Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
47 days
MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
24 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
30 days
Formula E
R
Rome ePrix
10 Apr
Next event in
38 days
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
44 days
23 Apr
Next event in
51 days

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

About this article

Series Le Mans
Event 24 Hours of Le Mans
Teams Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC
Author Filip Cleeren
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Prime

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other.

Le Mans
Dec 16, 2020
How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend Prime

How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot…

Le Mans
Dec 7, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020
The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season Prime

The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season

It may have been missed amid the clamour over Lewis Hamilton's seventh F1 title, but Britain had another world champion crowned last weekend. Mike Conway's WEC crown raises an old conundrum - does title glory make up for the pain of Le Mans defeat?

WEC
Nov 19, 2020