With Peugeot’s withdrawal from the world’s greatest endurance race, everyone was looking to the rookie Toyota team and its two petrol-hybrid TS030 race cars to provide some kind of worthy competition for the two diesel-hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattros and two Audi diesel R18 Ultras. And they did. Five hours from the drop of the green flag, Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 7 Toyota passed Benoit Treluyer in the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro on track to take the lead.
At almost the same time, Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota was getting launched into the air when a GT Pro-class Ferrari turned into him heading into Mulsanne Corner. Both drivers had massive impacts with the tire barrier, ending their races, and Davidson is now lying in the hospital with two fractured vertebra. Worse yet, the second Toyota had fallen to second due to a pit stop during the safety car period, and on the restart it crashed into the Nissan DeltaWing. That DeltaWing’s race was ended after a solid run in its experimental class – its biggest issue appeared to be that other drivers couldn’t see it. The Toyota returned to the pits for repairs and got back on track, but retired with engine failure about 12 hours in.