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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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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
LMP1 teams have 12 Sets of tyres. They did 385 laps, which is an average of 32 laps per tyre set (equals 2.5 Stints)
 
Swapping places is not even a question, why make it into a discussion?
One car hit trouble in the late stages, so the other one won it. That's what happens in endurance racing, get over it. End of story.
All this conspiracy BS is just silly. This isn't F1.
 
Toyota be Toyota. They can only win when they don't have competition and even then they screw around with the results. I'm sure the #7 car was expecting it though. Can't let god himself Alonso come 2nd.
 
I doubt, he even had seen the race, or hadn't understood what had happened lol

You do, do you?
I understood what happened, probably more so than you. How many Le Mans have you watched? This one makes 21 for me. But you're the one who understands. Sure.

Silly children. I'm done here. Mod Edit:offensive

I'd like my account deleted please. The people on this website are just to stupid and abusive.

OI ****ING RETARDED MODS STOP SCREWING YOUR SISTERS AND ****ING DELETE MY ACCOUNT INSTEAD OF CENSORING POSTS!!! THIS IS MY PRIVATE DATA AND I HAVE EVERY RIGHT IN THE WORLD TO SEE IT DELETED FROM YOUR DISGUSTING SITE!!!
 
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No, I don't think they should have had them swap positions. The first or the second time. That "mistake" was one of the most obvious team orders I've ever seen. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt if it hadn't also happened at last year's Le Mans and Spa.
 
Ah, I love a good conspiracy theory!

So, let me get this straight. People believe that Toyota manufactured the result in both a highly obvious way, and with an amateurish stunt?

It seems to me, that if your goal was to achieve a better marketing outcome (Alonso's car winning) you would do it in a clandestine way, not this wacky races stuff. If their desire was to fix the race, then there were likely 100s of better ways of doing it. For me, Occam's Razor shuts down the "it's a fix" line of thinking pretty quickly. But, externally, there's a lot more to think about...

If Toyota were to be discovered to be fixing races, the reputational damage would far outweigh any positive marketing outcome from the WEC project. But, more than that, it would taint any goodwill towards the brand from even the most casual observers, just ask Lance Armstrong.

For me, the marketing return for the #8 car winning instead of the #7 would be small, but noticeable. After all, #8 won last year, and the Championship, it's not as if they were short of marketable stories. But, there's also an argument that both cars being winners of the big race would be better from a marketing perspective. Mercedes certainly made good use of that when Rosberg picked up the title in 2016.

But, all of that is just hypothesising. The fact is that the positives of an Alonso win would be massively outweighed by the risk of being discovered. And, that's not even touching on any legal repercussions.

Finally, this falls down in the same way every conspiracy theory falls down. It requires far too many people to be in on it, and to stay quiet.
 
Toyota are such an opaque organisation.
Toyota in the media before Le Mans:
" Toyota has been simulating an array of problems during its endurance simulations in order to be as prepared as possible for the kind of exceptional circumstances that deprived it of victory at Le Mans in 2014, '16 and '17".

So in the last hour they have a faulty sensor/wrong sensor & decide to pit.Then change the wrong tyre & decide not to change all tyres.Did they practice this scenario?Unbelievable.Are the team investigating what went wrong to avoid a repeat in the future?
If Toyotas story is true then they should have pitted the Alonso 8 car & changed all tyres as a precautionary measure.
Toyota should have just changed positions & said it was team orders.I think fans know that Toyota would prefer the Alonso headlines after the weekend.
 
Ah, I love a good conspiracy theory!

So, let me get this straight. People believe that Toyota manufactured the result in both a highly obvious way, and with an amateurish stunt?

It seems to me, that if your goal was to achieve a better marketing outcome (Alonso's car winning) you would do it in a clandestine way, not this wacky races stuff. If their desire was to fix the race, then there were likely 100s of better ways of doing it. For me, Occam's Razor shuts down the "it's a fix" line of thinking pretty quickly. But, externally, there's a lot more to think about...

If Toyota were to be discovered to be fixing races, the reputational damage would far outweigh any positive marketing outcome from the WEC project. But, more than that, it would taint any goodwill towards the brand from even the most casual observers, just ask Lance Armstrong.

For me, the marketing return for the #8 car winning instead of the #7 would be small, but noticeable. After all, #8 won last year, and the Championship, it's not as if they were short of marketable stories. But, there's also an argument that both cars being winners of the big race would be better from a marketing perspective. Mercedes certainly made good use of that when Rosberg picked up the title in 2016.

But, all of that is just hypothesising. The fact is that the positives of an Alonso win would be massively outweighed by the risk of being discovered. And, that's not even touching on any legal repercussions.

Finally, this falls down in the same way every conspiracy theory falls down. It requires far too many people to be in on it, and to stay quiet.

You do know that Lance Armstrong was only caught because Floyd Landis blew the whistle after pressure from drug authorities?That is unlikely to happen to any Toyota employee especially as they are only beating theirself.The issue here is that Toyota thinks they are being clever,not cheating.They should have issued team orders.

Your view of what race teams will do to win is naive.Talk to anyone in & around racing & they will tell you about using oversized engines,dodgy fuel,7/8 cars,bladders in fuel tanks,tyre softener,nitrous oxide in roll cages etc..Toyota itself was banned from Rallying for using a turbo that was totally illegal.
 
You do know that Lance Armstrong was only caught because Floyd Landis blew the whistle after pressure from drug authorities?

Yes, that was my point. People have all sorts of incentives to talk.

Your view of what race teams will do to win is naive.Talk to anyone in & around racing & they will tell you about using oversized engines,dodgy fuel,7/8 cars,bladders in fuel tanks,tyre softener,nitrous oxide in roll cages etc..Toyota itself was banned from Rallying for using a turbo that was totally illegal.

There are all examples of covert cheating, not overt race fixing. Which again supports the argument I was making. Furthermore, the fact that technological rules are often broken in motorsport isn't proof that Toyota faked this situation. This is, at best, specious reasoning.

So I believe that Toyota would cheat to win? Yes, of course. Do I believe that they swapped positions in a comically overt way at the 11th hour at Le Mans? No.

*Edit* Grammar, for clarity.
 
Hard to say, I guess emotionally i would have preferred the 7 to take back over, but you just don't give a win away, and certainly not when you're Toyota who have been trying for so long and only got their first win last year.
 
People blame Toyota for being the only HY competitor? Sorry guys, they should be congratulated for hanging on to it, unlike Audi, Porsche, Peugeot. If there is anyone to blame, it is ACO/FIA duo who have put together this rule set that proves to be unattractive to constructors. Secondly, it is still a win. 2018/19 were the first Le Mans when neither Toyotas had any major problem. Apart from the (apparent) punctures, they ran cleanly, which is remarkable. Should they have switched positions? No, fair racing remains fair even between teammates, #8 crew did nothing wrong and picked up a win. Endurance racing is not just about pure pace.
 
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