Despite over four hours left of the World Endurance Series six-hour race at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, it was going to take something massive to stop Toyota cruising to a one-two finish such was their speed advantage. But much to their despair, it was something massive they got.
Namely, a freak thunderstorm that hit the F1 track and caused havoc among the supercar field. British driver Mike Conway was the first to feel its wrath as he completely lost control of 1,000bhp Toyota TS030 Hybrid No 7 through the tricky turn 3, 4, 5 complex. Luckily, he managed to collect the spin before hitting anything at high speed, but that was just the start of it.
Immediately, the cameras snapped to the sister No 8 Toyota, and with Nicolas Lapierre beached in the turn-12 gravel trap at the end of the back-straight. The Frenchman was not alone, as a two GTE Am class AF Corse Ferrari 458’s quickly joined him.
However, despair soon turned to disaster as Conway lost control of the second Toyota and hit the wall at the same corner, meaning both Conway and Lapierra were struggling to get back into the race. While Conway managed to get away, the No 20 Porsche in the hands of Timo Bernhard joined the growing number of cars that were beached at turn-12, and this came just a lap after Bernhard had taken over the car in the pits where the Porsche mechanics had fitted full wet weather tyres.
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Bernhard’s inability to keep the No 20 on track was enough to convince race director Eduardo Frietas to put out the red flag, and it would have been harder viewing still to watch both the No 1 and the No 2 Audi negotiate the tricky weather conditions before continuing on to a well-deserved one-two finish.Reuse content