Toyota GAZOO Racing did not achieve its goal of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans despite a very good start to practice, qualifying and the first hours of the race.
Mechanical problems prevented two of the three TS050 HYBRIDs from crossing the finish line, with the third of them, the TS050 HYBRID No. 8, finishing ninth after also suffering a breakdown and missing numerous laps.
There were high hopes for a first victory for the Japanese brand at Le Mans after the TS050 HYBRID No. 7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Stéphane Sarrazin, who had recorded pole position with a record time set by the Japanese driver, held on in head during the first 10 hours of the legendary Le Mans race, but around 1.15 am from Saturday to Sunday he had to withdraw due to a clutch problem.
The No. 050 TS8 HYBRID of Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima also contested for the lead for almost eight hours, until a problem with the front electric motor cost him nearly two hours in the pits. He rejoined and was able to finish the test, in ninth position, setting the best lap time towards the end of the race.
While an accident knocked out Nicolas Lapierre's TS050 HYBRID No. 9, Yuji Kunimoto and José María just minutes after the TS050 HYBRID No. 7 problem was hit from behind by an LMP2 vehicle, causing a puncture. and damaged the hydraulic system. After the incident, the vehicle could not change gears and ended up abandoning a few hundred meters from the pits, at 1.35 am.
The result of Toyota GAZOO Racing did not meet the expectations created both by the good start to the season, with the two victories in the first two rounds of the WEC 2017, and by the fastest lap in the history of the track, after the Thursday Kobayashi broke the average speed record 32 years later. Everything presaged a first victory for Toyota at Le Mans after 19 participations, since its debut in 1985. In the end it could not be.
In any case, Toyota already has in mind the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018, working from today on returning to the La Sarthe circuit with the maximum chances of victory again, of course without neglecting the battle for the drivers' title and of constructors of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship after having won the first two rounds, the 6 Hours of Silverstone and the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.