Upcoming Events

Weekly BMW races on Simracing.GP Other regular AC events on Simracing.GP Weekly GT3 Sprint Races on Simracing.GP Weekly GT4 Sprint Races on Simracing.GP Daily WTCR races on Simracing.GP

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.

Like what we do at RaceDepartment? Follow us on Social Media!

 
 
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.
Diva Alonso ,other monkey ?¿you certainly would not be called, so that
 
Nope. ByKolles and DragonSpeed are out.
Ginetta have entered two cars, but as far as I can remember, Tomlinson are only willing to finance one car himself, so if there are no takers on the second, we'll at most see one Ginetta.
.

Yep 8 full time *entries*, I guess they don't all have to show. I think I was remembering an unconfirmed list from earlier in the year.

The ACO is still going at this race - Keating's GTE-AM winning car is DQd as is Ford 68, and that's just today. Nothing is over until ... 6 months time again? who knows, 8 may get DQd yet.

Whether there was an actual tyre deflating or not, they didn't listen to Lopez saying they were wrong about the tyre they were talking about - that is not really excusable. You would notice as a driver if a tyre was down to 0.3 bar.
 

wombat999

Premium
What a crock.
As usual the Alonso detractors and conspiracy theorists are hard at it, but does any proper racing enthusiast think Mike Conway would just hand over a victory to any other car? As for it being a two car race, Toyota were up and running, no Porsche, no Audi and no real opposition. Old saying demonstrated fully, 'You've got to be in it to win it" which they did.
Enough already.
 
Pretty cool to see a customer car of the Ford GTE this year. Sad for the Vette #63 being put into the wall. Did the Porsche hit him or did the Vette turn into the Porsche?

I think Toyota had it in the bag anyway. They have more money and experience than the other two teams did in P1. The Rebellion liveries were pretty damn cool though.

Them not switching cars I think has little to do with racing politics. I think is was more not quitting while you're ahead. I mean you're almost done why not just finish. Everything is a team effort there.
I haven't done a deep analysis or anything, but the guy driving the Porsche AM at that stage was serious track hazard, he would do 3 laps and crawl back to the pits to change the nose, 2 more laps and a big gravel trap excursion, 3 more laps and a spin, all in a single outing/stint, that guy was a danger.
 
Last edited:
ACO should eliminate any category where only one team has a realistic chance of winning.

These years of Toyota "wins" will always be tainted by the fact that the result was preordained.
 
Personally it doesn't count as a win.. so I don't care about wich Toyota finnish ahead of the other one.. Sorry toyota, but racing alone doesn't count. The only japonese brand that really won Le Mans agains't someone else was Mazda, no more story to be added.
 

Isaac Chavira

Livery Designer
I haven't done a deep analysis or anything, but the guy driving the Porsche AM at that stage was serious track hazard, he would do 3 laps and crawl back to the pits to change the nose, 2 more laps and a big gravel trap excursion, 3 more laps and a spin, all in a single outing, that guy was a danger.

Oh snap yeah is was that dude. He should have been disqualified!
 
Personally it doesn't count as a win.. so I don't care about wich Toyota finnish ahead of the other one.. Sorry toyota, but racing alone doesn't count. The only japonese brand that really won Le Mans agains't someone else was Mazda, no more story to be added.

You do know the Mazda was significantly underweight for that year's C2 regs, yeah? almost 180kg under. Mazda somehow got an ACO exemption from the ballast all the other non 3.5L cars had to take. It's like they were in a class of their own. Reverse deja-vu, eh?

180kg is about 240L of fuel, or two large pit crew.
 
Reverse deja-vu where?? Mazda was 12sec. slower in qualifying agains't the peugeot's, but then they won because of reliability.
 
Top