The Toyota Gazoo Racing crew of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid – Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima – have triumphed at the 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Race winners in 2018, the three are now also world champions. Toyota, already sure of the manufacturer’s title, cornered all the prizes with a one-two finish in the 24-hour classic, the Super Finale of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The 252,500-strong crowd witnessed a historic race, this year being the first time that the 24 Hours of Le Mans doubled as the final of the championship. The special 8-round Super Season spanned two calendar years and included the 24 Hours of Le Mans both years. Two was the magic number today. Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima have now enjoyed two 24 Hours of Le Mans victories. By winning in both 2018 and 2019, the crew are the deserved FIA WEC champions. For two-time world Formula One champion Fernando Alonso, this is an FIA world title in a second discipline.
Two is also the number of TS050 Hybrids on the top two steps of the podium in this, the 87th running of the race. The Japanese manufacturer takes home two world titles, LMP1 and drivers.
Kazuki Nakajima crossed the finish line as winner for the second year running. The #7 sister car, in the lead for much of the race, suffered a puncture with an hour to go, a setback that condemned them to second place.
“It was a cruel race for the #7”, declared Rob Leupen, Toyota Gazoo Racing Director of Operations.
SMP Racing’s #11 BR Engineering BR1 - AER took third place in the hands of Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin and Le Mans rookie Stoffel Vandoorne. Fernando Alonso’s former teammate at McLaren was a happy man!
In LMP2, it was also a double for French team Signatech Alpine Matmut, whose #36 crew Nicolas Lapierre, André Negrao and Pierre Thiriet took a Le Mans class win and both the driver and team trophies: a golden season for the tricolour team.
In LMGTE Pro, the AF Corse #51 Ferrari 488 crewed by Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra win the day in a class highly prized by manufacturers. What better way for Ferrari to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Italian marque’s first win at Le Mans? Porsche had already clinched the world title in the last round at Spa, and drivers Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre made it a double whammy by taking the drivers title.
In LMGTE Am, the Keating Motorsports #85 Ford GT crewed by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga won the class while second-placed Team Project 1 go home with the championship trophy.
Of the 61 cars unleashed by H.S.H.Charlene, Princess of Monaco at 15:00 yesterday, 49 crossed the finish line.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest : The 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans was one of a kind; the first to produce both winners and champions. It was a superb conclusion to the Super Finale of the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship. My wholehearted congratulations to all! All the participants are now part of this discipline’s unrivalled heritage. A special mention for Sébastien Buemi, Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima. Fernando has opted to explore pastures new. I thank him for his contribution to our discipline and wish him well in his future endeavours.
It was an extraordinary race, a historic final that marks the end of a very important week for the future of endurance racing. The new top tier, the Hypercar class, will be introduced in 2020 and two major manufacturers have already announced their intention to field entries. This Saturday, shortly before the start, we were treated to a demonstration of a hydrogen electric prototype, the cars that spell the future of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Watch out for them in 2024!
Many, many thanks to the spectators, competitors, volunteers and staff of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the World Endurance Championship, to whom we owe the success and the far-reaching influence of this race. I look forward to welcoming everyone to the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans, final of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship on 13 and 14 June 2020.