Toyota have scored an unprecedented set of results at a particularly grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans, taking a one-two finish on Formula 1 star Fernando Alonso’s Le Mans debut.
Toyota finally did it. They beat Le Mans to become the second Japanese manufacturer to win the classic endurance race. Toyota locked the front-row in qualifying and were clear favorites for victory as the only major manufacturer entered in the top LMP1 category. However, the absence of factory opposition did not mean that there was no shortage of thrills during the race: Toyota’s two entries were evenly matched for much of the 24 hours. A spin for Lopez at the Dunlop chicane with a little over three hours to go and an error by teammate Kobayashi in the penultimate hour made the difference. Nakajima, behind the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, crossed the finish line with two laps in hand over Kobayashi, earning Toyota its first-ever outright Le Mans victory after a host of recent near-misses, most famously in 2016.
In other news, Fernando Alonso completed the second leg of his quest to win the ‘Triple Crown’ of Monaco GP, Le Mans, and Indianapolis 500. The Spaniard, who will turn 37 next month, is chasing a feat that was only achieved almost 50 years ago by Graham Hill. By winning Le Mans, Alonso joined an elite group of just seven drivers who have ever won two or more legs of the ‘Triple Crown’.