Fernando Alonso wins Le Mans 24 with Toyota

BMW M8 GTE Le Mans 21 830x553

TOYOTA scored an emphatic one-two in the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours with its pair of 1,000hp TS050 Hybrids, finally putting to bed the company's years of disappointment in the world's most famous race.

Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso won the 24 Hours Le Mans on his debut in the classic endurance race on Sunday to move closer to motorsport's unofficial Triple Crown. The 36-year-old has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice.

The talents of Jean-Eric Vergne though provided the real punch that saw the early advantage for the team defended with most vigour, put simply this was a race that the team, and all three drivers deserved to win.

It was not a cruise from pole-to-victory for auto number 8, as the trio consisting of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez in vehicle number 7 actually led for long periods of the race. When Alonso took the wheel, he helped the No. 8 vehicle erase the deficit before Nakajima finally grabbed the lead in the 16th hour and was never threatened from there.

It was the No. 8 auto of Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima, and Sébastien Buemi that took the checkered flag.

Over the weekend Toyota's high-performance division announced production of a "Super Sports Car" for the upcoming Hypercar class in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), with a hybrid powerplant and an eye-watering horsepower output.

Before flagging the 60 cars to start racing, Nadal did a pre-lap of the 13,626-meter La Sarthe circuit in a vehicle driven by Austria's Alex Wurz.

"It's a shame the 24 Hours of Le Mans only happens once a year", Alonso said after winning. It turned out the auto had failed to come in for a fuel stop and so driver Kamui Kabayashi was ordered to lift off and nurse the vehicle back for more petrol on the following lap.

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Rebellion was the best of the rest of the field completed the outright podium with their privateer LMP1 entry of Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes twelve laps behind the lead Toyota.

Fernando Alonso was clearly in the mood for racing at Le Mans, even offering to continue his night driving stint to his team saying he has the 'rhythm of the night'.

His vehicle was out of contention early on after spending two hours in the pits with an engine problem.

In an era when modern drivers tend to specialise in one category, such is the demand of the individual championships, that it would be a remarkable achievement for Alonso.

But Toyota insisted that the two cars went into the race with equal chances of winning.

His auto went in to Le Mans as strong favourite and the classic event has now been ticked off in clinical style.

"I would not predict that he stops in F1, but he'll definitely be back at the Indy 500".

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