the front of the Hypercar field reflected the change in performance balance for Monza, which gave the 007 LMH an additional 13 kW or 18 hp of engine power.
“It corresponds to the gap at Spa where it was almost half a second [when Olivier Pla put the Glickenhaus on pole]plus the BoP plus,” he explained.
Vasselon suggested that all six cars in the Hypercar class – including the two rookie Peugeot 9X8s – could be in the fight if Glickenhaus did not prove to have a significant advantage.
“We could have a six-car fight, all six cars are in the stadium,” Vasselon said.
“If Peugeot doesn’t have any problems, they will be there.
“I don’t think they’re there just to drink Italian coffee and eat pasta; no, I’m sure there will be a fight.
#93 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8* of Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne
Photo by: Eric Le Galliot
Vasselon pointed out that Peugeot had an advantage over Toyota ahead of the race at Monza.
The four-wheel-drive Le Mans Hypercars are using 2023-spec front differentials this weekend.
The benefits of a live front axle have been largely removed by the requirement to run what is an open differential, a rule change made as part of the convergence process to equate the performance of LMHs to the LMDhs that will arrive in the WEC next season. .
“The new rule reduces the ability of the differential to lock under braking, which compromises stability and stopping power,” Vasselon explained.
“We noticed on the simulator a difference in performance [with the previous diff]; basically we lost some stability.
“That’s one of the things where Peugeot is probably ahead of us.”
Peugeot used an open differential for the majority of the testing program with the 9X8 which began in January, while Toyota had only tried the new setup once before Monza as it did not want to jeopardize its Le Mans preparations. with the original GR010 differential.
Toyota and Peugeot have agreed to comply with the new differential rules from Monza because, Vasselon said, “it makes sense to experiment in 2022 and really make sure it works”.
The no.93 Peugeot in which Mikkel Jensen failed to record a representative time in qualifying on Saturday will start from the back of the grid for causing a red flag.
The Danish driver had stopped on track to undertake a reset of the car’s electronic systems after a pit stop on his first lap and a subsequent pit stop for new tyres.
The 6 Hours of Monza, the fourth round of the 2022 WEC, starts at 12:00 local time.