The recent 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans was an eventful one to say the least, even by Le Mans standards. But while Porsche may have grabbed the headlines with a remarkable last-ditch charge to claim its 19th overall win, the race was also a story of heartbreak for Toyota, which saw its chances of victory slip from its fingers yet again – a story that it tells in this poignant video.

After last year’s harrowing last-lap breakdown, the Toyota Gazoo Racing team came to the French town determined to break the curse. Indeed, the Japanese team entered this year’s race as favourites, having won the 6 Hours of Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps earlier in the World Endurance Championship season.

Toyota’s seemingly unassailable position was only strengthened during qualifying, when it locked out the front row – the #7 car driven by Kamui Kobayashi also broke the lap record by nearly two seconds, with a time of 3 minutes 14.791 seconds. That advantage was carried through to the first half of the race itself, with the #7 leading throughout; as night fell, victory seemed almost certain.

What was supposed to be a routine pit stop under the safety car proved to be its undoing, with a confusing gesture from a fellow racer – mistaken as a marshal – at the pit lane exit caused Kobayashi to start and stop the engine repeatedly, resulting in a clutch failure when racing resumed. The car could not make it back to the pits under electric power, and it was retired from the race.

Just minutes later, the #9 car that was chasing the #1 Porsche for the lead collided with an LMP2 car, causing a puncture which ended up damaging the gearbox – it too was forced out of the race. With the #8 car pushed far behind due to lengthy repairs on the front electric motor, the team was unable to capitalise on the #1 Porsche giving out with just four hours to go – the sole remaining Toyota finished a lowly eighth.

After such a demoralising result, no one would blame one of the world’s largest carmakers for giving up on its dream of winning Le Mans, so it’s good to see Toyota confirming at the end of the video that it would return next year for another shot. Only time will tell if it will finally succeed in its quest to finally become the victor at the world’s most prestigious endurance race.