Triumph and a title for Toyota

Even without the half million or so souls who ordinarily troop to the Sarthe circuit each June, the rescheduled 24 Hours of Le Mans ended this morning when Toyota made it a threepeat in winning the world’s most fabled endurance race for sports cars. Toyota Gazoo Racing swept two of the top three spots in what was the final Le Mans appearance for the all-wheel0-drive TS050 Hybrid running in the LMP1 class. The winning number 8 Toyota was shared by the team of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, who logged more than 5,000 kilometers en route to the victory. Sébastien and Kazuki scored their third straight win in the process, joining only seven other drivers who have won three races in consecutive years, a heritage that dates back to when the 24 Hours first ran in 1923.

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The Le Mans win had an important side benefit: It allowed the Toyota team to amass enough points in the FIA World Endurance Championship to lock down the series’ season team championship for the third time (2014 and 2018-2019), ending up with an unbeatable 57-point margin over Swiss-based Rebellion Racing, which managed to split the podium with one of its Oreca Rebellion R-13s running in LMP1. The Le Mans pole winner, Toyota Gazoo’s number 7 car, suffered exhaust issues during the race but recovered, the lineup of Indianapolis 500 veteran Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López charging in the final hour to place third overall. The WEC drivers title will go down to the series’ final round in Bahrain, set for November 14th.

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