The Japanese Manufacturer’s decision to field at third car at the Le Mans 24 Hours could come back to bite them in the ass – can Toyota recoup their losses?
In an effort to increase its performance and competitiveness in the Le Mans 24 Hours, Toyota has opted to fund and field a third Le Mans car. While at first glance it may look like Toyota made it rain on the team like your “cool” uncle Jerry does at the fine young ladies at a local gentleman’s establishment, Toyota Motorsport GmbH Technical Director Pascal Vasselon admitted that the reality was far less dramatic and grim than that:
“We have had to manage within our budget frame – we did not get more budget,
We have reduced some development items without hurting our performance target achievement and, at the same time, taking some financial risks.
If we have a couple of accidents, for example, we will be in financial trouble and we would have to make a drastic saving at some point.” – Pascal Vasselon
For a team to undertake such a risk would speak chiefly to one of two things:
A) They are drinking some of that special punch.
B) They have the utmost confidence in their drivers.
Since we can safely rule out A, signs begin to point firmly at B. Supporting evidence of such a claim can also be found in Vasselon’s comments on how close the team came to victory only to suffer defeat at the hands of reliability issues:
“If you look at the past three years, two times we were in a position to win Le Mans and two times we have had exactly the same scenario with one car having an accident and the second one having a one-off reliability issue. The same scenario twice in three years pushes you strongly towards having the third car.” – Pascal Vasselon.
Toyota projects the utmost confidence when asked about their decision, but only the resulting attempts at the Le Mans 24 Hours will show if this was a smart investment or a lemon.