This was demonstrated in the most gut-wrenching of circumstances at Le Mans last year, when their leading car – looking an absolutely gold-plated certainty to win and so break Toyota’s duck in the 24-Hour classic, actually failed at the beginning of the very last lap. So a Porsche 919 hybrid LMP1 car won instead, handed victory in the last four minutes after 24-Hours of Toyota superiority.
This year Toyota fielded three of their spectacular-looking TS050 Hybrid LMP1 Coupes with biturbo petrol-burning 2.4-litre V6 engines, supplying an 8 megajoule hybrid system with lithium-ion battery power storage, and 4-wheel-drive transmission. These complex cars shattered all records around the Sarthe in qualifying, started from pole position…and failed yet again, or encountered almost grotesque bad luck, during the long race.
After their memorable chase back through the field in a truly memorable recovery exercise, it was Porsche 919 driver Timo Bernhard who took his second outright Le Mans win, and his third in total, while co-driver Earl Bamber claimed his second outright win to join his 2015 triumph with Porsche while the third crew member, fellow Kiwi Brendon Hartley, became a Le Mans winner for the first time.
Despite being gobbled-up by the victorious LMP1-class Porsche into that final hour the Chinese-backed Jackie Chan DC Racing team’s Oreca made history as the first LMP2 car to lead outright at Le Mans while eventually securing class victory and second place overall… and its sister car was third.