Toyota Gazoo Racing have won their third consecutive championship in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as Kazuki Nakajima took the No.8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid past the chequered flag at Circuit de la Sarthe.
This victory was the third for Kazuki Nakakima and Sebastian Buemi, and the second for Brendon Hartley who is the new Zealander who is replacing Fernando Alonso in the car No.8 for the 2020 season. Meanwhile the sister Toyota car No.7 finished third with Jose Maria Lopez after overtaking Rebellion Racing No.3 car driven by louis Deletraz in the final hour while it was stuck in the garage after having a crash damage.
It was a better result for the sister Rebellion racing car in the hands of Norman Nato, after finishing second and splitting the two Toyota TS050 Hybrid. This was the final Le Mans for Rebellion racing after they announced they are pulling out of endurance racing.
Toyota had entered as the race favourites as their LMP1 Hybrids finish the race in a 1-2 victory but it was not the case after the Toyota No.7 driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez experienced a turbo failure at 3.am and had to pit for repairs that took 30 minutes, making the car to drop eight laps behind its sister Toyota.
In LMP2 the No.22 United Autosports car driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and pole sitter Paul di Resta took the victory for the LMP2 class which was holding 24 cars, Phil Hanson took the car for the chequered flag. The final minutes proved critical for the No.22 car after United Autosports called in Hanson to the pits for a quick check making the No.38 Jota Sport driven by Anthony Davidson take the lead as the race was coming to an end. But merely 10 minutes to the close of the event Davidson found himself having to surrender the lead as he had to pit for fuel and finally finished second with a comfortable gap with the third Panis racing Oreca driven by Nico Jamin.
United Autosports were looking for a 1-2 victory in the LMP2 class but the No.32 car suffered an oil leak and had to pit for an hour losing the podium places. During the final hour, the No.26 G-Drive Oreca driven by Jean-Eric Vergne shot off at the Indianapolis as it was running third in the LMP2 class, and later on Vergne reported over the radio that the suspension had broken. Panis Racing team took the position as Mathieu Vaxiviere was on the wheel.
The No.39 Graff Racing Oreca had shown promising results as James Allen led for the first two hours of the race but later crashed into a tyre barrier with only 40 minutes to go. This saw the team lose the 5th place in the LMP2 class.
In the GTE Pro class, the No.97 Aston Martin took the lead in the hands of Alex Lynn as he was able to hold off James Clado in the No.51 Ferrari AF Corse by about half a lap. Nicki Thiim came in third with the No.95 sister Aston Martin. The porsche Factory team who were contenders for the GTE Pro victory only managed to finish 6th and 7th after being disadvantaged by the balance of performance results.
In GTE Am, the No.90 TF Sport with Charlie Eastwood took the win as Matt Campbell in the No.77 Proton Porsche finished second, with AF Corse getting another podium place as the No.83 car with Nicklas Nielsen finished third.
The race was one of a kind, with 16 of the 59 cars to start the race failing to reach the flag.
As the chequered flag fell on the 24 Hours, so did the flag fall on the LMP era. For 2021, the Hypercar regulations will take hold.