Brendon Hartley had to resort to turning the fuel pump off and back on at nearly every corner in the final few hours of last weekend’s Le Mans to reach the finish.
With seven hours remaining in the 24 hour race, the No.8 Toyota Hypercar developed a blockage in the fuel pump.
The GR010 was no longer able to run its usual stint length before having to refuel.
At one stage, Hartley’s co-driver Sebastien Buemi was down to doing two-lap stints.
“We were basically going out for five minutes and then coming back in and refuelling,” Hartley said on NewsTalk ZB.
The problem was giving Toyota a headache. They contemplated bringing the car into the garage for a complete fix.
Hartley said this would have cost the team over half an hour and ruined their chances of a podium finish.
However, Toyota thought of an impromptu solution to ensure the No.8 could stay out on track and limit the number of times it had to refuel.
“The clever boys and girls at the back of the garage came up with the idea to start turning the fuel pump off during every brake phase to try and unblock the filter,” Hartley said.
“To try and turn the pump off and get a bit of backpressure at every brake phase isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“It required four of five pushes of buttons during the braking phase, starting at 300kph.
“So, we were punching buttons on the steering wheel trying to turn the fuel pump off at the moment we were decelerating and trying to turn it back on before we hit the throttle.
“We soon discovered that was workable solution and we just got it to the end of the race.”
With 38 corners every lap, spamming several buttons while under braking made for a stressful finish.
“I think the nerves were high and then other car started having a similar issue,” Hartley said.
“You give the race a lot of respectable. But just to get to the end is sometimes a challenge in itself.”
Hartley, Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima brought the No.8 home in second, two laps down on the sister Toyota who won the race.