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.
1: #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing
2: #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing
3: #3 Rebellion Racing
1. #26 G Drive Racing
2. #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut
3. #39 Graff S024
1. #92 Porsche GT Team
2. #91 Porsche GT Team
3. #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing USA
1. #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR
2 #54 Sprit of Race Ferrari 488
3 #85 Keating Motorsports Ferrari 488