Toyota admits reliability issues ahead of Le Mans

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This admission follows delays of his pair of GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercars during the WEC round at Monza last Sunday.

The winning entry of Race # 7 shared by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez lost a minute with an electronics glitch that forced Kobayashi to completely stop the car on track to undertake a full restart of his systems.

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Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley’s GR010 # 8 lost almost an hour due to a problem with the fuel system and also required a new forward turn en route to last place, 43 laps behind the car sister.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon conceded that the team knows they “have work to do” ahead of the official Le Mans test day the week before the WEC double-point round on the 21st and August 22.

“Yes we are worried but somehow it’s business as usual for a racing team,” he said. “We have to get to the bottom of both issues.”

Vasselon explained that Toyota will focus on bench testing here at Le Mans, excluding the scheduling of additional track testing.

The only run scheduled for the GR010s from here to Le Mans is Toyota’s traditional pre-race shakedown at Spa, which will take place in early August.

“We have to really understand what happened and then generate the conditions that are suspected to be critical on the platform,” he said.

“We have traveled 30,000 km with the car, you cannot say that you are going to organize a test and that [the problem] what will happen.”

Vasselon described the problem on # 7 as a “control unit problem that required overall retraining.”

Kobayashi received an error message on the dashboard, pulled over to the side of the track, and followed prescribed procedures to reset the car’s systems before proceeding without a problem.

The problem on # 8 was not fully understood by Toyota the day after the Monza race.

Vasselon called it “essentially a fuel system problem that isn’t entirely clear,” adding, “We don’t know what caused it – it wasn’t an electrical problem.”

The car was first taken to its garage for about four minutes while Toyota tried to figure out the problem and the entire fuel system was then changed with a loss of just under 50 minutes.

Vasselon admitted that the front right corner had to be changed on the # 8 because the wheel was not properly tightened 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 problems in the first two rounds of 2021 at Spa and Portimao.


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