Toyota confident of reliability fixes ahead of Le Mans test

Toyota is confident it has overcome the reliability issues that hit its two cars in last month's Monza World Endurance Championship round ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Toyota confident of reliability fixes ahead of Le Mans test

The fuel system and electronic problems that delayed the Japanese manufacturer's Le Mans Hypercars in the Italian WEC event have been identified and fixed ahead of the blue riband round of the championship next weekend, according to Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon.

He revealed that the fuel issue that resulted in the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley losing nearly an hour in the pits was the result of contamination.

Vasselon explained the contamination was related to the processes and systems used by the team and not the fuel supply from Total.

"It was not obvious to understand where it was coming from because the contamination was somehow transparent and not visible in the filters," he said in advance of Sunday's Le Mans test day.

"It was not related to the supply: it was within our own machines to manage the fuel [where] we had some contamination."

PLUS: How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

He also revealed that a similar fuel issue had hit the #7 car shared by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez in free practice at Monza.

Vasselon was unwilling to offer a full explanation of the electronic problem that resulted in the winning #7 Toyota losing a minute on track when Kobayashi was forced to bring the car to a halt to undertake a full systems reboot.

"On these electronic things it is very difficult to go into detail, but it is fixed," he said.

Toyota is "now as confident as we can be" about the reliability of the new GR010 LMH prototype that came on stream for the 2021 WEC, according to Vasselon.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Photo by: Alessio Morgese

"We have convincing counter-measures for all the issues we have suffered so far and we do not have any fundamental issues," he said. "But things can happen."

The Toyotas will be running at a higher level power level than originally envisaged for Le Mans, but Vasselon said this would not be to the detriment of the reliability of GR010's petrol-electric drivetrain.

He explained that the four endurance simulation tests undertaken with the GR010 had all been run at the higher level.

"It is within the range that we can run without major concern," he said.

The LMH rules prescribe a maximum power level of 520kW (697bhp) for regular WEC races and 500kW (670bhp) for the double-points round at Le Mans.

A maximum power of 515kW has been laid down for the Toyota in the Balance of Performance table for the this weekend's official Le Mans test, while the Glickenhaus-Pipo 007 LMH will run at 520kW.

The BoP could evolve after the test and the practice and qualifying sessions of race week based on the data accrued by the rule makers, the FIA and Le Mans organiser and WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.

The increase in maximum power reflects concerns that the LMP2 prototypes have so far this season been too close to the cars competing in the Hypercar class - the Toyota and Glickenhaus LMHs and Alpine's grandfathered LMP1 ORECA design.

Toyota and Glickenhaus have argued that there needs to be more of a gap between the two prototype divisions.

shares
comments

Related video

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car
Previous article

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

Next article

Le Mans Records: Biggest winning margin, most distance & more

Le Mans Records: Biggest winning margin, most distance & more
Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past Plus

Porsche’s hopeful Le Mans future meets its illustrious past

Rising sportscar star Adam Smalley had to pinch himself when offered the chance to drive the car that won the world’s most famous enduro in 1987

Historics
Sep 6, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide

The 90th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours is here. Here's Autosport's run down of the full field and who to look out for in each class

Le Mans
Jun 11, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Plus

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Plus

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

The GTE class faces a time of transition, with Ferrari and Porsche both committing resources to Hypercar programmes for next year's World Endurance Championship and GT3 cars confirmed to take over from 2024. But at its pomp in the recent past, the GTE Pro class pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022