The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most challenging races in the world—but every now and then we get a reminder that drivers are fallible people, too. And we sure as hell got that last night during the first qualifying session.
The No. 7 Toyota was in the hands of Mike Conway when he came across a spun-out driver at the Ford Chicanes. Conway didn’t have time to move before Roberto Gonzalez turned his DragonSpeed ORECA-Gibson back onto the track.
In what was the very definition of an unsafe track re-entry, Gonzalez and Conway collided. In fact, Conway went flying over the nose of the ORECA and went airborne in a spray of carbon fiber and sparks. Both drivers were okay, but with only 45 minutes left in the session, it didn’t seem possible that they’d have much of a shot at getting back out there.
Incredibly, though, the Toyota team put in a damn good effort and got the No. 7 back on track before the end of the session.
And even more incredibly, they then went ahead and set the fastest lap of the session at 3m17.161s, which put them on provisional pole. Not too bad for a car that had been flying through the air not even an hour before, huh?