24h Le Mans
21/11/2019 - 18:01

José María López (Toyota): "The mishap gave us strength and determination"

Five months after finishing second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, José María López, driver of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, discusses the flat tyre that cost him and his teammates a first win at the legendary race.
José María López (Toyota): "The mishap gave us strength and determination"

Five months after the 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, what are your thoughts on your second place finish?

"Five months have gone by, time flies, it's incredible. It was a special race for us. We've moved on, but it's still disappointing. We led the race for 23 hours and were so close to winning. We understand the 24 Hours is as wonderful as it is merciless. Toyota knows it well. But now we're thinking about the next running and being as competitive as we were this year so we can win."

How did you feel when your car suffered the flat tyre?

"It was an extremely difficult experience. For me, it was a great race because I'd done very well during the night and the car was exceptional to drive. I was proud to get to do the final stint as that is very special for a driver. Everything happened so fast. We had not changed out the correct tyre because the pressure sensors were reversed. It cost us a lot of time and that's why we lost the race. The mishap gave us (teammates Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, Ed.) strength and determination for the next 24 Hours of Le Mans."

"The new regulations will foster fantastic races and we hope other manufacturers will join us."
José María López, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

You attended the screening of the official 24 Hours of Le Mans film. Did you discover other aspects of the race?

"Yes, because you're focused solely on your own race. You jump in the car, you eat, you sleep and you're isolated from everything happening beyond your garage. To see all the goings on with the other cars and in the other classes was really enjoyable."

The 2019-2020 FIA WEC season kicked off well for you with your win at the 4 Hours of Silverstone. In the provisional championship classification, only three points separate you and the #8 Toyota. Will the season be highly competitive again?

"Yes, it will be particularly so with the new Success Handicap. It's going to be a huge challenge to win the championship. One will need to be extremely careful in the last races. A retirement at the 1000 Miles of Sebring (20 March 2020, Ed.) or the 6 Hours of Spa (25 April 2020, Ed.) would cost dearly going into the finale at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We'll need to finish every one of the races and I think it'll all play out at Le Mans since the Success Handicap will be at zero."

The 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans will serve as the last race for the LMP1 hybrids before the introduction of the Hypercars. How do you feel about that?

"Yes. The LMP1 hybrid is an exceptional car, highly performant and technologically advanced. These cars are very close to Formula 1 level. But, endurance racing must evolve and adapt. The new regulations will foster fantastic races and we hope other manufacturers will join us."

Peugeot recently announced its participation in the future Hypercar class in the FIA World Endurance Championship. What are your thoughts?

"It's wonderful news. Peugeot is a very important manufacturer with a great history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We can't wait to compete with them."

 

PHOTO: José María López, driver of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, attended the screening of the official 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans film at the CGR theatre in Saint-Saturnin.