WEC: Toyota Still The Hypercar Kings After 6 Hours Of Portimao

Despite Ferrari and Porsche’s best efforts to close the gap, the Japanese endurance racing veterans claim another dominant victory in Portugal.

By car&bike Team


Published on April 19, 2023

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  • Toyota is still the class of the hypercar field with their prior endurance racing experience proving key.
  • Ferrari finished second and Porsche claimed their first podium with a third place finish.
  • In the LMP2 class, United Autosport secured a 1-2.

The 2023 WEC 6 Hours of Portimao was an intense and closely-fought race, with Toyota ultimately emerging as the dominant victors. The #8 crew of Sebastien Buemi, Ryo Hirakawa, and Brendon Hartley finished one lap ahead of the chasing Ferrari and Porsche to claim their second win of the season, following their success at Sebring.


The race began smoothly, with no interruptions for nearly five hours. However, a brake failure caused Jacques Villeneuve's Vanwall to skid off the road at Turn 10, leading to the first and only safety car of the race. Despite this setback, Cadillac and Peugeot were able to get their cars to the finish before the second entries from the podium-finishers.

WEC Toyota Still The Hypercar Kings After 6 Hours Of Portimao 1

In the LMP2 division, United Autosports delivered an impressive 1-2 finish, overcoming the challenge of first-time WEC polesitter Prema. Meanwhile, Corvette Racing secured back-to-back GTE successes thanks to Nicky Catsburg's stout defence against the Ferrari 488 Alessio Rovera.


Although all five of the top manufacturers in the Hypercar class finished in the top five positions at the Portimao race, it was Toyota that emerged as the clear victors. Some of the Hypercar manufacturers had believed that the Sebring circuit would favour a team with a proven car that they knew inside out.


However, Toyota's lead increased at Portimao, demonstrating that they could run consistently and quickly, leaving their rivals struggling to extract performance from their cars.

WEC Toyota Still The Hypercar Kings After 6 Hours Of Portimao 2

Despite the increased gap between Toyota and the rest of the manufacturers, the field has also closed up, with less of a spread between the five car makers that make up the bulk of the Hypercar field for round two of the 2023 WEC. Peugeot, who had a difficult start to the race, bounced back from their abject performance at Sebring, delivering the best race for its Le Mans Hypercar program to date. The French manufacturer managed to finish fifth, but the significance was that the in-house Peugeot Sport team finally got a car to the finish cleanly, aside from a problem with an FIA-mandated sensor.


In the LMDh class, the Cadillac V-Series.R proved to be the fastest car at Portimao, even though Porsche scored the first LMDh podium in the WEC with their 963 shared by Laurens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre, and Andre Lotterer. The Ganassi-run Caddy factory had never tested on the Portimao circuit, but it still managed to secure third place. The only safety car of the race undid a strategy that had been forced on Cadillac.

WEC Toyota Still The Hypercar Kings After 6 Hours Of Portimao 3

The race was a true showcase of skill and determination, with every team pushing themselves to their limits in order to claim victory. Toyota emerged as the clear winners, demonstrating their ability to consistently run at a high level and outperform their rivals. However, the other manufacturers are not far behind, and they will be looking to close the gap in future races.






Last Updated on April 19, 2023

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