Toyota: We did "right thing" amid late Le Mans drama

Toyota believes it “did the right thing” by not swapping its two cars around after a dramatic final hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours cost the #7 TS050 Hybrid a near-certain win.

Toyota: We did "right thing" amid late Le Mans drama

Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima inherited their second Le Mans win in a row in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid after late problems for the dominant #7 sister car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez.

The #7 crew virtually led all race until Lopez caught a puncture with just over an hour left to run. Due to a sensor issue the team mistakenly changed the right-front tyre when it was actually the left-rear that needed changing.

That meant Lopez had to nurse the car home for another lap of the 13.626km circuit and make another pitstop - affording Nakajima, who had been over two minutes off the lead, the chance to take the lead and bring the car home for a second Le Mans win.

Toyota LMP1 team boss Rob Leupen was left with mixed feelings after the Japanese marque’s second consecutive La Sarthe triumph.

“It’s very difficult,” a visibly emotional Leupen told Motorsport.com after the finish. “We wanted to make it really boring, but that didn’t happen. 

"The #7 car was by far the fastest of the two, they all worked very hard.

"We got into a situation where we caught a puncture at the end, and it hurts a lot that the team didn’t respond well to that.”

Leupen admitted Toyota considered swapping the cars’ positions to let the dominant #7 crew take their first Le Mans win, but ultimately decided against it.

"We thought about doing something [about the running order], but that wouldn’t have been correct,” he explained. 

"We talked it through with the drivers and I think we did the right thing. Le Mans chooses its winner again.”

Toyota will face a tough debrief on the #7 car’s side after not electing to change all four tyres when Lopez came in with a puncture.

"The simple question was asked why we didn’t change all four tyres to be safe," said Leupen. "We didn’t do that. It’s all in the game and then you have to make a decision.

"I don’t know what happened [with the sensor]. I don’t think we’re really thinking about that right now. I think the people of the #7 car have a lot of problems with this and we first have to accept it."  

shares
comments
Le Mans 24h: Alonso, Buemi, Nakajima win again for Toyota

Previous article

Le Mans 24h: Alonso, Buemi, Nakajima win again for Toyota

Next article

Toyota explains why it didn't change all #7 car's tyres

Toyota explains why it didn't change all #7 car's tyres
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021