Toyota Gazoo Racing saw potential victory slip from their grasp in the second round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship on Saturday with mechanical issues affecting both their cars in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Toyota went into the race leading the manufacturers’ world championship standings and qualified strongly, No6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi and the No5 car, piloted by Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, claiming third and fifth spots on the starting grid respectively.
Both cars demonstrated significantly improved performance since their last race appearance at Silverstone. The No5 had been leading by more than a minute at the four-hour mark, with the No6 in third after an earlier accident with a lapped car required it to pit for repairs.
Engine problems forced both out of contention, however. The No5 car was classified in 27th place overall and was able to secure 10 valuable points towards the manufacturers’ title; the No6 Toyota had to retire from the race.
Davidson reflected: “Obviously it is really disappointing, having looked so good earlier in the race. I really feel we deserved it today and it was cruelly taken away due to a problem we have never seen before. In all of the miles we have done in testing, we have never seen such a problem. Now we have to dust ourselves off and get ready for Le Mans.”
The team are now preparing in earnest for the Le Mans 24 Hours, which gets under way on 18 June. Prior to the race, they will be taking part in the official test day at the track on 5 June.