At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a lot of things can happen – from drivers spinning out to crashing into another racer, and even vehicles suffering from mechanical failures. Despite all of that, the last thing someone will probably encounter at Circuit de la Sarthe is another driver heading in the opposite direction.
Unfortunately, the somewhat unthinkable happened at this year's Le Mans qualifiers. The #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid had a near head-on collision with another vehicle – the DragonSpeed ORECA-Gibson 07 piloted by Roberto Gonzalez.
The Toyota LMP1 car, driven by Mike Conway at the time, came across the spun-out DragonSpeed driver at the Ford Chicanes who made a last minute move to rejoin the track. As Conway was trying to set a qualifying lap at the time, he was unable to avoid contact which made the TS050 drive over the nose of the Oreca and went airborne.
Despite the spray of carbon fiber and sparks, both Conway and Gonzales were okay. However, the section was yellow flagged soon after as debris littered that section of the track and only 45 minutes remained for qualifying. Incredibly, the Toyota team managed to repair all the damages on the #7 car and was able to send it back out just before the end of the session.
Possibly the best news out of this is that the #7 TS050 even managed to set the fastest lap of the session with a time of 3min 17.161 seconds, putting them on provisional pole. During the second qualifying session, the same car managed to set a 3min 15.497 second lap, putting them in pole position with car #8 in P2. Pretty impressive considering the car went airborne.
Hopefully no more bizarre collisions for during the 24-hour race itself?