Toyota, Le Mans, 2018

Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima win as Toyota finally conquer Le Mans

World Endurance Championship

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Toyota has finally scored its first victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours after dominating the 86th running of the event at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The number eight TS050 of aFernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima led the sister car of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez home by more than two laps.

Toyota, the only manufacturer left in the top LMP1 category, cruised to a widely-expected victory in which it never needed to run its cars to the maximum. As pre-race testing suggested its closest rivals were Rebellion’s two R-13s but the closest of these finished a dozen laps in arrears.

Rebellion’s promising line-up of Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Bruno Senna was delayed by a first-corner clash with one of the Toyotas. But their performance deficit of almost two-and-a-half seconds per lap ruled them completely out of contention. The sister car of Thomas Laurent, Mathias Beche and Gustavo Menezes claimed the final podium spot.

The LMP2 class-winning G-Drive machine of Jean-Eric Vergne, Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov came in fifth overall. The next 11 places were filled by LMP2 cars as a variety of problem wiped out Toyota’s token LMP1 opposition. These included the SMP car belonging to Jenson Button, Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin.

Last year’s outright winners Porsche refocused its efforts on GTE Pro after quitting LMP1 and was rewarded with victory for the 911 RSR of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor. The Stuttgart manufacturer claimed a one-two for its heritage liveried cars: the ‘pink pig’ led home a Rothmans-aping 911 driven by Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki.

The GTE-Am class was won by another Porsche: the Dempsey Proton 911 RSR piloted by Matt Campbell, Julien Andlauer and Christian Reid.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 168 comments on “Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima win as Toyota finally conquer Le Mans”

    1. Finally the curse is broken.

      1. funny how a car wins when there is no other car in its class…..

        1. Invisiblekid
          17th June 2018, 19:09

          Er it’s Le Mans, that is no reason for them to be guaranteed a win. 2017 should be firmly in your mind

          1. Alex McFarlane
            17th June 2018, 19:34

            Indeed, endurance racing is as much as beating the clock as beating the opponent.

            After Porsche announced they were leaving, Toyota seriously considered following suit knowing they wouldn’t be tested against top level opposition, but I think they owed this one to themselves after so many near misses. They have proved in previous years, and last year especially, that they can compete with best, but luck can be a cruel mistress.

          2. Well if you have no competitor then you can run the car with much more safety margin.

            1. Exactly. Can it really be called “conquering” when there’s no competition?

            2. 2 @patrickl
              See the number of laps they completed. So, yeah, they didn’t break the record, but they weren’t too slow either.

            3. Audi weren’t exactly challenged by manufacturers in some of their early/mid 2000’s wins. Thank goodness for the likes of Pescarolo and Rebellion for keeping the big boys honest over the years…

          3. Invisiblekid
            18th June 2018, 9:05

            @SaraJ Well conquer does not necessary mean win against competition.

        2. According to your statement it should also be funny a Mercedes F1 wins when there is no other car in its class…. but… ejem… there were other cars in the LMP1 the same way there are other cars in F1.

          1. @okif1 If Mercedes was only driving against privateer teams you would have had a point. They weren’t so you don’t.

            Mercedes was outperforming Ferrari and Red Bull on a similar budget (especially if you take the power train part of the budget out). They all had the same chances, but Mercedes was simply better.

            Just like when Audi was winning Le Mans (almost) every year, but at least they were fighting an actual competitor. Like Peugeot, Toyota and Porsche.

            1. jamesluke2488
              17th June 2018, 20:48

              This is incorrect there was only Audi present between 2004 to 2006 with privateers making up the numbers , equally in 2003 there was just Bentley as the Vw group pulled support for Audi that year

            2. And Audi didn’t exactly have to push hard in 2000-2.

            3. Same can be said of Hamilton’s titles that were won in 2-car battles. Red Bull is a privateer too.. and they, McLaren and Williams are fine examples of what privateers can achieve in racing.

              Just like Mercedes in the last 4 years, Toyota did a great job.

            4. @patrickl

              If Mercedes was only driving against privateer teams you would have had a point. They weren’t so you don’t.

              How are whether teams Grandee determine their class instead of their….actual class? What do you make of the years (e.g. in F1) actually won by privateers (Lotus, Red Bull, Brawn, MRD, etc)?

              Was it fair that the Cooper T51, an MR car, so easily dominated against a sea of FR competition? Were they even in the same class?

            5. jamesluke2488 , in 2005 Pescarolo was actually faster than Audi. But yes for 2 of those 20 years they had no competition.

              @spafrancorchamps, Red Bull has the same budget as Ferrari and Mercedes.

              Toyota did a horribly poor job really. Pretty much similar to what they did in F1. They have been trying (and losing) for 7 years and only won this year because all the competition had left.

              @davidnotcoulthard It’s about the budget. You can’t expect a 150million team to beat a 400million team, but with 3 teams in the 400million categaory, they should be able to compete.

            6. @patrickl, for six straight years (2000 to 2006), Audi was the only manufacturer that entered into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, leaving them to compete against privateer entrants (the Bentley Speed 8 doesn’t count given that was basically an Audi R8 with slightly different bodywork).

              It’s widely said that Audi basically bribed Porsche to withdraw their planned 9R3 LMP1 car, which would have otherwise raced from 2000 onwards, by promising to give them the chassis that formed Porsche’s Cayenne in return for Porsche withdrawing from the LMP1 class until 2010. http://www.mulsannescorner.com/porschelmp1.html

              Furthermore, there is the accusation that, when Audi wanted to introduce their first diesel LMP1 car, the R10, the ACO intentionally skewed the regulations in their favour. That is especially the case when, barely two weeks after Audi revealed that the R10 was overweight and only a couple of weeks before the first race of the season, the ACO suddenly increased the minimum weight requirements for all LMP1 class cars to the same weight as the R10 – a move that even Audi was publicly admitted favoured them.

