Our #7 car driven by Nicolas Lapierre powered to the lead of the race after six hours of flat out racing.
Sadly, celebrations were short-lived. Anthony Davidson driving our #8 car was hit by a back marker, and collided with the tyre barriers.
Following a period with the safety car in place, the #7 car, now driven by Kazuki Nakajima, continued to fight hard for the lead and to gain on a promising start, before retiring a few hours later.
Having proven the TS030's performance in one of Motorsport's toughest races, the team have since gone on to score three wins in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship, at the Fuji Speedway in Japan, São Paulo, Brazil and Shanghai, China.Keep up to date on our blog
24 hours and over 5,000 km – six times longer than the Indianapolis 500 and 18 times longer than a Formula One Grand Prix, the Circuit de la Sarthe is a mix of public roads and motor racing circuit, and one of, if not the most gruelling event in the motorsports calendar, testing every car and driver to their limits in terms of speed and endurance.
You've got to see and hear it to believe it, watch our test track videos for the TS030 HYBRID to experience the awesome sound of the after burn when the petrol engine kicks in, and the impressive performance of it out on the track.
The challenge is on, 2012 is Le Mans hybrid year
Toyota has debuted a new Le Mans challenger in the shape of the surprising TS030 – successor to the TS010 and TS020 (better known as the GT-One), which competed at Le Mans in the 90s.
It's only right that an absence of over 10 years would mean that a comeback challenge would need to be one that would make noise – and it did, showing what it’s capable of by battling for the lead!
The TS030 HYBRID – a serious contender
Its 90-deg 3.4 litre V8 engine peaks at the maximum allowed for a naturally aspirated petrol engine under Le Mans rules. But packs an extra punch with the hybrid function, it stores energy created to power through for longer – a vital competitive edge in the gruelling World Endurance Championship.