Toyota Gazoo Racing president Toshio Sato has vowed to investigate why his team is struggling for pace against its Audi and Porsche rivals in the World Endurance Championship as attentions turn to the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Twelve months on from scoring a resounding 1-2 finish at Spa en route to WEC title glory in 2014, Toyota's leading entry - the #2 car driven by Alex Wurz, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin - finished a distant fifth in this year's race, three laps down despite suffering no notable issues.

It's a gulf in performance that had already been seen in pre-season testing and at the Silverstone opener, meaning that with the Le Mans 24 Hours now just over a month away, Toyota is already considered an outsider.

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Indeed, though Sato admits the accident for Kazuki Nakajima at the start of the weekend - which left him with a fractured vertebra and in a race for fitness for Le Mans - didn't help, he says it is disappointing to see the team hasn't made the step forward its rivals have.

"This has been a tough event for us. We wanted to get a much better result, particularly for Kazuki. Like in Silverstone, we have shown a lap time improvement compared to last year but it has not been enough to challenge Audi and Porsche who have done an impressive job.

"Congratulations to Audi on a hard-fought victory. We will conduct a detailed investigation into the technical problems as well as the gap to our competitors. We will work flat-out and concentrate on the development of our Le Mans-spec car."