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Should Toyota have swapped cars before the end of the race - allowing the #7 to win?


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LM24: Toyota 'Did The Right Thing' Not Swapping Race Leaders

LM24 Toyota Driver Swap.jpg

2019 Le Mans race winners Toyota believe they 'did the right thing' not swapping positions late on following tyre troubles for the dominant #7 TS050 Hybrid.


With the 87th running of the famous endurance classic always looking destined to be a Toyota victory, it would be the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez that showed the greatest pace over the 24 hour event, until a late race puncture led to the rather dramatic mistake by their Toyota crew that sealed victory to the trailing #8 of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

With Lopez behind the wheel of the #7 heading into the closing hour of the race, the Argentinian multiple World Touring Car Champion reported a potential right-rear puncture and duly brought his race leading car into the pitlane for a change of tyres, with over two minutes advantage over the sister #8 machine.

Unfortunately for Lopez and his crew, Toyota would mistakenly replace a different tyre on the car, and not all four, leaving the distraught Argentinian to slowly crawl round the 13+ km circuit for a further lap before eventually returning back to pit road - by now having lost the lead to their Toyota team-mates in the #8 machine.

With both cars clear at the front of the field in a dominant 1-2 formation, Toyota MP1 team boss Rob Leupen claims the manufacturer discussed swapping the cars around before the race finish - eventually electing to maintain status quo and allow the #8 to take their second consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours victory - and the 2019 FIA World Endurance Championship drivers title.

"We thought about doing something [about the running order], but that wouldn’t have been correct,” Leupen explained to motorsport.com.​

"We talked it through with the drivers and I think we did the right thing. Le Mans chooses its winner again.”
When quizzed about why the Japanese manufacturer failed to replace all four tyres at the initial pitstop, Leupen was at a loss as to explain the move by his #7 crew:

"The simple question was asked why we didn’t change all four tyres to be safe," said Leupen. "We didn’t do that. It’s all in the game and then you have to make a decision.

"I don’t know what happened. I don’t think we’re really thinking about that right now. I think the people of the #7 car have a lot of problems with this and we first have to accept it."
Conspiracy theories will no doubt be claiming that Toyota engineered a victory for Alonso and co. to end the chapter with the Spanish World Champion on a high following their year together in the WEC, but either way, it was certainly a dramatic end to what has been yet another incredible Le Mans 24 Hours race weekend.

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falster

250RPM
Nov 1, 2008
270
125
I dont know if im honest.
Im certainly not getting my pants in a twist. But i can understand why it was done if intentional.

All i know is i enjoyed the race, more than last year and it was blatantly obvious from early on a toyota would win.

EDIT oh bore off with your disagree, this aint even an agree\disagree comment.
Which do you disagree with?
The fact that "I" am not getting my pants in a twist?
That " I" understand if it was intentional
The fact "I" enjoyed the race...??
Leaves one choice left which i guess could be it, but if thats the case.....which race were you watching?

Or are you, like alot of users of the disagree cross, just being petulant? Dont worry about disagreeing, im probably already ignoring you.
 
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PegaMixel

100RPM
Jun 4, 2017
115
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I posted this in the shoutout, but it really belongs here.

Remember they did this last year at the end of the race aswell when they told the #7 Toyota that they had enough fuel for one more lap. Guess what. They hadn't and so the #7 crawled around for half the lap only to get overtaken by the number 8, or lets just call it the "Alonso Toyota".

The fact that there is basically no threat from any car on the track at all leaves little margin to believe that those "mistakes" (both 2018 and the one today) came out of pressure from another team. Hell, they even could've changed all 4 tires on the #7 just to be safe. I mean they had a 2 minute 40 seconds lead over the #8 and (thanks to EoT) a slight gap of only 4 laps to the next P1.

The fact that this happened for the second year now is just a disgrace.
You can not talk down to Toyota for staying in WEC when everybody else is leaving the P1H class, but you can talk down to them when they let the car win which wasn't in the winning position by some shady pit wall tactics at the end of the race.

Toyota, for me, you're DENSO.

cheers
 
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Dobermann92

250RPM
May 16, 2018
278
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I think it was an honest mistake, the hating on Alonso will blur the minds for some. The #7 was faster, but it had more technical problems, so there is that, it isn't all about speed.
 

TOOLD

100RPM
Jun 20, 2015
123
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"We thought about doing something [about the running order], but that wouldn’t have been correct,” Leupen explained to motorsport.com.

"We talked it through with the drivers and I think we did the right thing. Le Mans chooses its winner again.”

