(Motorsport-Total.com) – “Congratulations to car #8! Thanks to car #7 for their part in this 1-2 score.” These are the words of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda giving his traditional statement after the 24 Hours of Le Mans this time.
© Motorsport Pictures
Toyota’s success doubled at the 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours: GR010 Hybrid in eighth place, ahead of seventh
The double success that Toyoda mentioned in the 90th edition of the world’s most famous endurance race was Toyota’s fifth victory in a row. Four of those come in as 1-2 victory. And for the fourth time, it was the No. 8 Toyota that had the upper hand.
At #8 Toyota, Buemi has triumphed in 2018 and 2019 with Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima, and in 2020 with Hartley and Nakajima. The #7 Toyota, which finished P2 this time after the electric session Sunday morning, was the winning car in the hands of Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez last year.
24 Hours of Le Mans 2022: 24 hours in 10 minutes
Highlights of the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round three of the 2022 World Endurance Championship (WEC)
“This year, Le Mans was a 1-2 race from start to finish. However, the drivers couldn’t drive comfortably throughout the race. I think all the drivers drove with a certain pressure,” says Toyoda.
“From the start, there were no problems with cars #7 and 8 for 16 hours. They were rivals and drove within a few seconds. We were able to play between us for a long time because both cars were built to the same level and ran smoothly and the drivers were grateful for that,” he says. Toyota CEO.
Toyoda continued, “At the same time, I think it was a huge burden for the drivers to have two cars from the same team fighting each other for a long period of time. It wasn’t easy for sure, but the drivers fought hard. I would like to thank all six drivers for that.” .
Toyota #7 one year after its victory this time (again) unlucky
But then lightning literally struck the Toyota #7 flagship. With Jose Maria Lopez at the wheel, the car exited the corner of Arnage around 8 am. Lead is gone. Lopez returned to the pits after restarting the systems. However, a second of the so-called power cycles had to be performed. The bottom line is that over two minutes was wasted and ultimately irretrievable.
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Conway / Kobayashi / Lopez lost the win Sunday morning Zoom
“The fight ended when we didn’t have both cars in good shape,” Toyoda said. “Car #7 stopped on the track when the race was about to start in the last eight hours. We were able to continue racing with this car and get back on track.”
“But since then, drivers have had this uncomfortable feeling of not knowing when the car might come to a stop again. I feel sorry for the drivers who kept fighting despite such intense feelings. Thank you to everyone who got in the car and kept going until the end,” Toyoda said.
Toyoda praises Kobayashi and Nakajima for their new roles
Toyota’s fourth double in the 24 Hours of Le Mans stands out from its predecessors in that it is the first with Kamui Kobayashi in a double role. The Japanese, who finished P2 with Conway and Lopez, have been not only the driver but also the team boss at Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe since the beginning of this year. However, the operational team leader remains Rob Lubin.
© Nicholas Godet
Since the beginning of the year, Kamui Kobayashi has been not only a driver, but also a team boss Zoom
“Instead of Kamui being a recluse in the team leader role, I heard he spoke to the engineers and mechanics and rose to the challenge,” Toyoda said.
“Although he has not been able to communicate with all the members yet and also said that the formation of the team is ongoing, I think the team is gradually changing. Thank you Kamui for working hard as team leader.”
“But I also understand,” Toyoda continued, turning toward Kobayashi, “how it felt as a driver, that is, you really want to win. I got the fastest lap and it was Jose. [Lopez] He took it from you late in the race. The car with the starting number 7 got steadily faster over the course of the race.”
“I wanted car number 8 to win. At the same time I wanted car number 7 to take the lead again.”
“I wanted car #8 to win. At the same time, I wanted car #7 to take the lead again. Yes, even if I had such feelings,” the Toyota CEO admits and says, “Thank you for your recent outing for a moment. “.
“Taking the dual roles of driver and team boss can be very complicated. I think thanks to Kamui both cars raced fairly until the end of the race. I really appreciate that he took on such an important role. I was very happy Kazuki [Nakajima] And seeing Kamui on the podium in different roles than before.”
Three-time Le Mans winner Kazuki Nakajima is Toyota’s Vice President Zoom
Kazuki Nakajima, mentioned by Toyoda in this context, is no longer driving himself. He has served as Vice Chairman of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe in Cologne since the beginning of the year.
“Building a car and building a team is an endless struggle. Please continue to promote team spirit,” Toyoda says to Nakajima, adding, regarding Kobayashi: “For Kamui, please continue to give everything as a driver.”
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