            7. Ah great an anon poster with wild rumours and accusations.

              None of which even remotely negate that Toytota was driving this race without actual competition

              When you insist on opening that can of worms, how about the facts that Toyota was helped tremendously by the current regulations? So they had no competition to start with and then still the rules were tweaked in their favor.

        3. There were plenty of LMP1s, just no hybrids because VW got busted.

          1. jamesluke2488
            18th June 2018, 20:18

            Patrickl you refer to Pescerolo as been faster than Audi great but they were an independant team just like Rebellion! Your statment was still npt fact!

            In fact the Audi years from 2000 to 2006 are a direct copy of what we are getting now the Toyota years.

            But the fact is Toyota should have won 2 years ago when both Audi and Porche were around but very bad luck cost them.

    2. Congrats to Toyota and to the drivers

    3. A well-deserved win. Alonso was good during all his stints, especially when he needed to reduce the gap from 2:18 to 0:40 to the second car at night.
      Congrats.

      1. Yeah, he earned his win.

        Good now Indy.

        1. Mickey's Miniature Grandpa
          17th June 2018, 18:48

          Every bit as much as Schumacher earned his 2005 US GP win.

          1. 1. It wasn’t Toyota’s fault that Audi and Porsche pulled out of the WEC.
            2. It wasn’t Schumacher’s fault that Michelin produced shoddy tyres that couldn’t cope with the Indianapolis banking.

            Both wins count.

            Fair play to Toyota for spending the money to continue in the sport and also convincing Alonso to race. If they pulled out they would’ve have been ridiculed. If they stay in people say it’s too easy for them. So they are in a lose lose situation.

          2. You need to become more interesting….

      2. Hollow victory with no one to compete against, l wonder how FA really feels about it. the Ford and Porsche battle was entertaining.

      3. On to IndyCar for a chance to win the biggest race in the word (the 500) and a chance to with The Triple Crown!

    4. Cudos to Velocity TV, I believe it’s the first time (in many years ?) the race was on for 24 hours (other than commercials) uninterrupted.
      Pretty darn good coverage from the Eurosports chaps IMIO.
      @Nice to see a happy FA :)

      1. Agreed.
        That was the most entertaining commentary in any motorsport … thoroughly enjoyed that & it added value to the racing.
        F1 – & especially SkyF1 – can learn from that example.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        18th June 2018, 3:37

        Indeed! I also liked the coach commentary with Tom Kristensen.

    5. Was the outcome ever in doubt?

      1. Yes, the other Toyota could have won. Sorry to state the obvious. Sure it was going to be one of them (like F1 Mercedes in 2014 and 2015), but the car with Alonso in it won.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        18th June 2018, 3:39

        There’s also the possibility that neither Toyota would have finished or could have finished behind other LMP1 cars. When you are dealing with a 24 hour race that runs in the dark at night and so much traffic, anything can happen.

        If any race victory ever counted, I suspect it would have to be at LeMans.

        1. It was never a possibility the toyotas would finish behind the lmp1s. Fia or aco made everything to make sure toyota has upper hand. Longer stints, shorter stops. Only way for the other lmp1s to in was for both toyotas to crash. It was a total joke imho to have 2 cars and have it decided before the race that those 2 must win.

    6. ^In the USA.

    7. That stint at night from Alonso was very impressive. Now only the Indy 500 left…
      On a side note though, has any driver ever won an F1 title and the WEC title?

      1. No idea but that would be much more impressive then a 24h LeMans. If Toyota had screwed up this time, they better stop competing at all. The only factory team in LMP1 and this was more like Mercedes in F1 competing only with Haas, so without Red Bull, Ferrari etc. Not winning that race would have been a real effort. And of course they put the 8 in front. That was determined even before the start.

        1. And of course they put the 8 in front.

          The only way they put the 8 in front is by giving it the best driver line up.
          Especially Nakajima & Alonso deserved it squarely.

        2. @dutch-1

          You should have read the race updates and reports or listened to the commentaries after you woke up in the morning.

          1. ???? I watched the race during the night until 04:00 but I don’t know what you mean. But I guess you think marketing has nothing to do with the outcome of this race and it’s all “real” sport. Ofcourse Alonso had to be the winner, that is a story they want to sell and with only one other Toyota as competition they could make that happen. Like in Spa where they even had to switch positions to put him in front……….

      2. No F1 champion has won the WEC – Webber came the closest, winning the WEC championship in 2015, having narrowly missed the F1 title in 2010.

        It should be noted that the WEC was only formed in 2012, but even looking further back to when the World Sportscar championship was around, no F1 champion won the title.

        1. Stirling Moss was a pretty good sports car peddler but narrowly missed out on the F1 Championship.

      3. @mashiat, the problem is that sportscar racing didn’t really have an equivalent to the WEC until comparatively recently. I’m not sure if the World Championship for Sports Cars, which ran from the 1950’s to 1960’s, or the World Sportscar Championship, which was a forerunner of the WEC from the mid 1960’s to early 1980’s, even had a drivers title until the late 1970’s, or possibly even the early 1980’s (before that, only the constructors could win a title in the International Championship for Makes).

        By the time that the European Endurance Championship, which was the successor to the WSC, arrived, most drivers tended to concentrate on just one series and specialised in that alone. Furthermore, Bellof’s death whilst racing in Spa started to make team managers much more nervous about loaning F1 drivers to another series.

        After the collapse of the Group C class in the early 1990’s, there wasn’t really an equivalent top level championship for an extended period of time – you had a series of individual regional championships, such as the American or European Le Mans series, but there wasn’t an overarching World Championship status series until the Intercontinental Le Mans Series was created in 2010 (which then became the current World Endurance Championship).

        If there had been a drivers title in sportscar racing at the time, then Mario Andretti might have been one example – he was part of Ferrari’s team when they won the title in 1972. Outside of that, one of the other major historic sportscar racing championships of the time was Can-Am, even if it was just a national level event. John Surtees, Denny Hulme and Alan Jones were all drivers who won an F1 title and the Can-Am title, but that is not quite the same given it was a national championship.

