Toyota admits to reliability concerns ahead of Le Mans

Toyota has admitted to concerns over the reliability of its new FIA World Endurance Championship contender ahead of next month's Le Mans 24 Hours.

The admission follows its pair of GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercars suffering delays in last Sunday's Monza WEC round. 

The race-winning #7 entry shared by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez lost a minute with an electronic problem that required Kobayashi to bring the car to a complete halt on track to undertake a full reboot of its systems. 

Read Also:

The #8 GR010 of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley lost nearly an hour with a fuel-system issue and also required a new front corner on the way to last place, 43 laps behind the sister car. 

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon conceded that the team knows it "has some work to do" prior to the official Le Mans test day the week ahead of the double-points WEC round on August 21/22.

"Yes we are worried, but somehow it is business as usual for a racing team," he said. "We have to get to the bottom of the two issues."

Vasselon explained that Toyota's focus will be on rig testing between now and Le Mans, ruling out scheduling additional track testing.

The only run planned for the GR010s between now and Le Mans is Toyota's traditional pre-race shakedown at Spa, which will take place in early August.

"We need really to understand what has happened, then generate the conditions that are suspected to be the critical ones on the rig," he said.

"We have done 30,000km with the car; you cannot say you will organise a test and it [the problem] will happen."

 

Vasselon described the issue on #7 as a "control unit glitch which needed a global recycle". 

Kobayashi received an error message on the dashboard, pulled over onto the side of the track and went through the prescribed procedures to reset the car's systems before continuing without problems. 

The problem on #8 was not fully understood by Toyota in the immediate aftermath of the Monza race. 

Vasselon called it "essentially a fuel system issue which is not exactly clear", adding: "We don't know what is causing it — it was not an electrical issue."

The car was initially brought into its garage for approximately four minutes while Toyota tried to understand the issue and the full fuel system was subsequently changed with the loss of just under 50 minutes.

Vasselon admitted that the right front corner had to be changed on #8 because the wheel had not been tightened properly when the car was in the garage for the first time. He called it a "side-effect" which damaged the hub. 

The new Toyotas ran without major issues through the opening two rounds of the 2021 at Spa and Portimao.

shares
comments

Related video

WRT has "regrets" about losing maiden WEC win at Monza

Previous article

WRT has "regrets" about losing maiden WEC win at Monza

Next article

Ferrari hopes to race hypercar in IMSA following WEC convergence

Ferrari hopes to race hypercar in IMSA following WEC convergence
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak Prime

How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak

The FIA World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 Hybrid remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing.

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

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.

Le Mans
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021