Toyota top brass not giving up on Le Mans
Toyota’s top official has vowed that ‘the fight is not over’ following the cruellest body blow in its long competition history in the Le Mans 24 Hour.
On what would have been the penultimate lap, the #5 TS50 Hybrid driven by Kazuki Nakajima experienced a sudden loss of power before it crawled to a stop on the start-finish straight, handing victory to Porsche.
After Nakajima, Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi had Porsche’s measure, the completely redesigned 2016 LMP1 machine saw victory snatched within minutes of the 24 Hour clock signalling the end to a classic race-long battle.
While the 2.4-litre twin turbo V6 linked to an 8MJ (mega joule) energy system experienced load and torsion problems specific to Eau Rouge which saw both its #5 and #6 cars eliminated from the Spa 6 Hour in early May, Toyota is yet to determine the cause of the Le Mans failure.
Toyota Motor Corporation president Akio Toyoda expressed his gratitude to rivals for the fight at Le Mans but warned Porsche and Audi that the Japanese squad is a ‘sore loser’.
Toyota is yet to register a victory at Le Mans in 18 attempts since its first bid in 1985 with the #6 TS050’s second place at the weekend realising the manufacturer’s sixth podium finish at La Sarthe.
“We at Toyota Gazoo Racing are ‘sore losers’,” said Toyoda.
“We do not compete without knowing the feeling of loss.
“Having tasted the true bitterness of losing, we will return to the World Endurance Championship arena next year, and we will return to compete in the battle that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“Toyota’s cars have become so fast and so strong. But Porsche grew even faster and they were stronger.
“We will be back next year, reborn, and ready to take you on with all of our might. Look out for the ‘sore losers’, Toyota on the track next year.
“The fight is not over.”
The Cologne-based outfit said it will get to the bottom of what cost it certain victory as part of its preparations for the 85th running of Le Mans next year.
The #2 Porsche 919-winning machine driven by Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb was a triumph for Australian motor racing talent with Jeromy Moore the chief engineer on the car in a race which will be long remembered as one of the greatest sportscar contests of all-time.