        1. Now that was informative.

      4. Only Hulkenberg could achieve it in the future

        1. Hulkenberg, exceptionally unlucky. After all those years in F1 he hasn’t step on the podium yet. I can’t imagine him matching Alonso’s achievements.

          1. Maybe if Hulkenberg goes to McLaren and Alonso leaves. McLaren and Ferrari improved by quite a bit after Alonso left.

            Hulkenberg is performing better with his Renault engined car than Alonso does.

            1. @patrickl

              Where’s the report button? @keithcollantine
              Troll, setting a bad tone on racefans.net with unhinged driver bashing.

            2. @bigjoe Yes you truly are one. Good of you to admit it.

      5. Jackie Ickx was probably closest, having won the WEC equivalent and being F1 runner-up twice. Had a drivers championship existed earlier, Moss would have probably won that and he was F1 runner-up four times.

    8. Incredible drive by all drivers in the #8.
      Alonso’s night stints were amazing – no mistakes and got them back into the race by taking 1:40 seconds out of #7 after Buemi was penalized for speeding in a slow zone.
      It’s good to see him smiling.
      Hope he bids farewell to the F1 circus and goes Indy so he can actually race again!!

    9. Thanks for letting him race WEC Zak Brown – it is a brilliant move!

    10. GtisBetter (@)
      17th June 2018, 14:57

      Gratz Toyota! Finally. They did everything right. Also, there are some silly rules now in WEC.

    11. Toyota, the only manufacturer left in the top LMP1 category, cruised to a widely-expected victory in which it never needed to run its cars to the maximum.

      It didn’t look as though they were cruising, to be honest. In fact, they seemed to push pretty hard all race long, up to the point when Kobayashi made the race-deciding mistake. Quite a few mistakes, such as running wide or a half-spin by López, that didn’t really look all too cruise-y, were caught by the cameras. And as for not needing to run the cars to the maximum: Well, maybe. But then again, it didn’t look like that, with fastest laps that were a second quicker than in 2017, and stints like Alonso’s in the night, when he kept lapping in the 3:20s for hours in a row.
      Yes, they didn’t have any real competition, but no, they didn’t cruise to victory.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        17th June 2018, 15:43

        They did, which was basically all that we could ask them to do. Even with the new circuit lay-out, the distance driven was good.

        1. @passingisoverrated, they were going pretty hard at it in the opening stages of the race, where they were ahead of the average lap times required to set a new lap total record. As it was, despite the safety car periods, they still managed to set the third highest lap total over the past decade, suggesting that they weren’t holding much back during the race.

      2. I do not fully agree. It was clear that this year Toyota had to do something after the last 3 years but remember what happened last year to them. It is true Toyota was fighting only against Le Mans race, but not against other challengers. Nonetheless it is remarkable the good driving of Alonso and Nakajima. Buemi was average, but Alonso was always running in “sprint mode” reducing about 3 seconds per turn wich is not common driving for WEC drivers. It is refreshing seeing old school F1 driving style in current WEC races.
        Alonso deserved this victory and Nakajima needed it after 2016. Contrats to the team, but specially to the drivers.

    12. What was it Alonso said about deserving tiles&wins? Pretty easy le Mans pick up for him.

      1. No Le Mans win is easy…

        1. Sush meerkat
          17th June 2018, 17:00

          @me4me

          Pretty easy le Mans pick up for him.

          LOL

          @Hugh11

          No Le Mans win is easy…

          I concur, it’s easier to French kiss a cobra than win Le Mans

        2. Correct.

      2. Easy for whom? For you to drop that word?

    13. Top stuff by Alonso. He’s really proving his mettle in the WEC, and it was particularly exciting to see him reel him Lopez in the first stint and the progress he made after the safety car restart today morning. Well deserved, and he droved like a seasoned WEC driver.

      1. Drove*. Ugh.

      2. U mean, second stint?

    14. Peter Gareth
      17th June 2018, 15:05

      it was a good race although i thought the tv coverage was abysmal.

      the commentary on eurosport was dreadful, carlton kirby is cringe-worthy & has been for well over a decade so i can’t understand why he continues to be used. Same with Mark Cole, For someone that’s been doing this for as long as he has it’s ridiculous that he continues to misidentify corners & get as much wrong as he does.

      there poor coverage & atrocious choice of commentators is a big reason why i avoid that channel as much as possible in terms of motorsport now. tit is absurd that they keep forcing us to listen to there own terrible commentary teams when some of the series they show produce there own, much better commentary (WEC & Formula E in particular).

      Dreadful, Simply dreadful.

      1. I streamed radiolemans.co on youtube with another miscellaneous youtube stream doing footage with no audio. It was all very entertaining watching this way. No breaks, good knowledgeable commentary where they were free to be frank about the flaws with the product.

        If only F1 was so easily accessible :X

      2. Invisiblekid
        17th June 2018, 19:15

        Liked it being on for more or less 24hrs, but the the commentary guys seem to get stupider each year with no clues on the rules, which granted some are very silly this year.

        I mean come on, asking if the teams can do anything to the car for a stop and go penalty!?

      3. Alex McFarlane
        17th June 2018, 19:54

        By contrast, although they’re not perfect I have enjoyed their non-pretentious punditry the last couple of years.

        Sometimes commentators can get overtaken by their own sense of self-importance, which I find more of a turn-off.

      4. My favorite was when they were doing Q&A on Twitter, someone asked if Corvette Racing still use OHV engines, their answer was “Duh, I don’t know…”
        I mean seriously, if you are that uninformed you should not be hosting the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    15. EoT completely failed. Non-hybrid LMP1s were supposed to be 0,5% slower, so about 1 lap down at the end of the race.
      Both Toyota made many mistakes (2 penalties, the #7 not stopping for fuel and running half a lap at 80kph, Lopez spinning) and yet finished 10 laps in front of the cloest LMP1. What a joke.
      Anyway sorry to complain, the battle in GT was awesome.

    16. Peter Gareth – the point you made about the commentary is absolutely true. Since no channel in my country telecasts the race live, I was watching streams off the internet and had them synced to Radio Le Mans commentary, who did a solid, solid job of explaining stuff (especially considering the fact that this was only the second ever Le Mans I’d watched).

