Toyota Gazoo Racing secures 4th Le Mans win

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Toyota Gazoo Racing has secured a fourth win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world’s oldest and most popular endurance racing events.

“This was a very hard race and a real team victory, in difficult circumstances. We asked a lot of our drivers, and I am amazed by their skills to implement our solution without any time loss. It was a true team effort; we never gave up and the whole team tried everything to achieve the victory.” said Toyota Gazoo Racing Team President Hisatake Murata.

Piloting the #7 GR010 Hybrid were Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López while Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley drove the #8 GR010 Hybrid. A fuel system issue threatened both teams in the second half of the race but their never-give-up attitude saw them through.

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An action-packed 24-hour race started on a wet track that saw Sébastien drop to the back of the field when Toyota Gazoo Racing’s #8 GR010 Hybrid was hit by the #708 Glickenhaus. The #8 also encountered a damaged wheel rim and a puncture after it made contact with a lapped car.

“I'm happy to finish second after the first lap. Obviously, we always wanted to win, but this is a great day for Toyota. The first time we came here with the Hypercar and we finished first and second; that was the objective and we achieved it.” said Sébastien Buemi.

On the other hand, Mike’s #7 GR010 Hybrid suffered two punctures as it led the field from pole and set the pace for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.

“It was a hard race. We knew we had an issue with the car for the last six hours and that could have been a really big problem, but the team came up with a solution to keep us going… This race is never easy. Even if you are out on your own at the front, anything can happen.” said Mike Conway.

Heavy rain caused several incidents which merited a 20-minute safety car. Nevertheless, José kept the #7 GR010 Hybrid at the front while Brendon maintained the pressure from second.

“The last Le Mans races were quite tough for us as a crew and to finally win this race is a dream come true. It is simply amazing,” commented José María López.

Brendon Hartley also added, “Right from the first lap we were dealing with issues. The way the team pulled together to get this one-two was phenomenal, we had to manage the issue and at one point we weren't even sure we would get to the end.”

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As the race entered the final 12 hours, Kamui had extended the #7 car's lead to just over half a minute.

“We had to do a special procedure just to keep the car running. We did the maximum we could do to survive for the last seven hours; it was an almost impossible job. Normally the race would end there for us but somehow we survived because the team worked really hard and made the right call,” explained Kamui Kobayashi.

When Kazuki took the wheel of the #8 car, the team swapped the front end to rectify a drop in aerodynamic performance caused by minor damage.

“On our car, it was challenging but we managed to bring it home despite some issues. The team found a way to manage it so a big thank you to the engineers, mechanics, and also my teammates. It was a great race,” says Kazuki Nakajima.

Kamui and Kazuki took over their respective cars for the final stint and crossed the line together to make Hypercar history at Le Mans.

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Here’s a list of the Le Mans 24 Hours finishers.

1st #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing 371 laps
2nd #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing +2 laps
3rd #36 Alpine (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) +4 laps
4th #708 Glickenhaus (Derani/Mailleux/Pla) +4 laps
5th #709 Glickenhaus (Briscoe/Westbrook/Dumas) +7 laps
6th #41 WRT (Frijns/Habsburg/Milesi) +8 laps

Photos from Toyota 

Also read: 

Toyota Finally Wins at Le Mans 24 Hours

Toyota Gazoo Racing ready for Le Mans with GR010 Hybrid

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