They say the third time’s a charm, but for Toyota at Le Mans, it’s more like the third time is just as charming as the last two. Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 TS050 Hybrid race car took the overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing five laps ahead of Rebellion Racing’s No. 1 car and securing a third straight victory for Toyota in the 88th running of the most prestigious endurance race in the world, which was live-streamed from qualifying to finish exclusively on the MotorTrend App. (If you missed the live action, you can watch the replay any time on the MotorTrend App with your subscription.)
As they had in the last two overall Le Mans wins for Toyota, Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima each notched their third-consecutive wins behind the wheel of the Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid. They were joined this year by Brendon Hartley, a former Le Mans winner from Porsche’s 2017 LMP program, as the No. 8 winning car’s third driver.
— TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WEC (@Toyota_Hybrid) September 20, 2020
The second place No. 1 car of Switzerland’s Rebellion Racing featured American driver Gustavo Menezes, Brazilian Bruno Senna–the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna–and Frenchman Norma Nato behind the wheel. Their Rebellion Racing R13 finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7 TS050, with Rebellion’s No. 3 R13 finishing in fourth place.
For much of the race it looked as though Toyota’s No. 7 would win after taking pole position in the FIA’s new “hyperpole” qualifying format and was leading easily through the early stages of the race. But late into the night, the No. 7 car encountered a turbocharger problem and the ensuing 30-minute pit stop proved too costly to overcome.
In the tightly contested LMP2 category, United Autosports No. 22 Oreca 07 race car finished first in class (and fifth overall). Drivers Paul di Resta, Phil Hanson, and Filipe Albuquerque just beat out the No. 38 JOTA Sport Oreca 07 piloted by Antonio Felix da Costa, Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.
WE’VE DONE IT! ????????????
LE MANS 24 HOURS WINNERS!! ????????????
— United Autosports (@UnitedAutosport) September 20, 2020
Aston Martin has to be pleased with its 24 Hours of Le Mans results. Its Vantage GTE race cars not only beat out Ferrari and Porsche in both the LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am classes, but the wins helped Aston Martin secure the FIA World Endurance manufacturer’s title for the first time, with one round remaining.
— Aston Martin Racing (@AMR_Official) September 20, 2020
The LMGTE Pro class win was secured by the No. 91 Aston Martin of Alex Lynn, Maxime Martin, and Harry Tincknell who beat to the flag the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Daniel Serra. In LMGTE AM, Aston Martin privateer team TF Sport won with drivers Jonathan Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc 48 laps off the pace of the overall winner.
The first 24 Hours of Le Mans was first held in 1923. Usually, upwards of 250,000 fans watch the race around the nearly 8.5-mile track. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s race was delayed by three months from its normal start time, in June, and for the first time ever, no spectators were allowed to attend.
— WEC (@FIAWEC) September 20, 2020
Some racing experts believed that the delayed start date would introduce complications to the race, in the form of longer nights and weather conditions the teams do not usually experience. It normally rains at some point during the Le Mans weekend, but this year, there was none. Despite the good conditions, 10 of the 59 race teams were forced to retire during the race, with one additional disqualification.
Up next for the WEC is the last race of this COVID-19 truncated season, the 8 Hours of Bahrain, on November 14, 2020.
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