Brendon Hartley returned to action on Monday for the World Endurance Series prologue in Belgium ahead of this weekend’s season opener.
The Kiwi set the fastest time in the new Le Mans hypercar class in the morning session at Spa-Francorchamps. However, Hartley was almost two seconds adrift of the overall best time set by LMP2 squad United Autosport.
LMP2 cars filled the top seven spots in the morning and again led proceedings in the afternoon. That is despite the class running less power and more weight than last season.
Only three hypercars participated in the test day. Toyota had both of their GR010 on track, as did Alpine with their sole car.
Alpine driver Matthieu Vaxiviere would post the fastest time in the afternoon for a hypercar but still ended up four-tenths behind the leading LMP2 machine.
Hartley racked up a healthy number of laps with co-drivers Sebastian Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima also having stints behind the wheel.
The second Toyota fared less successfully. It didn’t complete a flying lap in the morning and was only seen on track in the final few moments of the afternoon.
Toyota later said the car experienced an ongoing hydraulic and electrical drama that cost several hours of track time.
Three heavy crashes at Raidillon marred the day.
In the morning, the No.33 Aston Martin collected the inside tyre wall before the sister No.77 Aston Martin had an uncannily similar crash moments later.
Sean Galael careened into the bruised tyre barrier in the afternoon. He is sharing the No.28 Jota with Tom Blomqvist and Stoffel Vandoorne, with the team needing to rebuild the car around a spare hub.
Round one of the 2021 season will be the 6 Hours of Spa on May 1.