So, this just leaves me speechless.

Apparently, this video depicts the incident that led up to the #7 Toyota’s failure at Le Mans, and I’ll just quote Sportscar365, and their interview of Pascal Vasselon, on this.

The pole-sitting No. 7 Toyota of Kobayashi retired in the 10th hour with clutch failure, in what Vasselon said was triggered by a bizarre pit lane incident.

He said it was the “most amazing” problem they had during the race.

Kobayashi pitted for routine service while under the race’s second safety car period before going into the queue at pit exit, where Vasselon said he was signaled to re-enter the track by a fake marshal, believed to be a driver from another team.

“It’s amazing… Someone came to tell him, and we have it on video: ‘Go go go!’ And normally, our drivers are used to the human action dominate signs,” Vasselon explained.

“From our side, we told him stop because the safety car queue was coming, and it was not possible.

“There has been, as you can imagine, some confusion. Start, stop, start, stop.

“So he had done several restarts with the clutch and the combustion engine… and burned the clutch because he has been thrown into a situation which should not exist.”

Kobayashi ground to a halt moments later and was forced to retire the car at the Porsche Curves.

Looks like the offending “marshal” was Vincent Capillaire, from the #45 Algarve Pro Ligier LMP2. And, it seems from the Reddit thread that the TS050 is not designed to handle starting the car with the clutch normally (saves weight that way) - instead, it starts rolling on electric, rev matches the engine, and drops the clutch. But, this is apparently at least somewhat automated, and it fell out of that mode, instead using the engine to get started. That then destroyed the clutch.

Seriously, what the fuck.

Edit: And Vincent Capillaire explains. (French article, Google Translated quote below.)

On Saturday night, during the race, I was waiting for my relay, helmeted at my box, I wanted to show my encouragement to the lead car, stopped in red a few meters in front of my box. Was a spontaneous encouragement, as it happens between pilots, and I was fined by the commissioners for this gesture and I admit it was inopportune.


He was fined €1000, and the penalty was actually handed down during the race.