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