Due to things like driver fatigue we often see some silly scenarios playing out at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But it has been a while since we saw anything quite as stupid as the stunt Kazuki Nakajima pulled some six hours into the world’s most famous endurance race that ran this weekend past.
Coming out of a prolonged safety car period, the ex-Formula 1 driver was busy jostling for position in his hybrid Toyota TS030 LMP1 car. And to his credit Nakajima was actually doing a rather good job of things, steadily narrowing the gap between himself and the lead Audi R18.
But then while storming into the Porsche Curves, he suffered catastrophic brain fade and punched into the Nissan DeltaWing that was running on the outside of the corner. How he didn’t see it there, looming large like the Batmobile, lord only knows. Anyway, this rookie-esque driving error sent the experimental race car slamming hard into the concrete wall at high speed – a tragic accident that spelled the end of its much-hyped Le Mans debut.
This incident also caused unnecessary damage to the No.7 Toyota, with Nakajima having to nurse the car back into the pit lane with a puncture and some shattered bodywork. Despite the crew’s best efforts, the stricken hybrid eventually returned to the circuit some 25-laps behind the leading Audi. Eventually it would drop out altogether – with veteran Alex Wurz behind the wheel – due to engine failure. Coincidence, or the result of Nakajima’s wayward antics?
Do you know how hard and how much time everyone put into this car? And you take it out like that?