Fernando Alonso’s Toyota wins Le Mans 24 Hours after dominant display
Toyota Gazoo Racing secured a dominant one-two at the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours on Sunday.
The Toyotas controlled the race almost from the very off, with the Number Eight car – driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso – looking the likely winners from the moment they overtook their Toyota team-mates just after 6am on Sunday morning.
The 2018 edition is the first time that double Formula One world champion Alonso has competed in Le Mans. And Alonso's chances of Le Mans success had appeared to fade with 14 hours to go when the #8 Toyota dropped two minutes behind when Buemi collected a stop-go just after midnight.
But the Spaniard put in a remarkable stint during the night to reduce the deficit before Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima did their bit to take back control of the race.
"Tell me if you want another stint, eh? I've got into the rhythm of the night," Alonso had said over the team radio as he closed the gap.
Instead, he handed over to Nakajima, who then passed fellow-Japanese Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota for the lead.
The Toyota, emblazoned with the #8 logo, never looked back, and the celebrations were memorable as the iconic black-red-and-white car took the chequered flag.
Toyota's triumph comes at the 20th attempt for the manufacturer, who become the second Japanese company to have won the world's most famous endurance race - following in the footsteps of Mazda in 1991.
A Toyota victory had been widely predicted after last year's champions Porsche withdrew from the 2018 edition.