What a hypocrite B....., you kill the sport, casually Le Mans choose always the car where Alonsito is on.
Driving around in a race without competition and if they don't like the result the make it to their liking.
Shame on Alonso to play this game. Other drivers would have swapped the podium place in front of everybody or parked the car in front of the finish line. Well, driver with a spine in the back like lauda, Massa, Senna, Schuhmacher to name a couple.
Alonso isn't the smartest, but in 2 years casually the opponent has to change position, because of some "box mistakes" , that realize the dumpiest that this smells fishy.
I'm in favor to exclude Toyota from the WEC
 

Ceterum Censeo

@Simberia
May 30, 2019
31
28
I didn’t even care about LMP1 for the last 2 years, it’s simply ridiculous!
The other classes though were worth every minute.
 

TOOLD

100RPM
Jun 20, 2015
123
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I didn’t even care about LMP1 for the last 2 years, it’s simply ridiculous!
The other classes though were worth every minute.
LMP1 is ok, but without LMP1H, kick Toyota in the bud, they are a disgrace for the sport
 
Feb 14, 2011
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Yes @TOOLD, those famous two occasions when Senna and Schumacher slowed down and let Mansell and Hakkinen finish ahead of them after they had last lap problems. :roflmao:
 

MPortnoy

250RPM
Sep 5, 2016
404
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As if having Toyota as the lone hybrid LMP1 car wasn't bad enough, now they do this shady tactics :poop:. smh
 

TOOLD

100RPM
Jun 20, 2015
123
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Yes @TOOLD, those famous two occasions when Senna and Schumacher slowed down and let Mansell and Hakkinen finish ahead of them after they had last lap problems. :roflmao:
It wasn't due to a problem, this "problem" was made to get Alonso on the podium, that's the difference, they have done it last year and they have done it this year, and they will do it again next year.
Well I can be wrong and God is Spaniard, who knows --- so much luck
 

Glaurung

2000RPM
Feb 9, 2015
2,148
926
Can't believe they're not able to change the right deflated tyre.
My personal opinion is indeed that the #8 car was much more functional for marketing purposes...
If the mistake was true, then it was a total noob error from Toyota, the driving crew had done a magnificent job so far, extenting a 2 mins gap to #8, the error was made by the team and the team should fix it.
More hurting have been the radio orders in the last 30 mins, freezing the position even though the #7 was able to close the gap and put pressure on Kobayashi.
 
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TOOLD

100RPM
Jun 20, 2015
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Can't believe they're not able to change the right deflated tyre.
My personal opinion is indeed that the #8 car was much more functional for marketing purposes...
If the mistake was true, then it was a total noob error from Toyota, the driving crew had done a magnificent job so far, extenting a 2 mins gap to #7, the error was made by the team and the team should fix it.
More hurting have been the radio orders in the last 30 mins, freezing the position even though the #7 was able to close the gap and put pressure on Kobayashi.
There was enough time to change all 4 tyres and not only one, and on top off all, they change the wrong one ... come on ... who believes in Santa Claus.
They pay for the Diva Alonso a bunch of money, so he has to be on the top of the podium.
 

Conguito_

75RPM
Jun 10, 2019
79
233
Hell, they even could've changed all 4 tires on the #7 just to be safe.
Nope they couldn't, they only had used sets left, so they decided to only change one tyre in order to minimize the chance of a tyre failure. PrOOF (at the beginning of the article, a bit above the tweet)
 
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TOOLD

100RPM
Jun 20, 2015
123
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Nope they couldn't, they only had used sets left, so they decided to only change one tyre in order to minimize the chance of a tyre failure. PrOOF (at the beginning of the article, a bit above the tweet)
hmm , how many sets they have? No tyre damage during 23 hours on no 8 no tyre damge in 23 hours on no 7, just with this additional final pit stop, picking up a fresh set, there was this f...g bastard of tyre, which lost pressure...last year fuel, this year tyre, ...
if it only had happened this year, nobody would discuss about it, but it's really strange, that Alonso has such a luck ....lets see next year, Japanese companies are very creative if Alonso is still with them.
If I would be Alonso, I would change the cockpit.
 
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Slowdive

250RPM
Oct 28, 2017
433
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They orchestrated the #8 winning so they did what they wanted to. Hallow championship for Fernando. The lack of competition is why he wasn't sharp for Indy!!!!
LMP1 is a bit of a farce since Audi and Porsche dropped out. Looks like they are trying to fix that issue next year.