Not even regulation changes can stop Toyota from winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Japanese automaker won the 89th running of the Le Man, making it their fourth consecutive victory at the legendary endurance race. Following the regulation changes this 2021 season, the automaker also becomes the first-ever team to win the new Hypercar class with the new GR010 Hybrid race car.
Claiming Toyota's fourth straight Le Man's win is the No. 7 GR010 driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway, and Jose Maria Lopez. Toyota made it look effortless too. The time started from pole position, lead the majority of the race, and completed 371 laps. However, it wasn't as easy as it seems. While they might not be going up against big manufacturers, the two Toyota GR010 race cars faced several issues throughout the race.
On the first lap, the No. 8 GR010 car, which eventually finished second overall, was hit from behind. It later suffered wheel damage and a puncture. By the final quarter of the race, the car encountered a fuel system issue, which prevented it from completing full stints. The same fuelling problem would also develop on the leading No. 7 car. Fortunately, the team managed to keep things under control in both cars to cross the finish line.
“This was a very hard race and a real team victory, in difficult circumstances. We asked a lot of our drivers and I am amazed by their skills to implement our solution without any time loss. It was a true team effort; we never gave up and the whole team tried everything to achieve the victory. Thank you to everyone involved in this achievement; the team members, our partners, and our colleagues at Toyota Motor Corporation who give us so much support,” said Hisatake Murata, team president.
Next year, Toyota won't be the only manufacturer on the grid. Peugeot will be making a return to the sport with the 90X program. Will Toyota dominate once more, or will the French automaker be able to steal the crown?