Poised to win its first ever 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend, tragedy struck for Toyota as its leading #5 TS050 Hybrid prototype competing in the premier LMP1 category suddenly lost power in the closing minutes of the race.
Details are now starting to emerge on what exactly went wrong with the car.
In a post-race update, Toyota revealed that a connector on the piping between the turbocharger and intercooler failed and resulted in a loss of control of the turbocharger.
Race engineers managed to bypass the turbo and get the car moving again in limp mode but by then Porsche and its winning #2 919 Hybrid had already taken the lead. Sadly, the #5 TS050 Hybrid couldn’t finish its final lap under the 6.0-minute time limit and thus missed out on a podium as well as being classified.
Though the #5 TS050 Hybrid previously suffered engine trouble during the earlier Spa-Francorchamps round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship, Toyota says the Le Mans issue is an unrelated matter. The automaker is still attempting to discover why the connector actually failed and will provide a further update.
Had this single, tiny part failed just a few minutes later, Toyota would have earned its first Le Mans win after 18th attempts. The automaker made its debut at the French classic in 1985 and so far has finished second five times and made the podium six times.