Earlier, Fernando Alonso claimed that the LMP1 privateer teams were equal on pace with Toyota. However, three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer has called Alonso’s claim as the “joke of the year.”
Toyota swept to its third one-two finish of the FIA World Endurance Championship season at Fuji on Sunday, beating the leading privateer non-hybrid LMP1 car by four laps.
Toyota’s perfect record in the WEC this year was only lost due to a technical infringement at Silverstone, where its cars had again finished first and second.
The nature of the LMP1 regulations favour the hybrid manufacturers over the non-hybrid privateer teams such as Rebellion Racing, for whom Lotterer races.
The hybrid-powered manufacturer teams are not as fuel-limited, are allowed to run longer stints, and have quicker refuelling times, making it difficult for the non-hybrid privateers to compete. Toyota won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June by 11 laps, with its smallest margin of victory so far this year being two laps at Spa.
However, Alonso was quoted by Autosport saying last weekend at Fuji how the privateer teams were just as fast as Toyota, whose advantage was instead down to “a race that’s perfectly executed.”
Lotterer quoted Alonso’s comments on Twitter before calling it “joke of the year”, with former Porsche teammates Neel Jani and Earl Bamber also chipping in.
Alonso has long sought to talk up the achievements of Toyota through 2018, claiming earlier this year that its Le Mans win was on “a higher level” to any other in the race’s history due to the depth of the LMP1 field.
Alongside teammates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, Alonso sits at the top of the WEC drivers’ championship with a 13-point buffer over the sister Toyota crew.
Alonso is waiting to see out the remaining four races of his F1 career and looking forward to the WEC. Meanwhile, Lotterer will be looking ahead to the WEC season as well as the Formula E season.