Testing crash punts Toyota out of debut

The race debut of the all-new Toyota TS030 Hybrid has been delayed until the Le Mans 24 Hours following a major accident in testing.

The petrol-electric LMP1 coupe had been due to race for the first time in the Spa 6 Hours on May 5, round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship, but the monocoque of the irst TS030 was damaged in the crash at Paul Ricard in April, forcing the car’s debut to be delayed because the second car was not due to come on stream until the Le Mans Test Day at the start of June.

Toyota Racing team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said: “Since the accident we have looked into all options but unfortunately there is no alternative course of action open to us.

Toyota Racing will now urgently prepare a new monocoque to allow it to resume testing as soon as possible and prepare itself for the Le Mans 24 Hours.”

The accident happened when Nicolas Lapierre went off in wet conditions as a result of water contamination of the engine management system. Toyota stressed that the driver was not to blame.

Toyota was undertaking performance testing with the TS030 in its deinitive 2012 aerodynamic configuration when Lapierre crashed. The Toyota Motorsport GmbH squad had been due to begin its second 30-hour endurance simulation the day after.

The accident is likely to have a major effect on Toyota’s pre-Le Mans preparations. It had two tests planned for the end of April, at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz and MotorLand Aragon.

Toyota has revealed that it will run at Le Mans with kinetic energy recovery on the rear wheels. The rules allow hybrid systems at the front or the rear, and Toyota has experimented with both.

Two TS030s are on the entry list for Le Mans on June 16/17. It appears likely to run just one car, as was planned at Spa, in the other WEC rounds it contests this season.

To read more on the Le Mans hybrids see page 72