Toyota came very close to a nightmare finish at Le Mans when both cars suffered from similar fuel contamination issues.
The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans in appearance looked like a perfectly managed race for Toyota as nothing seemed able to unsettle the Japanese from claiming a fourth consecutive win in the Sarthoise race.
Nonetheless, Toyota technical boss Pascal Vasselon revealed that the team encountered a very worrying fuel contamination issue on both its cars. The Japanese manufacturer already encountered a similar problem in Monza and had to stop the incriminated car for a full hour to implement a filter inside its fuel tank.
Although the team already knew the origin of the problem, the Frenchman said the repair would “have cost at least 45 minutes”. Considering the margins between Toyota and Alpine – that finished the race 4 laps behind Toyota -, stopping both leading Toyotas for 45 minutes would have ruined their victory hopes.
“We knew stopping would have be game over for the win, which is why we did everything we could not to do it,” Vasselon said.
“It was a similar problem to Monza, but in Monza, we could not fix it. Many people in the team have been quite creative to fix the problem.
“The big difference this time was that we found a way to work around it without stopping for an hour in the garage, which would have been a showstopper.”