Latino Traffic Report has learned that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, including Fernando Alonso, won the eighty-sixth Le Mans 24 Hours, taking an historic first victory at its twentieth attempt.
Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Alonso in the #8 TS050 HYBRID started from pole position and took the chequered flag after 388 tense and often dramatic laps at the Circuit de La Sarthe to extend their lead in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, who led for long periods in the #7 TS050 HYBRID, made it a perfect result for TOYOTA with second place in front of 256,900 fans.
“It has been amazing. We know how important and iconic Le Mans is in the world of motorsport and as a team we achieved an amazing result,” said Alonso. “Every moment was a reminder of how tough and long this race is, anything can happen so we tried to execute our race and stay calm. Happily everything worked well. We wanted a one-two and we achieved that so I am very happy.”
TOYOTA, which had entered 47 cars at Le Mans prior to this weekend’s race and finished on the podium six times, becomes only the second Japanese manufacturer to win at La Sarthe.
The result is a culmination of intense and determined efforts by TOYOTA GAZOO Racing colleagues from Higashi-Fuji and Cologne to continually enhance its hybrid-electric technology, which won this weekend’s race using 35 percent less fuel than in 2012, when it returned to endurance racing.
“I want to congratulate car #8 and the whole team,” said López. “I am really proud of my #7 team, and Kamui and Mike; we gave it our all. We are here as six drivers but there are so many people behind us, working so hard. This is a big achievement for TOYOTA and that was the main target this week.”
The two TS050 HYBRIDs were evenly matched throughout the 5,286km and swapped places several times during a race which featured its share of drama for the leaders.
After a nine-week break, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will return to action on 17-19 August with the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the third round of the 2018-19 WEC season.