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Toyota still assessing power loss; company president vows to fight on

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Two days after its cruel and heartbreaking loss in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota is still assessing the cause of what cost it to lose power on its No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid that was poised to take the victory.

In a statement released to media out on Tuesday, Toyota explained the ongoing diagnosis: “We suffered a sudden loss of power. We are ‎still investigating the precise root cause for an issue which we have never experienced previously. A full update will be issued in due course.

“At this time we would like to express our deep appreciation for all the messages of support which we have received in the past days, from fans, colleagues and friends. We will return to Le Mans in 2017 stronger thanks to that support and encouragement.”

The statement comes following words of encouragement from Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda on Monday, who said the manufacturer will fight on following this defeat.

“We do not compete without knowing the feeling of loss. Having tasted the true bitterness of losing, we will return to the World Endurance Championship arena next year, and we will return to compete in the battle that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” Toyoda said in the statement.

“For our quest to build ever-better cars… For this, we will certainly come back to the roads of Le Mans. I would like to express my gratitude to all of the cars and drivers who fought alongside us on the track at Le Mans; particularly Porsche and Audi. We will be back next year, reborn, and ready to take you on with all of our might.

Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew ready for IndyCar ride

Road to Indy
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Provisional Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew has done nothing but dominate the 2019 season, winning seven of the 16 races run so far and finishing on the podium in all but two of those events.

Now all the 22-year-old Floridian needs to do to formally clinch the 2019 title is simply start the final two races of the season, both of which will be held this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

For Askew, his maiden Indy Lights season will likely be one he’ll never forget. 

“It’s been a dream come true,” Askew told NBC Sports. “Being with the championship-winning team from last year, we had a really good shot at winning it again for Andretti Autosport. It’s very rare that we show up to a track and struggle to find speed. 

“That’s a fantastic feeling, especially as a driver. That gave me a lot of confidence and hopes of holding the million dollar check at the end of the year. That was the goal going into it.”

This weekend, Askew will accomplish said goal. The championship will not only bring him a sense of pride, but also the opportunity of a lifetime. 

As an award for being crowned the Indy Lights champion, Askew will be awarded a scholarship that guarantees him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events next year – including the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Time will only tell which team Askew will race for in IndyCar next season, and whether or not Askew’s rookie campaign will be a full-time or part-time affair, but Askew’s performance during the last few seasons in the Road to Indy system has certainly drawn attention of IndyCar’s top team owners.

In August, Askew had the chance to drive an Indy car for the first time in his career during a test session at Portland International Raceway, driving the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda usually piloted by Scott Dixon.

“It was an opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing that I was very fortunate to have,” Askew said. “I think with my experience in the past couple of years with Cape Motorsports and this year with Andretti Autosport, going into that test was very helpful.

“Going into the test, it was more of trying to treat it as just another day at the racetrack, when it really wasn’t. It was a fantastic opportunity for me – a great experience – and I hope I can take that into my rookie season next year in IndyCar.” 

The final two races of the 2019 Indy Lights season will take place this weekend on Saturday, September 21 at 6 p.m. ET and Sunday, September 22 at 12:05 p.m. ET. Both races will air live on NBC Sports Gold.

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