Toyota Finally Wins At Le Mans, Fernando Alonso Draws One Step Closer To Triple Crown
It was a historic day for the race winnersby Kirby, on
After knocking on the door multiple times in the past few years, Toyota finally broke through, winning its first-ever Le Mans title in dominant fashion. The winning #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid beat its sister car, the #7 TS050, on the back of its trio of drivers, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Buemi, and Kabuki Nakajima. The Le Mans win was the first for two-time F1 champ Alonso, who took a big step in becoming only the second racer in history to achieve the “motor racing triple crown.”
The suspense was far and fleeting at the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours as both Toyotas dominated the race from start to finish. The absence of Porsche’s LMP1 outfit probably played a huge role in it, but the absence of meaningful competition meant that Toyota had a clear run at its maiden Le Mans win. The two TS050 Hybrid’s paced the field, finishing the race with at least ten laps on the nearest finisher, third placer Rebellion, which finished the race 12 laps down in the R-13 Gibson.
The race for the title boiled down to the two Toyotas as the #8 car driven by Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Buemi, and Kabuki Nakajima, finished the race two laps ahead of the #7 car driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez. The win not only marked Toyota’s first-ever win at Le Mans, but it also exorcised a lot of demons for the Japanese automaker, whose near-misses in the race have become the stuff of tears and heartbreak.
The win was also important for Fernando Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion who still races in F1 for McLaren. Not only was this win his first at Le Mans, but it also puts him within one race of becoming only the second racer to win motor racing’s version of the Triple Crown. He’s already won the Monaco Grand Prix and the Le Mans 24 Hours. All he has to do is win the Indianapolis 500, and he’ll join British racer Graham Hill as the only two drivers in history to achieve that distinction.
It’s going to be easier said than done for Alonso, who competed at the 2017 Indy 500 but finished 29th overall. Not a lot of racers have attempted to win the three most prestigious races in the world — only 19 drivers have ever tried it — and of those who have, only Hill was able to get it down. Expect Alonso to try to do the same, especially after admitting that the thought of becoming only the second Triple Crown winner became a lot more tempting after his win at Le Mans.
"The Indy 500 is part of the Triple Crown, and it’s really a very important goal,” Alonso said. “It’s attractive trying to conquer it and see if you can be an even better and more complete driver."
Even if he doesn’t end up winning the Indy 500, Alonso became the sixth driver in history to win the Monaco-Le Mans double, joining the likes of Tazio Nuvolari, Maurice Trintignant, Bruce McLaren, Jochen Rindt, and Graham Hill.
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Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1.
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