Vijay Pattni12 April 2012

Toyota’s Le Mans racer crashed

Hybrid LMP1 monocoque wrecked in testing, will miss Six Hours of Spa in May

Sadly, you will have to wait until June to hear more of the most astonishing sound this side of Stig having a crisis.

Why? Because Toyota has revealed that its one and only TS030 hybrid Le Mans monocoque was involved in an accident during testing at the Paul Ricard circuit, and will thus miss the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps next month.

Test driver Nicholas Lapierre was apparently driving in heavy rain to test the car's wet handling conditions, when one of the electronic units let in water and caused the accident. Technical director Pascal Vasselon said the team is working on sealing the electronics, but expressed concern they've lost all of April and the chance to test at Spa ahead of the Le Mans 24hrs.

Gallery: the Toyota TS030 hybrid Le Mans racer

Last night Toyota Racing said: "Regrettably this damage is too severe to repair. A replacement monocoque cannot be produced and sufficiently tested to ensure reliability within the limited time available."

Toyota has told the FIA that it is to withdraw from Spa - held on 5 May - and will instead work around the clock to get a car ready for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Toyota Racing president, Yoshiaki Kinoshita, said: "We are deeply saddened to announce this decision. Since the accident we have looked into all options but unfortunately there is no alternative course of action open to us."

Yoshiaki-san, we are also deeply saddened. Deeply, deeply saddened. For the simple reason that we'll have to wait that little bit longer before we can hear the sound of that 3.4-litre petrol V8 and two electric motors kicking into life again. It is the sound of Space Gods switching on galaxy-levelling light sabres. It is the sound of the Le Mans Batmobile. It is the sound of the Large Hadron Collider finding the ‘Stig Particle'.

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