Toyota Racing ends heroic effort at Le Mans
The race is over for Toyota Racing at the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans. After being pushed right to the back of the LMP1 class after a protracted repair session, the #7 car was forced to retire with further issues. We will update you with the details shortly.
Update: 05:00 CET: Our final race report is now available after the break.
Toyota Racing experienced thrilling highs and extreme lows during an eventful Le Mans 24 Hours which ended in the 11th hour.
An impressive start to the team’s first race saw the TS030 HYBRIDs fighting at the front, reaching a pinnacle when Nicolas Lapierre, sharing the #7 with Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima, took the lead as the six-hour mark approached.
However, the team’s joy at seeing its super capacitor-based hybrid powertrain lead the field was ended only seconds later due to a heavy accident for Anthony Davidson in the #8 he drove alongside Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Buemi.
He was hit by a lapped car and suffered heavy impact with the tyre barriers at Mulsanne Corner, which comes at the end of the Mulsanne Straight when cars reach a top speed of more than 330km/h.
After getting out of the car on his own, he was taken to the circuit medical centre suffering from shock and back pain. Despite no obvious injuries, he was taken to hospital for checks which revealed breaks to his T11 and T12 vertebrae.
Those injuries are expected to heal fully in approximately three months and he will remain in hospital until Monday.
A safety car period followed that incident and, when the green flags waved, Kazuki fought for the lead. However he was also unlucky with lapped traffic and made contact with another car, causing a puncture and rear bodywork damage.
That began a challenging period for the team, with several problems losing the #7 significant time in the pits as the crew worked hard to achieve the target of taking the chequered flag.
However, an engine failure after 10-and-a-half hours forced the difficult decision to retire the #7 and end Toyota Racing’s first race prematurely.
The team will compete with one car for the remainder of the World Endurance Championship. Next race will be the 6 Hours of Silverstone on August 26. Toyota Racing will bring the TS030 HYBRID to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed at the end of June.
You can also see the car up close and personal at our special showroom “Le Rendez-Vous Toyota” on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. If you’re visiting Paris, drop by and take part in the TS030 HYBRID Challenge to stand a chance to win tickets to Goodwood. In the mean time, you can read our race progress up to now here.