Anthony Davidson returns to the cockpit of his Toyota!
After several months absence following the accident between his Toyota TS030 Hybrid and a Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Anthony Davidson yesterday made his return to the cockpit of the Japanese prototype for the first test session of the year at the Paul Ricard track in the south of France.
Anthony, first of all, how are you?
“My crash at Le Mans was the 16 June and yesterday I came back in TOYOTA Racing pit box on 16 January. It’s exactly seven months. My back feels a lot stronger and I am okay to drive again. Seven months is not a huge amount of time to recover for this type of injury. I have to say I am happy with the speed of my recovery. It’s a fantastic feeling to be in the car again after such a long time. Sometimes, I was not feeling like a racing driver. Now, I feel like I am a race driver again and it’s cool!”
What was your feeling when you came back in the cockpit of the TS030 HYBRID?
“I did a bit of karting during my recovery. At Daytona, for the test day, it was my first time in a racing car since my accident. It was good to feel the speed and some G-force etc. A DP car has a lot of power, but you can’t compare to the TS030 HYBRID. It’s a completely new story. Physically, I can feel more stress on my body but I had no problem at all and I am really pleased with that. After seven months, you forget how strong this car is but I can tell you that during the first laps and in the long straight line of Paul Ricard I had a really big smile on my face!"
So you enjoyed it…
“Yes! A lot of feelings came back and the sensation of speed has been in fact better than I remembered. Maybe it’s because of the development on the car. Maybe it’s also because with time I forget exactly the speed of this car. It feels strange at the beginning but I was good physically so I got back into a rhythm. It’s nice to finally forget Le Mans 2012 because it was my last memory with the TS030 HYBRID. Now I am looking forward to race again!”
How was it to be part of the team again?
“I was in the simulator at the end of last year so I met a lot of the guys at TMG, but it’s good to be back on track. It’s quite funny in fact; I feel so much more emotion from the team. We have come through so many things together and it helps to connect people. In a tough time, you pull together more.”
And what is your feeling for 2013?
“I really enjoyed the success the team had in the second part of 2012 season. I was at Silverstone to see the team and TOYOTA Racing was close to win. I knew at this moment that the win would come soon. Then Brazil was exactly what the team needed; today I can see more confidence and a better speed of work. Everything has a better flow. Only this type of win gives this confidence. I am impressed by how fast the team progressed and I can’t wait to try to win Le Mans. Technically, we have a chance. 13 is an unlucky number but as I have been unlucky the other years at Le Mans, I hope this time it will change.”
Note that in five participations in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the British driver has only finished the race twice, in 2009 with the Lola Aston Martin and in 2011 with the Peugeot 908, but neither time on the podium. Will luck turn for the former F1 driver in 2013?
Cécile Bonardel (quotes from Toyota Racing)
Photo : LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES, 24 HOUR OF LE MANS, 12 JUNE 2012. Anthony Davidson at the autograph session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round 3 of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship.