TOY­OTA LAUNCHES LE MANS IN­VES­TI­GA­TION

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - By Rob Lad­brook

Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the turbo fail­ure that cost it vic­tory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the dy­ing mo­ments of the race.

The Ja­panese-ger­man squad has car­ried out tests on the # 5 TS050 HY­BRID that stopped with Kazuki Naka­jima at the wheel and lost a cer­tain vic­tory as it started its fi­nal lap of La Sarthe.

A state­ment from Toy­ota said: “Car #5 suf­fered a tech­ni­cal de­fect on a con­nec­tor on the air line be­tween the tur­bocharger and the in­ter­cooler, caus­ing a loss of the tur­bocharger con­trol.

“The team at­tempted to mod­ify the con­trol set­tings to re­store power and this was even­tu­ally achieved, al­low­ing the car to com­plete the fi­nal lap. How­ever, it was achieved too late to com­plete that lap within the re­quired six min­utes.”

Toy­ota has now launched a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the fail­ure, and has ruled out that the is­sue was in any way re­lated to its en­gine trou­bles dur­ing the pre­vi­ous FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship round at SpaFran­cor­champs. Both cars suf­fered tech­ni­cal fail­ures on their 2.4-litre twin turbo V6 pow­er­plants, but they were put down to the loads sus­tained in the com­pres­sion at Eau Rouge Cor­ner.

“Cur­rently it is not clear why this fail­ure oc­curred [at Le Mans],” con­tin­ued the state­ment, “as we have ver­i­fied the process to pro­duce the part here at Cologne. It is clear the is­sue has no link what­so­ever to the en­gine is­sues ex­pe­ri­enced at Spa.”

One of the team’s de­nied trio of driv­ers, Sebastien Buemi, said he couldn’t ac­cept the loss of the win.

He told Au­tosport: “I was p*ssed off, an­gry, and couldn’t ac­cept it for two days. I don’t know if you can call it des­tiny of what­ever… why this thing held off for 23 hours and 55 min­utes and not 24 hours.

“I re­alised be­ing an­gry is not go­ing to bring you any­thing; it’s not go­ing to put you on the podium. I’ll try to come back next year and when we do win this race it’ll be amaz­ing.”

TS050 broke down in fi­nal min­utes of race

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