Toyota; Alonso, Nakajima and Buemi win 24 Hours of Le Mans!

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Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi have led home a dominant Toyota 1-2 victory at the 86th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours ahead of Jose-Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway in the sister #7 Toyota entrant. This victory gives Toyota the honour of becoming only the second Japanese manufacturer to claim victory at Le Mans, Toyota’s first-ever victory at Le Mans and helped Fernando Alonso complete two steps of the famous ‘triple crown of racing’ ahead of rumours of a return attempt at the Indianapolis 500.

As the only works team still involved in LMP1, Toyota led a dominant victory finishing the race 12 laps ahead of Rebellion Racing’s #3 Rebellion R13. The LMP1 privateers mostly fell away during the race, including Jenson Button’s SMP racing entry which unfortunately saw its engine expire in the closing hours. Ultimately of the LMP1 privateers entered, only the two Rebellions ended up in the top 5 positions. The G-Drive racing #26 Oreca 07 driven over the line by Jean Eric Vergne finished top of the LMP2 challengers, whilst in the GT classes, Porsche dominated both Pro and Am classes, despite a huge effort by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing to spoil the Porsche party including a fascinating battle between Frederic Makoweicki and Sebastien Bourdais this morning.

The race prompted several questions around rule makers, decisions and the level of regulation involved in sportscar racing at the moment to be answered later. I don’t think because of the sheer domination of a single manufacturer this will ever be remembered as a classic Le Mans race, however it will be remembered as an extremely special one for  Toyota who have tried and got so close for so many years, not only in the recent programme under the FIA WEC, but also during their previous stint in the 1990s at Le Mans.

Congratulations Toyota

Results

LMP1
1: #8  Toyota Gazoo Racing
2: #7  Toyota Gazoo Racing
3: #3  Rebellion Racing

LMP2
1. #26 G Drive Racing
2. #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut
3. #39 Graff S024

GTE PRO
1. #92 Porsche GT Team
2. #91 Porsche GT Team
3. #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing USA

GTE AM
1. #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR
2  #54 Sprit of Race Ferrari 488
3  #85 Keating Motorsports Ferrari 488

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Tim C
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Tim C

I agree that this was not a classic Le Mans race like we’ve seen in prior years. I’m happy to see Toyota finally win, but I have to believe it has to be somewhat hollow given the lack of any real competition. The win would have been so much more special had they won against the likes of Audi or Porsche. But, as the say, a win is a win. For me, the enjoyment of the race came from the GT battles. I would have liked to see the GT 40s and Corvettes be a little more competitive and push… Read more »

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So, will Toyota take the trophy and the Rolex watches home and pull the plug on the whole program like Mazda did years ago? Since there’s no other manufacturer competing in LMP1 and its replacement won’t arrive until 2020, they could end it all and maybe bring the long-rumored(in the USA) road-going Supra into GT-Pro until then?

Member

I’m so frustrated by the lack of reliability of those n.a LMP1’s, over 100 years of development and they can’t complete a race. A bridge too far with technology “lack of innovation” in my opinion.
Congratulations to Toyota for the flawless performance of their two reliable and ultrafast hybrids.

Ankur
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Ankur

I think its noteworthy to mention the fabulous stint Fernando did during night time that brought back #8 as a contender to victory. That stint was something!

And regarding his bid to win triple crown; not to undermine the difficulty of winning Indy 500 but I think with Fernando’s talent it should not take him 5-6 attempts to win Indy. I think he should already start targeting to win (Ultra?) Triple Crown/Championship…winning WEC and Indy championships. Having all three championship will put him in a league above all and undisputed.