      1. I’m from India too, and I was doing the same. But I had paid for the Le Mans package on the WEC site but I didn’t find any streaming. Was gutted. And from then I was grabbing streams from here and there. The streams were being taken down by the ACO in between, so I had to resort to onboard streams from Ford and Rebellion with the Radio Le Mans commentary on Day 2. But fortunately I could watch the livestreaming of the final hours with Alonso’s celebrations. I wanted to watch that – never saw Alonso celebrate so spontaneously since his Valencia GP win in 2012!

        The official broadcast had Martin Haven and Karun Chandhok commenting. Chandhok is the Alonso of commentating and I wanted to hear his inputs. Too bad – Indians can’t hear an Indian commentator. Hope some sports channel – Sony networks, Neo, someone gives us Le Mans coverage next year.

        Btw, I’m watching Pikes Peak on June 30th. I’ve signed up for their live streaming and can’t wait to watch!

    17. The WEC badly needed a decent customer programme. Even a year old privateer 919 or R18 would have provided decent opposition to Toyota rather than the ‘LMP1-B’ cars they were up against.

      GTE-Pro is always entertaining though.

      1. The problem is that both Porsche and Audi killed off their customer programmes years ago – I believe that Colin Kolles said that Dr Ullrich, the head of Audi’s motorsports division at the time, that the VW Group had decided that it would not allow any customers to beat the factory team, even if they were still winning the race with one of their cars, and therefore they just refused to sell any more cars to customers (even the ones that they did briefly sell to Kolles was sabotaged by having all of the electrical systems stripped out, which was done solely to make it almost impossible for Kolles to beat the factory teams).

        1. Andrew in Atlanta
          17th June 2018, 20:23

          Kolles was shown to be full of hot air after that fiasco with the R10s. It’s a matter of the cars being more advanced and requiring a well trained crew that not being available so they wouldn’t lose. Joest had been asked and said the only reason they could have run a private entry was their experience running the cars, for a new team it would be impossible

    18. Duncan Snowden
      17th June 2018, 15:25

      Le Mans is always entertaining, and with Toyota’s record nobody can say they only had to turn up. If anyone ever deserved it, it’s them. But let’s be honest here: if that had been an F1 race, the usual suspects would be all over this place telling us how much sleep they got in. And the new fuel regs are idiotic. Bonus points to Google for pulling Rebellion’s live feed off YouTube at 5am for unspecified “policy violations”, too.

      But I don’t want to sound churlish. We’ve been spoilt in recent years with some absolute edge-of-the-seat nailbiters. They can’t all be like that. Well done, Toyota, G-Drive, the pink pig guys, and Dempsey-Proton. There should be prizes just for finishing this madness, let alone finishing first.

      (Nerd fact: Le Mans is the historic capital of the province of Maine. The winning Toyota drove a distance almost equivalent, as the crow flies, from the circuit to Portland, the capital of the US state of Maine. Seriously, another lap or two would have done it.)

    19. Who invented the so-called “Triple Crown” and when?

      In his lifetime, was Graham Hill ever called the holder of the “Triple Crown”?

      1. Alonso, in a quest for glory… When he realised he has little chance at further F1 drivers championships.

      2. James Coulee
        17th June 2018, 19:27

        He mentioned it himself (though in his view, the F1 slice of the Crown was the World Championship and not the Monaco GP).

        1. James Coulee
          17th June 2018, 19:28

          (I mean Graham Hill himself, of course.)

    20. So who’s going to take ALO seat in F1 next year so he can go full time Indy?

        1. If anything, he’ll stay in F1 now and just do the Indy 500, if he’s got a sniff of a third F1 title, he won’t budge.

          1. Not with MCL he hasn’t. And no spots open in the top 6 cars…

          2. I’d argue that potentially winning an IndyCar title would be a bigger deal than a 3rd F1 championship. That and he would have a good chance stateside, which he’s unlikely to get in F1 anytime soon.

            1. I agree. He shouldn’t he even care about F1 anymore. The last 7 or 8 titles in F1 were won more because of the car than the driver.

              Now that he got a taste of racing and not being a backmarker in a procession, I hope he either goes to Indy or even Formula E.

              He won his 2 tiles against Schuey at a young age – he’s proved he’s one of the best of all time in F1.

            2. A title against raikkonen with a faster car that couldn’t finish races, another against a past peak schumacher, by all means, his seasons were good, very few mistakes, but he was advantaged in both cases by circumstances. I think he later on proved to be one of the top 10 in f1, during seasons where he challenged for the title to the last race with a very slow ferrari compared to red bull.

            3. @esploratore

              another against a past peak schumacher, by all means, his seasons were good, very few mistakes, but he was advantaged in both cases by circumstances

              Past peak Schumacher? MS performed in the second half of 2006 exactly how he always did with the superior car. In fact he probably made less errors and finally stopped cracking under pressure in 2006.

    21. FlyingLobster27
      17th June 2018, 15:35

      Good on Toyota, they could have had a distance record if there had been just one less Safety Car period. They came well-prepared, but ultimately Le Mans threw nothing untoward at them – “Le Mans lets you win”, Alex Wurz once said, and boy did it this time…
      Overall, the race promised little and delivered accordingly. By 24-hour race standards, it was poor, professional and apathetic. It’ll probably be remembered as “the one Toyota and that bloke who wanted the Triple Crown won”, and nothing more. Pity, because Toyota’s first triumph after 30 years of hurt deserved something more epic.

    22. Worst Le Mans race I’ve watched. Good GT and LMP2 battles at the start at least, but they’d both petered out by morning. LMP1 was a joke.

      1. We may have been watching at different times?

        The half-hour+ wheel-to-wheel nose-to-bumper Porche/Ford battle for second in GT Pro at about the 20 hour mark was some of the best edge-of-seat racing I have enjoyed in a very long time.

        1. Yeah I must have missed that, when I went to bed and when I got up the Porsches were out on their own so assumed it had always been that way.

