Toyota Gazoo Racing took their second World Endurance Championship win of the 2018 season in the 86th running of the LeMans 24 Hours. The win was the company’s first win of the historic race in their 20th attempt.
The team who returned to endurance racing in 2012 used 35% less fuel in 2018 on their way to the win then they did in the 2012 event.
The No.7 TS050 Hybrid crew were handed one stop go penalty while the No.8 crew were given two over the course of the race which saw Fernando Alonso carry fantastic stints overnight which allowed the crew to take the lead in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Speaking following the race, Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation said:
Finally, we won 24 Hours of Le Mans this year. Of course this is another step towards the next challenge so I would like to ask your continuous support from now on too. Thank you very much. “Thank you for driving all out!” Please let me direct these words to our drivers, who drove our cars for the longest distance at Le Mans, finally in our 20th challenge. At the same time, I would like to say the same to our cars, completing 388 laps, approximately 5,300 km. And “thank you very much for letting us and our drivers drive all out!” I want to say this to all fans who have supported us for a long time, our partners and suppliers who have battled together with us, and all the team members and the people related to our team. I want to express my sincere appreciation to all.
Toyota Gazoo Racing Team President Hisatake Murata commented on the 1-2 finish for the team saying:
I am so proud of everyone in the team for this result. It has been our dream to win Le Mans and finally we have achieved it. Thank you so much to everyone for their incredible hard work, team spirit and never-give-up attitude. To win Le Mans for TOYOTA after so many frustrations and disappointments is a truly magical moment.
The team suffered a fuel issue with the No.7 TS050 Hybrid which saw the car fall two laps down but managed to complete the 1-2. Former IndyCar driver, Mike Conway commented saying:
It was an intense, close fight for a long time; we were all nervous watching on TV. We were all out there to do the best we can without taking big risks. It’s been a long race, lots of things changing. It shows that TOYOTA can build two strong cars and we can race hard. Congratulations to car #8, they had a great week and a great race. Our car fell short but it’s a great team result.
Kamui Kobayashi who finished the race in the No.7 TS050 Hybrid commented on the race saying:
Congratulations to the car #8 crew and the whole team. TOYOTA made a great job to finish the race without any mechanical troubles; just amazing. We wanted to win of course but car #8 was really strong. This is endurance racing so we tried to be safe and to manage the car. In the end both cars finished well. To be second and part of a winning TOYOTA team makes me very happy.
Jose Maria Lopez who was also in the No.7 TS050 Hybrid commented by saying:
I want to congratulate car #8 and the whole team. 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. We had a fair fight between the cars but to be able to bring the trophy back to TOYOTA is fantastic.
The No.8 TS050 Hybrid crew took the overall victory in the race with Kazuki Nakajima crossing the line to win the race and speaking following the grueling race the Japanese driver commented by saying:
It’s great to be here finally; it has been a long time. I am almost speechless. I had great team-mates and TOYOTA gave us a very strong car. We finished the race without any issue on both cars so I feel we all deserved to win the race. To win this race has been a big dream for all of TOYOTA since 1985. There have been many people involved in this project so I am proud to be here to represent all that effort.
Sebastien Buemi who was in the No.8 TS050 Hybrid commented on the race he commented by saying:
This is definitely the biggest win of my career. I struggle to realise it right now because in the last few laps I couldn’t forget 2016. To finally see the car crossing the line was really special. All the preparation that goes into this day from everyone in the team, when you finally win it, it is something really big so I will enjoy this. Congratulations as well to car #7 who did an amazing job as well.
Double Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso has become the second active Grand Prix driver in three years following Nico Hulkenberg 2015 to win the LeMans 24 Hours.
The Spaniard has said that he would like to win motorsports triple crown of the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the LeMan 24 Hours.
Alonso has now won at LeMans and Monaco and now just has the Indianapolis 500 to tick off his list. The Spaniard who is driving in the World Endurance Championship alongside his Formula One commitments with McLaren is now leading the championship having won both the season opening Six Hour of Spa and the LeMans 24 Hours.
Speaking following the win Alonso said:
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. 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. The race was hard because the two cars were very close, within one minute after 23 hours, so it was tough competitive but fair and very sporting. We wanted a one-two and we achieved that so I am very happy.