CURSE

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - Photos: Jakob Ebrey, LAT Gary Watkins

This is the fifth time Toy­ota has lost a cer­tain vic­tory to prob­lems at Le Mans. Here are the pre­vi­ous four.

1994 The gear link­age Toy­ota had fac­tory rep­re­sen­ta­tion at Le Mans ev­ery year bar one be­tween 1987 and ’93, but it fi­nally came close to vic­tory in ’94 with a pri­va­teer. an up­dated ver­sion of its V8-pow­ered de­sign dat­ing back to 1989 run by the SARD team was on course for vic­tory in the hands of Ed­die Irvine, Mauro Mar­tini and Jeff Kros­noff when the gear link­age broke with 90 min­utes to go. Kros­noff was able to make a quick fix to get back to the pits and the car ended up sec­ond. 1998 Finger trou­ble Toy­ota could have won in the first year of its most con­certed Le Mans cam­paign ever. The GT-ONE, devel­oped in the same Cologne fac­tory as to­day’s TS050, had a per­for­mance ad­van­tage and the car, driven by Thierry Bout­sen, Ralf Kel­len­ers and Geoff Lees, was in front by 40s when the gear­box failed with 80 min­utes to go. The car had al­ready un­der­gone two changes of gear clus­ter and it ap­pears that the sump plug had not been cor­rectly tight­ened. A lack of gear­box oil did for Toy­ota.

1999 Er­rant back­mark­ers The fleet of re­worked Gt-ones fought two sep­a­rate bat­tles with the ul­ti­mately tri­umphant BMW V12 LMR. The en­try in which Al­lan Mcnish had joined Bout­sen and Kel­len­ers was bat­tling with the lead­ing Bmw when it was punted out in the night. The sub­se­quent re­tire­ment of the best of the BMWS turned the race into a bat­tle be­tween the sur­viv­ing cars from BMW and Toy­ota. Ukyo Katayama, Toshio Suzuki and Kei­ichi Tsuchiya were ar­guably on course for a nar­row vic­tory be­fore sus­tain­ing a punc­ture after be­ing forced over the kerbs.

2014 The melt­ing pot Toy­ota was lead­ing Audi dur­ing the night when a prob­lem with an FIA sen­sor stranded Kazuki Naka­jima on the track. Toy­ota knew it had a glitch and had just called the car into the pits but the sen­sor’s loom burnt out be­fore it could get back. The fix would have taken a cou­ple of min­utes – about the same time as the lead it had over the chas­ing Audi.

Sen­sor fire halted TS040

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