Dominant #7 Toyota reverted to 2018 Le Mans set-up


The Toyota TS050 Hybrid No8 of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team driven by Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland, Kazuki Nakajima of Japan and Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates with their fans as they win the 87th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Sunday, June 16, 2019.

The No. 8 vehicle crew, who had been running second until last-hour drama, were also crowned world endurance champions, with Nakajima driving the final stint and becoming the first Japanese to win a global FIA-sanctioned series.

The #7 vehicle - driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez - managed to finish second, about 16 seconds behind the winning auto.

A distant third was the private entry SMP entry driven by Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin and Stoffel Vandoorne.

At one point, Bamber's team was up to second, but with five hours remaining in the race in the early hours of the morning at Le Mans, they were hovering in the third to fourth GTE standings, as Serra's crew had gone up to the lead, while Rockenfeller and Vanthoor's team fell back off the pace. It lost its lead for good.

"We wanted to make it really boring, but that didn't happen", said Toyota team boss Rob Leupen. Racing for the last time at Le Mans, none of Ford's factory GT's made the podium, but all would finish the race.

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After the race, Alonso conceded the No. 7 vehicle was the quicker of the two Toyota's.

Many expected Toyota would win this year's edition of the race, but the winning vehicle came as a surprise. "The world championship feels great".

Alonso, 37, recognised luck had played a big part in completing an unprecedented Le Mans double in a single super-season. "They deserve it today". With the win, the trio also wrapped up the World Endurance Championship title.

Former F1 world champion Alonso was part of Toyota's winning team a year ago on his first outing at the event. He has won Monaco and Le Mans twice, both of them back to back. The vehicle spent much of the rest of the race one lap adrift, albeit well clear of the third-placed TDS ORECA of Matthieu Vaxiviere, Loic Duval and Francois Perrodo.

"We got into a situation where we caught a puncture at the end, and it hurts a lot that the team didn't respond well to that".

"Our main goal was to be world champions, and I'm extremely proud of that as well". I would have been satisfied to finish the race in second so what happened to vehicle #7 is really painful.