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Toyota proud of Le Mans showing

Toyota proud of the performance of the TS030 HYBRID despite neither car making it to the finish of the Le Mans 24 Hours
Toyota Motorsport team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said there were plenty of positives to be taken away from the Le Mans 24 Hours despite both cars being forced into retirement.

Both the #7 and the #8 cars were able to challenge towards the front of the field as Toyota looked to take the fight to Audi, despite the fact that Le Mans marked the first race outing for the new TS030 HYBRID.

The #7 car moved to the head of the field approaching quarter distance with Nicolas Lapierre at the wheel, but the car then hit trouble when Kazuki Nakajima clashed with DeltaWing and was forced to pit for repairs.

Although the car would eventually return to the track, engine issues would force the car into retirement before half distance.

“It was a real disappointment to end the race early; our dream was to see the chequered flag,” Nakajima said. “We had a good start but during my stint I had contact with another car after the safety car period and then right after that we found an unrelated problem. We lost time there. I did some night running in difficult conditions; I had a flat spot on one tyre and big vibrations. It was difficult to get the temperature into the tyres and I struggled a bit to get them to work.”

The Safety Car period prior to Nakajima's clash with countryman Satoshi Motoyama came as a result of Anthony Davidson's huge accident put the #8 car out of the race and Kinoshita admitted it was a race that had given the team mixed emotions.

“Right now our emotion is one of sadness,” he said. “Our best wishes are with Anthony, who is a fantastic colleague and a positive force in our team. We strongly hope he recovers very soon and we're sorry we could not provide a result to cheer him up from the #7 car, which suffered firstly an alternator problem and then an engine failure. After all the hard work to get to this point, it really hurts to see both cars retire early.

“But in the next days we will look back on the first six hours of the race and feel great pride that we could lead Le Mans in our very first race. That is a remarkable achievement with such pioneering technology and this motivates us to push harder than ever to bring home some trophies in the remainder of the season.”

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Chris J - Unregistered

June 18, 2012 2:24 PM

It was a bit disappointing to see neither car finish but considering many people thought they'd be the 5th and 6th best cars out there they really took the fight to Audi and I think the future looks promising. Their qualifying pace was strong and before they retired the cars were really quick, the hybrid system worked well and although their lead was brief it took a great effort to cut down the gap to the #1 Audi. Had their accidents not happened (get well soon Ant) at least one of them would have been on the podium and leading up to Le Mans they put together a strong driver line-up that in my opinion should be retained for next season. It will be interesting to see if Toyota try different Hybrid systems or a diesel engine for next season but whatever they do, they should come back with 3 cars.

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