        2. Alex McFarlane
          17th June 2018, 19:25

          Who won out in the end? Some questionable driving on the Porsche driver’s part, he’d have been sin-binned if he tried that in F1.

          1. Luckily this isn’t F1.

          2. The Porsche 91 ended up ahead. It was amazing: for about half an hour they were never more than .7 seconds apart, trading places five or six times during the fight. At the end, Porsche 91 ended up second, and the Ford 68 third.

            There was a message on the screen that the Porsche driver (Frédéric Makowiecki, I believe) was under investigation for “Quality of driving” (there’s a term to love!), but I believe nothing came of it. Also, to my (non-expert) eyes, both drivers were fighting equally to the limit, but not over it. If anything, it would have been the classic schoolyard unresolvable matter of “who started it”.

            Laugh of the race for me was the Danish commentator when the Porsche dove into the pit with the Ford glued to his rear: “I am not really sure that the Ford is making a pit stop – he may just be following from habit“.

      2. I love Le Mans, it’s my favorite race of the year, by far, nothing else comes close. I’ve been eight times, as far back as 1981, as recently as 2017. I even went with a team one year. Le Mans still has the feel of racing only for the passion and the challenge, and a wide variety of cars and technology, something which is unfortunately missing in today’s corporate spec racing and “Global Media and Entertainment Branded Content”, i.e. Liberty Media’s F1.

    23. I thought Petrov would bin that BR1-SMP but instead Button did.

      1. I think you might be confusing a few things. Button didn’t ‘bin his car, the engine blew up while he was at the wheel.
        However, there was indeed a (relatively) prominent ex-F1 driver who single-handedly binned his car, and that was Paul di Resta.

    24. Here’s my prediction. We will never, ever, see Lewis Hamilton at Le Mans, or in any category outside F1.

      1. YellowSubmarine
        17th June 2018, 18:18

        Godwin’s law for f1 discussions:
        As an online f1 discussion grows longer, the probability of it descending into an argument about Lewis Hamilton approaches 1.

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          17th June 2018, 19:51

          Reducto ad Hamiltonum

        2. Haha so true, god bless the trolls!

        3. Ahaha, that’s a good one!

        4. Good one. But make the case that I’m wrong.

    25. I heard LMP1 would be replaced by a supercar class. Imagine P1, LaFerrari, 918 all running for the overall win. Awesome.

      Instead we have Toyota and some LMP2+

      1. @jureo, no, that is not correct – what is being proposed is basically a sort of silhouette class which is still based around a current LMP chassis, but has styling details which are similar to that of a road going supercar.

        It’s basically a tweaked version of what is being done with the Daytona Prototype class over in the US, where the cars have a vague visual resemblance to a road car but are really just LMP2 cars with slightly modified bodywork. The idea of it being a “supercar” or “hypercar” class comes from people misinterpreting what the ACO were trying to do (and, in reality, I really doubt that you could make any of the cars you name in your list competitive against a full blown LMP prototype without modifying the car so much that it no longer resembles the car you started out with).

        1. You could be right, especially regarding the tech part, but I heard something that the body of the future LM top class must be more than a vague visual resemblance. Actually, it’s said that the visual side of the body has priority in front of the aero side, so it’s forbidden to alter the design too much compared to the street car for the sake of aero gains.

      2. You obviously have access to the internet & motorsport new sites … why don’t you take the time to use them and read the news instead of relying on 3rd hand information and then asking questions on the very pages that contain the facts?

    26. Just relaxing in the museum at La Sarthe enjoying a cool bottle of water after a roasting hot race. Fantastic stuff, so much emotion from Toyota, and I’m especially happy for Nakajima after what happened previously. Enjoyed the GTE battles, the Porsche RSRs are glorious racing machines, and also very good to see Dempsy on the top step finally, even if not as a driver.

      Right, I’m off to go get stuck in a traffic jam for the next hour…

    27. Kind of anti-climactic though? Toyota racing against only themselves, kind of diminishes the victory I feel. No Le Mans win is easy, but without Audi, Porsche, and others it seems like a bit like a farce.

    28. Willem Cecchi (@)
      17th June 2018, 17:05

      Will it count as a WEC ‘championship’ if Alonso and co wins it, as Toyota is the only LMP1 manufacturer?

      1. Well, yes.

      2. Andrew in Atlanta
        17th June 2018, 20:26

        Rebellion, BR Engineering, ByKolles and Ginetta are also all LMP1 manufacturers so where do you get there’s only one?

        1. But they don’t have hybrid PU, so low on power compared to Toyota.

          1. In return, their minimum weight is 20 kilos lower, and they’re allowed to take on 40% more fuel per stint (but yeah, the hybrids are still unbeatable under normal circumstances).
            However, none of all of this has anything to do with the World Championship status of the LMP1 class. It’s been declared as a World Championship, so the title will be awarded at the end of the season. And that’s the end of the story.

          2. Why don’t they put Hybrid’s in then instead of running cheap off the shelf Gibson engines.

    29. Hats off to the last Samurai of Motorsport. He wanted this win badly and he got it. Now he is on the hill and he can see the triple crown.

      1. Yes Nakajima can do it. Hard to get a good F1 drive but stands a good chance to get an Indy win.

    30. “The Rhythm of the Night” won it for Alonso and Toyota no.8. Fernando Alonso proved that he’s a legend – putting in those lap times at his first ever night race, slashing the gap to the no. 7 while negotiating traffic, all without prior night time experience at a treacherous circuit like Le Mans, and wanting to keep going at the wee hours of the morning despite his night stint ending without any fatigue or distraction…! He proved he’s from another planet. Who cares if Ferrari and Red Bull are too blind to not hire him? Who cares if some F1 fans call him “Teflonso”? Who cares if he doesn’t get another F1 world title? True greatness is never measured in figures.

      1. Wow – I feel exactly the same as you but couldn’t have expressed it so eloquently. Excellent!!

      2. I didn’t watch the race, did Alonso pace really far better than anyone?

        Who cares if Ferrari and Red Bull are too blind to not hire him?

