Brendon Hartley mused over a challenging Le Mans race last weekend where he and the No.8 Toyota combated issues from lap one.
On Monday morning (NZT), the Kiwi finished second in the famous endurance race, two laps down on the race-winning No.7 Toyota.
Tough doesn’t do Hartley justice when describing his race.
He and co-drivers Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima slumped from a front row start to dead last in a matter of corners.
A wet hour one, the first time it had rained all week at Circuit de la Sarthe, made for some chaos on the opening lap.
Buemi was hit by one of the Glickenhaus Hypercars at turn two, and he spun in front of a charging pack of GT cars.
The No.8 survived the clash with only superficial damage. But moments later, Buemi stopped on track again, this time for a complete power cycle reset.
An off at the end of the Mulsanne straight added salt to the wounds of a painful first hour.
Falling several minutes behind the race leaders, the No.8 began crawling back some ground to the No.7.
However, the team then experienced fuel dramas, which compelled them into doing shorter fuel stints.
“We had this issue with the fuel pump or fuel filter,” Hartley said. “Anyway, we were struggling to get all the fuel.
“So, we started doing five lap stints, sometimes six. I think even Seb was down to a two-lap stint at one point.”
Toyota was able to provide a workaround solution to the problem. However, by then, the car had fallen well out of contention for the win.
“An incredible job from the entire team,” Hartley said. “They found a workable solution to get us to the end.
“Seb was the guinea pig. He was doing the testing on the fly and trying to manage with some buttons and systems we have, which actually wasn’t easy for us.
“We had our hands full already and pushing all the buttons on the steering wheel in the braking phase of each corner every lap.”
Despite the countless troubles that hindered his race, Hartley was proud of Toyota’s efforts to earn a 1-2 finish.
“Le Mans always brings something crazy, and this year was no different.
“Right from the first lap, we were dealing with issues.
“The way the team pulled together to get this one-two was phenomenal, we had to manage the issue, and at one point, we weren’t even sure we would get to the end.
“I am incredibly happy for car No.7, who have had more than their fair share of bad luck.
“We are all really good friends and I am so happy to see them take their prize and live through all those emotions. A great win for the team.”