Pascal Vasselon, technical director of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe team, explained that the issue that temporarily put the TS050 engine into a protection mode hit the the winning #7 car driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez on one occasion compared with twice for the sister car.
The time loss for Kobayashi when the #7 Toyota encountered the problem at the end of the third hour was minimal because, said Vasselon, he was “faster to react”.
Kobayashi and Brendon Hartley, who shared the #8 TS050 with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, exited the pits together after a safety car just before the three-hour mark.
Both cars struggled to get up to speed, before Kobayashi raced away from his teammate after going through a series of reset procedures.
Hartley was unable to get up to full speed until he was halfway along the Kemmel Straight after Eau Rouge and finished his out lap 40s down on his teammate.
Buemi had run into the same problem in the initial stages of the race, losing approximately five seconds while leading in the wet conditions after the safety car start.
Vasselon said that Toyota had identified the problem resulting in “a lack of engine torque when accelerating from very low speed”, but did not understand why it had occurred.
“We know what…