        Ferrari hire him once, even Red Bull approached him once too. Maybe Alonso should offer less than what Ricciardo asked and join Red Bull Honda next year. It will be great to see how he handle Verstappen.

    31. Good job that they finally won! ALO too!

      Maaan, I wish things were a lot more relaxed and cheaper and the top F1 teams had their Le Mans entries, their cars being raced by their drivers from F1. Some sort of a dream….

    32. What a fantastic victory for Toyota and Alonso. Well done. Its almost as impressive as when Porche won the Carreracup.

    33. It’s great to Alonso’s talent rewarded. The Indy 500 must look very tempting in 2019.

    34. James Coulee
      17th June 2018, 19:19

      I have a strong suspicion that Alonso is aiming for a different “Triple Crown” of his own: the first driver ever to win an F1 World Championship, a World Sportscar/Endurance Championship and an Indycar Championship.

      He’s well on the way to have the first two, having won both first races of the WEC (and his only true challengers are in the other Toyota car).

      McLaren is conveniently “thinking” about doing a full Indycar championship season (and if Alonso decided to do the full WEC as practice for Le Mans, wouldn’t he apply the same logic to the Indy 500 if he could?).

      That would be a record even greater than Graham Hill’s (and quite unrepeatable in the foreseeable future).

      I have a feeling that that legacy is what Alonso is fighting for to make up for all the F1 Championships he believes a driver like him should have had by now.

      1. Andrew in Atlanta
        17th June 2018, 20:28

        There’s still the matter of LM2019 as well, that counts in this season also. They could be taken out in the next race and LM next year and have nothing to show for this win

    35. It is becoming increasingly likely that Formula 1 might lose Alonso very soon.

    36. Why stop at Indy …

      Daytona 500 ??
      Bathurst 1000 ??
      Daytona 24 ??

      Alonso could try and win the Sextuple Crown !!

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        17th June 2018, 22:36

        Or try and do a Surtees with a MotoGP title

    37. Well that bids well for McLaren , finally the team Jonah (Alonso) will leave to do the Indy series.
      So hopefully they can now rebuild the team around Lando and Stoffel
      PS, hopefully McLaren also rids themselves of Boullier.

    38. ‘Conquer’, is that sarcasm?

    39. Congratulations to all three drivers in the winning car and to the team that supported them during the race, to say nothing of developing and funding the car. Auto racing is all about entering under the existing rules and going out there and beating the competition, even if the toughest competition is another set of drivers in an identical car. A well-earned win, and you guys who want to rain on their parade ought to learn to be good sports and let them have their day.

    40. Well done to Alonso and it’s certainly no mean feat to win any endurance race, but in the pantheon of Le Mans victories this one is as hollow as a cheap chocolate easter egg.

    41. Absolutely brilliant Alonso, Nakajima, and Toyota. Buemi… could have cost them the race.

    42. Totally disgr@ceful seeing the di$respect being shown to the Number 7 Toyota, by so-called ‘racefans’, a sudden increase in tr0lls here acting as if those drivers weren’t trying. Also sh@meful in the attempt to belittle Alonso’s ability, that Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi who’ve bu$ted their b@lls for Toyota and suffered heartbreak in the past whilst leading, are also having their achievement belittled.

      Alonso was a rookie and has come away from this event receiving nothing but praise and admiration from his own and other teams and drivers.

      How refreshing was it to have Eurosport on all weekend hearing nothing but positives for the teams and drivers taking on the challenge to finish a tough race. Despite noting many mistakes , the pundits always had sympathy for drivers like Montoya who locked up and went off. Unlike the increasingly negative and n@sty tone that surrounds F1 when mistakes are made and the w1tch-hunt mentality that follows.

      Contrary to the rumours going around the Narcissistic media last week, Toyota said ‘Alonso was easy to work with‘ ‘100% a pro’ ‘a great personality‘
      Tom Kristensen pointed out how hard it was to be a “rookie” at Le Mans with the slower traffic and the night driving. Alonso handled both like a pro, 9 time record winner Kristensen said quote “Alonso was amazing” he also praised Button, again a great positive weekend that regular WEC and Le Mans fans can be proud of.

      So the unhinged Alonso h@ters will work over-time parading his ‘hollow trophy’ around the internet all week, whilst Alonso’s stock rises among the experts.

      And why wont Mercedes and Ferrari sign him? Because they are far more political and d1rty selfish dealers than Alonso could ever be.
      Merc and Fiat have destroyed F1 with their greedy insistence on road relevance technology in a world that is now moving way too fast for them. Their backward thinking and collusion among themselves in the motor industry saw them comically caught with their p@nts down by Tesla.

      These political stains on F1 have now whinged and cr1ed to the point of tying the sport into more of the same from 2021 when motorsport should be cutting ties with massively fast changing world of road vehicles.
      But hey, certain so-called fans hold these manufacturers in higher regard than Alonso because of a 20 minute bust-up with Martin Whitmarsh and a ‘GP2 engine’ quip.

      So as your ‘b@d guy’ walks away from F1 to open arms in Indy Car, the bosses of German manufacturers continue to be arrested for che@ting, corruption and now a new price fixing investigation begins.

      1. Tesla? Tesla has never seen profit and doesn’t rank particularly high on electric car manufacturers once you factor in all the millions being sold in China by local companies. Tesla is to car industry as Xerox was to computer industry in the 80s, or Nokia-Blackberry to smartphones.

        1. Tesla’s financial standing is irrelevant at this time. That’s a bit like saying Formula E isn’t as big as F1 or WEC so FE attracting Renault, Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes isn’t a big deal.

          Jaguar just admitted the iPace wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for Tesla. Jaguar had the luxury of completely outsourcing the iPace as well.
          Look at the announcements from VW and Mercedes for their investments into EVs. They all came after Tesla landmarks. Tesla’s 400,000 deposits for the Model 3 shook the industry. All of their cars are being reverse engineered by the Germans.

