Motor On Line

A brilliant season-finale for the Toyota GR Supra GT4
Reportagem: Muriel Belgy
Panis Racing

The Toyota GR Supra GT4 concluded its first season in the FFSA French GT Championship in style as the first-ever all-Panis collaboration on tarmac scored the first overall victory of the iconic model last weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard. The success continued as the sister car with Wilfried Cazalbon and César Gazeau won the AM category title.

While Aurélien Panis shared the driving duties in the first four rounds of the year with Julien Piguet, the Toyota France Ambassador teamed up with his father Olivier for the season-finale of the 2020 FFSA French GT Championship season.

Returning to road racing competition for the first time in five years, Olivier Panis made the most of the free practice sessions to discover the GT4 category and understand all the finesses of the model developed by Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe GmbH. Meanwhile, Aurélien was learning the Circuit Paul Ricard short course chosen for the weekend.

After setting the pace on Friday, the father and son duo tackled Saturday midday qualifying and didn't take long to create a stir. Moving to the top of the Q1 timing screen at mid-session, Aurélien Panis took the first overall pole position for the Toyota GR Supra GT4 while also breaking the track record with a margin of more than a half-second from his closest pursuer. In Q2, the man with 158 Grands Prix to his credit, Olivier Panis also impressed in setting the sixth fastest time in the Silver category, less than a second off the pole.

Contested Saturday evening, Aurélien Panis held on to the lead in race one at the start, which was marked by a spectacular accident. Magnificent at the restart, the leader steadily built his lead throughout his stint to more than ten seconds as the driver-change window opened. Heading back out in first place, Olivier Panis used his race craft to manage this advantage and go on for the win in the Var night ahead of the Alpines, Aston Martins, Mercedes', Audis and BMWs.

Olivier Panis was at the controls for the start of race two on Sunday. From the outset, the former Toyota F1 driver let his experience do the talking and demonstrated his legendary fighting spirit in the midfield thanks to the Toyota GR Supra GT4's turbocharged three-litre inline six-cylinder engine. After moving up six places in the opening laps and continuing to push hard, he handed over to his son who increased the pace. Lap after lap, Aurélien overtook competitors and moved up to second place in the Silver category and fourth overall in a photo-finish.

While the #30 crew impressed at the sharp end of the order, the #66 Toyota GR Supra GT4 also stood out as Wilfried Cazalbon and César Gazeau took a resounding brace of victories to win the Am Cup title after two hard-fought races.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing France by CMR wrapped up its first season on the national scene with a first overall victory, but also valuable data collected throughout the year to better prepare for future challenges and to push the limits for better in 2021!

Aurélien Panis: "It is a real pleasure to finish in style with this victory on Saturday and this very good result in race 2 and to team up with my father twice this week-end has been very emotional. I would like to thank Toyota France and Julien Piguet for the trust they've shown in me as well as the entire CMR team who have worked all season long to develop the performance of the Toyota GR Supra GT4. There is no doubt that we have done a good job for the future and that this car will be at the front of the field in the 2021 championship."

Olivier Panis: "I had a great time driving the Toyota GR Supra GT4 and sharing it with Aurélien motivated me even more to do everything I could to rise to the challenge. I'm very proud of him and his investment in Toyota France, their collaboration throughout the season has paid off and this victory alongside him has a very strong significance for both of us. Thank you to CMR for their hospitality and to Julien Piguet for allowing me to enjoy this fantastic experience."


Página inicial