A loss of turbocharger control has been identified as the reason for Toyota missing out victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours just minutes from its conclusion.
The #5 Toyota crew of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima looked set for an emotional maiden victory in the endurance classic after an almost trouble-free 24 hours of racing, Nakajima seemingly on course to bring the car over the finish line as it managed its advantage over Porsche in the closing stages.
However, technical problems with just four minutes of the race remaining would force Nakajima to park up the TS050 Hybrid a lap shy of the chequered flag, cruelly scuppering what would have been a long awaited first win for Toyota in the endurance classic.
Following an investigation, Toyota has revealed a defect on a connector on the air line between the turbo and the intercooler, causing a loss of turbocharger control.
Frustratingly for the team, Toyota also revealed a modification to the settings would have allowed Nakajima to restart the car. However, it wasn't in time for him to complete the final lap in the required six minutes.
“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.
“Currently it is not clear exactly why this failure occurred as we have verified the process used to produce the part here in Cologne. Further analysis is required to determine the root cause.
It is clear that the issue has no link whatsoever to the engine issues experienced at Spa earlier this season.
“Comprehensive investigations are underway at TMG to determine the precise reason for this issue with the aim of establishing countermeasures to avoid any repeat in the future.”