    43. This thread is exactly what I dislike about the Internet. A bunch of so-called experts downplaying Alonso’s accomplishment and people arguing if the downplay is “technically” correct.

      Winning the F1 championship makes someone special, winning it twice, along with winning Le Mans and racing in the Indy 500 (& leading towards the end) makes you super special.

      I am not an Alonso fan, but I respect his ability to make the most of whatever he drives. He has great skills and I hope he can win Indy.

      1. As an Alonso fan, it’s nice to know that although you don’t necessarily like his personality at times (nor do I), you appreciate his incredible racing skills and respect his accomplishments.
        He is a very polarizing figure for sure – much like Muhammad Ali. This comes with the territory of being one of the greats.

        1. Also Ali’s Afro-American temperament saw him disliked as Alonso’s Mediterranean temperament does. Similar to how direct and unfazed Dutch people are and many fans struggle to like Max Verstappen for his differences.
          ‘Polarizing’ often means the fans want the star to be whiter than white in their behaviour. You normally have to upset or sh#t on at least one person to become successful though and this includes the team bosses.
          People complaining about the drivers personalities, don’t think the teams are made of nice guys. The Germans at Mercedes all look very nice, but are either dirty backstabbers doing business or colluding t#ssers.

    44. @pt , @bigjoe – The top three teams won’t hire him because he left one of them (they currently have 2 world champions anyway), and the other two have driver lineups that they are happy with. Because you know, there are other great F1 drivers too. Nothing to do with being “dirty” or “blind”. It’s just a shame that McLaren are such a joke as Alonso should be up there.

      1. @simracer

        I get your point, but aren’t we fans robbed of giant-killing performances just because this sport doesn’t the give arguably the best driver of this generation the equipment to play with? Alonso left Ferrari because he was made to leave by Sergio Marchionne whose ego was really couldn’t accept someone of Alonso’s stature. Had he been with Ferrari, he’d have won the title last year with the car advantage they had, without the shenanigans Vettel displayed at Baku. Look at Red Bull this year – with Alonso onboard they wouldn’t have lost the bunch of points at Baku this year thanks to Verstappen’s headstrong driving. Only Mercedes has been perfect. Ferrari may be better off with a more level-headed Vettel this year and a strong car, but had they had Alonso they could probably have been reigning champions. And Red Bull wouldn’t have squandered its points this year and been a lot closer to the top two. So clearly they don’t have reason to be “happy with their driver lineups” unless of course there are political factors involved. That’s what gets me. Shouldn’t talent, hard work, determination, leadership and never-say-die attitude be enough factors to get a legendary driver into a top team? There are egos here at play. Alonso not being hired by a top team is making me totally disillusioned with the sport – maybe I’m biased as an Alonso fan, but the points I’ve made are clear to see.

        1. @pt

          Alonso left Ferrari because he was made to leave by Sergio Marchionne whose ego was really couldn’t accept someone of Alonso’s stature.

          I get the feeling it was mutual. Ferrari got it hugely wrong in 2014, and Alonso felt he wasn’t going to win a title with them. When he joined Mclaren, he believed they could provide a good car within 2-3 years.

          Had he been with Ferrari, he’d have won the title last year with the car advantage they had

          Come on now, If anyone had a car advantage, it was Mercedes. 12 wins, 15 poles, better reliability. Alonso would have been a contender like Vettel, but saying he would have won it is a stretch.

          Red Bull wouldn’t have squandered its points this year and been a lot closer to the top two. So clearly they don’t have reason to be “happy with their driver lineups” unless of course there are political factors involved.

          True, they lost points in Baku, but that’s besides the point. Verstappen is an incredible talent, as shown since driving a Toro Rosso at 17. He’s a multi race-winner and a potential champion, still only 20. He’s had difficulties recently, but then so did all of the top drivers when they were young, including Alonso. Red Bull’s management will still be happy with him and Ricciardo.

          Shouldn’t talent, hard work, determination, leadership and never-say-die attitude be enough factors to get a legendary driver into a top team?

          It should be, and Mclaren is that hypothetical top team. Unfortunately, Mclaren have turned into a joke since 2013 and don’t seem to be getting much better. And unluckily for him, there are several other drivers on the grid with those qualities, who occupy the top teams already. It is a shame Mclaren are doing so poorly.

      2. @simracer

        The top three teams won’t hire him because he left one of them (they currently have 2 world champions anyway), and the other two have driver lineups that they are happy with. Because you know, there are other great F1 drivers too

        Red Bull have the best driver pairing. Bottas and Raikonen are not as bigger challenge for Hamilton and Vettel as Riccairdo and Verstappen would be, who have both beaten Lewis and Seb in slower cars.

        Assuming that Riccairdo will leave Red Bull now they’re going with Honda, let’s see how Mercedes-Hamilton and Ferrari-Vettel react to having him there, given that they were reportedly resisting Alonso for political reasons, they would surely want to sign those ‘other great F1 drivers too’

        Until Merc or Ferrari snap up Riccairdo, my view remains that they can’t handle two top tier drivers. Ferrari never have and Merc couldn’t handle Hamilton-Rosberg. Only Red Bull and Ron Dennis were interested in Hot Drivers as team mates and Dennis was usually sympathetic to Alonso apart from making him cut his hair and change his dress style.

    45. I wonder, had it been Vettel who won it in the same circumstances, what would be the talks. Better yet, imagine if it was Rosberg! lol

      Alonso thrives in a inexplicable indulgence. He’s a great driver, sure, but this praising like he craps gold is just ridiculous.
      Great amount of the value about winning 500 and LM is to overcome the best. We can argue that there still are the best at Indy, but that LM was just pure bullcrap.

      I won’t lie, on paper, if he conquers 3 WDC at these 3 categories, as some people are saying, it will be a big statistic. His ego’s gonna skyrocket like ol’days. However, sticks and stones may break my bones, but… Alonso will never be greater than Schumacher, nor Hamilton, nor Vettel.

