Toyota Wins Le Mans With Help From Ex-Formula 1 Driver

Motorsport / 8 Comments

And they did it from pole position.

The layperson might know Toyota Gazoo Racing because of the brand's street cars, like the Toyota Supra. Feelings about that car are still mixed to this day, even with its new manual transmission. But no one can deny the presence of Gazoo Racing at Le Mans. Toyota Gazoo Racing is now tied with Audi for the most consecutive Le Mans wins in history, a record currently held by Porsche with 7 wins in a row. Today, the #8 Toyota crossed the finish line twenty-four hours after starting on pole position.

This win at Le Mans means that Toyota has now won an astonishing 5 times in a row at Le Mans. At the wheel was ex-Formula 1 driver Brendon Hartley. " Yeah, I was overwhelmed with emotions when I crossed the line. The whole race you try not to think about the finish. We've all seen what can happen on the last laps even in the last couple of years, four or five years ago with Toyota. So, really crossing that line, all the emotions come out. Yeah, it's a great feeling," said Hartley.

24H Le Mans
Toyota Gazoo Racing
Toyota Gazoo Racing
Toyota Gazoo Racing

Hartley was joined in victory by his two teammates, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa. "To join this legend, you know (becoming the fifth Japanese driver to win at Le Mans). To be honest, I still cannot believe we realized my dream. Yeah, my dream came true. I hope there is more to come to catch up to these legends," said Hirakawa.

Hirakawa is also new to the team, having only joined Buemi and Hartley this year. Five consecutive wins at Le Mans is incredible, but for Hirakawa to join Toyota Gazoo's Hypercar class team only this year and to win? Incredible. "It's hard for me to speak right now. It's an amazing feeling, especially with Ryo and Brendon," said Buemi.

24H Le Mans
Toyota Gazoo Racing
Toyota Gazoo Racing
Toyota Gazoo Racing

An issue with Gazoo's other car, #7, meant that the car piloted by Hirakawa, Hartley, and Buemi was clear to win. Despite the #7 car's issues, it still managed to stay in second place, crossing the line just ahead of Glickenhaus' #709 car.

At multiple points during the race, both Toyota Gazoo cars were fighting for the front position. During the first 12 hours of the race, the lead changed hands between both cars on several occasions. Still, the hybrid unit issue for the #7 car meant an advantage of almost an entire lap for Hartley, Hirakawa, and Buemi. Should Toyota be able to continue this dominance into next year's race, the team will be one step closer to beating Porsche's record for the most consecutive Le Mans victories.

24H Le Mans
Toyota Gazoo Racing
Toyota Gazoo Racing
Toyota Gazoo Racing

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