Toyota returned to the World Endurance Championship for the hybrid era in 2012, and its trend of losing to the lucky charms continued with mechanical failures, accidents, and just not quite up to speed. The potential of the successful TS040 was evident: In 2014, both the drivers ‘and manufacturers’ championships secured, if not the absolute Le Mans victory. That would be the job of the TS050.
The TS050, which debuted in 2016 battling Audi and Porsche in the last few years of the LMP era, appeared to be the car that won Toyota’s streak of DNFs and runner-ups (1992, 1994, 1999 and 2013!). With a gap of over a minute and just under seven minutes before the race, the Porsche would need trouble when the leading # 5 TS050 began to experience losses in performance. The team risked victory, abandoned the car and Nakajima had to stop less than 3:30 to go. That meant the Porsche overtook it on the last lap.
The loss was so heartbreaking that even Porsche uttered words of sympathy and deference to the deflated Toyota squad. It wasn’t until 2018, after Porsche and Audi had left the company in previous years, that the TS050 would finally win Le Mans. Hollow? Given the relative lack of competition, possibly. Given the work Toyota has done over the years to get that moment, and given the strength of the TS050 platform, absolutely not. They are now on their fourth win, which is relatively unchallenged, although the upcoming wave of LMH and LMDh entries will test Toyota one more time.
TS050 Image courtesy of Motorsport Images.The post The 7 Best Toyota Race Cars (List) first appeared on monter-une-startup.