      1. The greatest F1 fans realise that other drivers arent ‘greater’ because their stats are better. Schumacher Hamilton and Vettel have all cracked under pressure in title fights. Schumacher was a nightmare when someone got the better of him and went to pieces. Alonso and Hakkinen to name two, never did. I don’t think Jim Clark or Fangio did either. 4 great drivers right there, 3 of which could have trebled their titles in the right car. Hamilton and Vettel are quick drivers who happened to get the right car. Utterly dominant ones.

        1. @bigjoe – Hakkinen spun off while leading at Monza ’99, Alonso crashed at Suzuka ’12. Those are examples of cracking under pressure.

          1. @simracer

            A first corner coming together isn’t ‘cracking under pressure’, pressure from who? that early in the race, really?

            Alonso also had a coming together with Massa at Spain in 2007, holding Lewis behind him, this was very costly as it gave Lewis that extra second place to ‘beat’ him over the season. Probably not something Prost would have got involved in, but that wasn’t cracking under pressure either.

          2. @simracer

            Who ‘cracked’ Hakkinen after he’d pulled away at Monza, Zanardi?

            1. @bigjoe As I expected, you

            2. @bigjoe – As I expected, you’re sweeping Hakkinen and Alonso’s mistakes under he carpet while keenly highlighting Vettel and Hamilton’s mistakes, to claim they crack under pressure.

              How about Vettel handling the pressure in 2010, where he faultlessly won the title decider while Alonso had a poor start which allowed Button to get past him, then couldn’t overtake Petrov? Hamilton did just fine last year as well, and in 2014 where his teammate outbraked himself at Monza to lose the win.

              These drivers have all been involved in multiple title fights, and have made mistakes under the press of fighting for that title. Hakkinen also spun off at Monza in 1998 (luckily this one wasn’t a DNF). Alonso crashed into retirement at Fuji, 2007. But I’m sure you’ll find an excuse for those too because they could never crack under pressure.

          3. @simracer

            I think you need to look up what ‘sweeping something under the carpet’ means, because I’ve highlighted their mistakes by telling you they wern’t under pressure.
            Schumacher cracked under pressure at least several times from other drivers. Hamilton bottled both the second half of 2007 and 2008 as the pressure built on him, lucking the title in the last race of 2008 where he once again under performed, not just made mistakes.

            1. @bigjoe – You brought up this claim about who does and doesn’t “crack under pressure”. Thing is, pressure can come in different forms. You can be under pressure from a faster car behind. You can be under pressure chasing another car ahead. You can be under pressure from being in a close championship fight. Yet whenever clear examples are brought up, you dismiss them to stick to your original claim. We’re not talking about decent drivers who never won a title despite chances to (Massa/Webber), or lost several close fights before winning one in a dominant car (Mansell). We’re talking about five multiple world champions, all of which have won and lost title battles with other drivers and teams. And these guys have all made mistakes under various types of pressure. They have also had instances of dealing with pressure well.

              Hamilton underperformed in Brazil ’08 (finished behind Alonso’s Renault, passed by Vettel in the Toro Rosso) – as much as Alonso at Abu Dhabi ’10 (finished behind Kubica and Rosberg, couldn’t pass Petrov). And if Hakkinen threw away wins at Monza and also Imola of 1999 when he wasn’t under pressure, that just makes him look worse.

          4. @simracer

            Anybody who claims Schumacher is a ‘great’ and Alonso ‘isn’t’, I’ll point out all day long that Schumacher cracked whilst under pressure from other drivers, or got wound up by them, or failed when trying to wind them up.
            Alonso was too relentless and mentally stronger to get involved in any of that rubbish or have major dips in form in any season let alone of all of them(like Hamilton) these are the attributes that make him one of the ‘greats’ and set him apart.

            1. @bigjoe – Well to be fair, Niefer did say in his second paragraph that “Alonso is a great driver”. No-one sensible will deny that. But of course, there are instances where every driver will have cracked under pressure, including Alonso. An example being 2007- the Fuji crash, while chasing Hamilton and the Hungary incident, where he reacted poorly to Hamilton not letting him through earlier in the session.

        2. @bigjoe I named those 3 because they were the top contenders of Alonso’s time. Their better stats are just an extension of their superiority.
          As for cracking under pressure, Alonso blew it at Fuji-07, Abu-Dhabi-10, both under the WDC fight, just to name a few. And as a bonus, his retirement at Spa last year with a perfectly fine engine shows another cracking under the power deficit issue.

          Hamilton and Vettel are quick drivers who happened to get the right car.

          If you want to play that card, fair enough: so as Alonso. Raikkonen was the better driver in 2005, and hadn’t been that blewed engine at Japan and the fuel misfortune at Interlagos Q2, Schumacher would be the 2006 champ.

    46. FlyingLobster27
      18th June 2018, 20:48

      You thought it was over? Oh no it’s not: after 4th in GTE Pro was docked 11 laps this morning for Tony Kanaan failing to complete at least 6 hours of driving (how Ganassi didn’t pick that up on not one, but two cars, because another was dinged 2 laps, I don’t know!), the TDS Racing-managed Orecas, including the G-Drive Racing car that won LM P2, have been disqualified! For the second year in this quasi-spec formula’s existence, a podium-finishing team has made modifications the ACO doesn’t like. This time it’s the fuel rig.
      Why it takes longer than the race itself to decide the conformity of the winning car is a bit beyond me…

    47. @Niefer “I won’t lie, on paper, if he conquers 3 WDC at these 3 categories, as some people are saying, it will be a big statistic.” Just wondering what that sentence means? He’s got two WDCs. Does it take “3 WDC” to be a big statistic? Maybe you’re just referring to so-called Triple Crown of Monaco, Indy and Le Mans, but none of those three wins has anything to do with a third (or any) WDC or any other championship.

      1. He may take the WDC at WEC this year, as I read above. And some people believe he and McLaren are gonna go fulltime at Indy.
        I made the mistake of typing “will be” instead of “would be”.

    48. In case some Alonso fans haven’t seen it….

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzZysUfsxWk

      1. @Dave
        Thanks for the link mate :)

        1. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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