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No. 8 Toyota Wins The 24 Hours of Le Mans After Final Half Hour Safety Car

Illustration for article titled No. 8 Toyota Wins The 24 Hours of Le Mans After Final Half Hour Safety Car
Photo: Jean-Francois Monier / AFP (Getty Images)

There was no stopping Toyota Gazoo Racing at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans: the team was dominant from the very start. And while the No. 7 experienced an early heartbreak after leading the opening hours, the No. 8 was ultimately able to secure an overall win. Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Brendon Hartley graced the top step of the podium as victors of the world’s biggest endurance event.

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The last hour of Le Mans brought its fair share of surprises. Two of the top five LMP2 cars suffered some kind of disaster—suspension failure for the G-Drive and a bad crash into the tire barrier for Graff Racing. After that second crash, there was no choice but to bring out a safety car during the last half hour, with the track going green with just over 20 minutes to go.

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Bunching up the drivers made for a fascinating final few minutes. While the leaders of each class had firmly established themselves, the closed gap made for some fascinating battles for position, both on the track and in the pit lane.

The No. 38. Jota pitted with five minutes to go, having come up two laps short on fuel, leaving the No. 22 untouched for LMP2 class win and overall top five.

Overall Top Three

No. 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing
Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

No. 1 Rebellion Racing
Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato, Bruno Senna

No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

LMP1 Podium

No. 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing
Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

No. 1 Rebellion Racing
Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato, Bruno Senna

No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing
Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

LMP2 Podium

No. 22 United Autosports
Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque, Paul di Resta

No. 38 Jota 
Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa, Anthony Davidson

No. 31 Panis Racing
Julien Canal, Nico Jamin, Matthieu Vaxiviere

LM GTE Pro Podium

No. 97 Aston Martin Racing
Alex Lynn, Maxime Martin, Harry Tincknell

No. 51 AF Corse
James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Daniel Serra

No. 95 Aston Martin Racing
Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen, Richard Westbrook

LM GTE Am Podium

No. 90 TF Sport
Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood, Jonathan Adam

No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing
Christian Ried, Riccardo Pera, Matt Campbell

No. 83 AF Corse
Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, Nicklas Nielsen

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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DISCUSSION

wheelerguy
Wheelerguy

Toyota, in the end, faced Le Mans. It always had to face Le Mans, conquer it, push past the pain just to keep going. Now, they nailed it, winning the swansong for LMP1-Hybrid. And come 2021 and 2022, I reckon they have what it takes to beat everyone else.

Peugeot, Alpine and underdog team Glickenhaus will all be coming after them. If they aren’t competition enough for you, I don’t know what is.