Toyota suggests hybrid technology 'not yet ready' for Le Mans
Toyota’s President has suggested that hybrid technology “might not yet be ready” for Le Mans amid the array of issues encountered by LMP1 machines during the 24-hour race at the weekend.
Toyota qualified 1-2 and headed the pack through Saturday afternoon, but the #8 lost 30 laps in the garage due to a motor issue before the #7 retired from the lead following a clutch problem.
Porsche’s race-winning #2 was also delayed, spending an hour in the garage while a replacement Motor Generator Unit was fitted, and the #1 Porsche failed to finish amid a suspected loss of oil pressure.
The rate of attrition meant that only two LMP1 cars reached the chequered flag – Toyota’s #8 nine-laps down on the winning #2 crew – enabling LMP2 teams to finish second and third overall.
“This time, both Porsche and we, Toyota, were not able to complete without incident 24 hours of driving in the hybrid cars that we put to the challenge on the roads of Le Mans,” wrote Akio Toyoda in an open letter post-race..
“Both even winning car No. 2 and our car No. 8, which completed the race, were forced to undergo time-consuming, trouble-caused repairs, before struggling to cross the finish line.
“While the hybrid technology that has advanced through competition in the FIA World Endurance Championship puts its abilities on display in six-hour races, it might be that it is not yet ready for the long distance of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Toyoda nonetheless stressed that the Japanese manufacturer will persist with the technology.
“The power of electricity is absolutely necessary for cars to take on a more-emotional presence,” he said.
“Le Mans is a precious laboratory in which we can continue to take up the challenges related to the technologies involved, putting such technologies to the test in an extreme environment.
“We will hone our technologies even further and ripen them to provide our customers with technologies that will truly make them smile.
“And we, Toyota, will go on making effort after effort so that we can continue making ever-better cars.”