Hybrid tech might not be ready for Le Mans 24 Hours - Toyota

Toyota president Akio Toyoda says hybrid technology "might not be ready" for the Le Mans 24 Hours given the multiple problems for leading LMP1 runners during the 2017 event

Hybrid tech might not be ready for Le Mans 24 Hours - Toyota

All the Toyotas hit trouble during last weekend's race, with the #7 TS050 HYBRID - which had led comfortably - grinding to a halt with a clutch problem and the #8 car spending two hours in the pits with a front motor issue.

The #8 car did complete the race but finished ninth overall and nine laps down, while the winning #2 Porsche also lost more than an hour in the pits with a similar front-axle drive issue.

Hybrid systems have been used by manufacturers at Le Mans since 2012 when Audi gave the R18 e-quattro its debut, with every winning car since using hybrid power.

But Toyoda questioned the suitability of the technology for the full 24-hour distance after the troubles of the 2017 event.

"Both Porsche and we, Toyota, were not able to complete without incident 24 hours of driving in the hybrid cars that we put to the challenge on the roads of Le Mans," he said.

"Even the winning car #2 and our #8, which completed the race, were forced to undergo time-consuming, trouble-caused repairs, before struggling to cross the finish line.

"While the hybrid technology that has advanced through competition in the World Endurance Championship puts its abilities on display in six-hour races, it might be that it is not yet ready for the long distance of the 24 Hours of Le Mans."

But Toyoda added Toyota would persist with its hybrid programme in the "precious laboratory" of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship, as development of it is relevant to its road car projects.

"The power of electricity is absolutely necessary for cars to take on a more emotional presence," he said.

"Le Mans is a precious laboratory in which we can continue to take up the challenges related to the technologies involved, putting such technologies to the test in an extreme environment.

"We will hone our technologies even further and ripen them to provide our customers.

"And we will go on making effort after effort so that we can continue making ever-better cars."

shares
comments
Aston Martin had to force Corvette error at Le Mans for GTE Pro win

Previous article

Aston Martin had to force Corvette error at Le Mans for GTE Pro win

Next article

Roman Rusinov gets severe penalty for Le Mans 24 Hours crash

Roman Rusinov gets severe penalty for Le Mans 24 Hours crash
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

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

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021