© Getty Images

Sarrazin hopeful of Toyota’s Le Mans chances after Spa showing

Leave a comment

BERLIN, Germany – Stephane Sarrazin is hopeful that Toyota can fight for its first overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June after a strong showing at Spa earlier this month.

Toyota has made significant progress with its new car, the TS050 Hybrid, and cut the gap to LMP1 rivals Audi and Porsche.

In the last FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa, Toyota looked to be in a position to claim its first race victory since the end of 2014 before both of its cars were forced to retire with an engine issue.

Sarrazin, who shares the no. 6 TS050 Hybrid with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, hopes that Toyota can get in the mix for overall victory at Le Mans, but believes reliability will be critical.

“The TS050 is a very fast car, a very good car,” Sarrazin told NBC Sports.

“We showed at Spa we can fight for the win. Unfortunately we had an issue.

“Le Mans will be tough this year for everybody. We have to really focus on each detail.

“Reliability is really the key.”

Sarrazin balances his Toyota commitments with a drive in Formula E, racing for Venturi. The Frenchman confirmed that he will remain in the championship for its third season, starting this fall, but is yet to commit to Venturi.

“I will stay in Formula E. I like Formula E,” Sarrazin said.

“I am [doing] very well in my team, with Venturi. We started from zero last year, we created the team, and now it’s a proper racing team.

“I’m very happy and proud about that, on the smallest budget in the championship. We are doing a good job.

“I feel well. But let’s see.”

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

Leave a comment

With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.