Late breakdown prevents Toyota from taking its long-awaited first win

The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans turned out to be one of the most dramatic endurance races in history after the leading Toyota prototype lost power and stopped on the pit straight with only five minutes to go, handing over the big win to Porsche. The German team won its 18th title at Le Mans, setting a new record for the most iconic motorsport event in Europe.

The race got underway on Saturday under a safety car due to torrential rain. With Audi’s R18 hybrids having dropped out pretty early, the battle for the overall win became a Toyota vs Porsche affair before the night settled over Circuit de la Sarthe. The TS050 of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Kazuki Nakajima looked set for victory after a solid run coupled with Toyota’s excellent refueling strategy, but tragedy struck with five minutes to go when Nakajima started losing power.

Much to the team’s despair, the Toyota came to a halt on the pit straight with just one lap to go, giving way to the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. Prior to losing power, Nakajima had a 50-second lead. At the end of the day, Toyota’s reliability failed when it mattered most. What a blow!

The video above captures the final moments of the race. While Toyota’s drivers and engineers had nothing to do but stare at the screen and witness their best chance at finally winning Le Mans vanish into thin air, the folks in the Porsche stand were celebrating one of the luckiest wins in motorsport history. Hit play to check it out and stay tuned for our full report of the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.

2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1

Read our full review of the 2016 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 here.

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