Toyota dominates at Le Mans

Pole-sitting car leads to midway, when mechanical problems needed attention. No worries, another Toyota was ready to take the lead

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Le Mans
Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid prototype No. 8 takes the checkered flag at the end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans | Rolex photos

A Toyota Gazoo Racing prototype driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley won the 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race held in September for the first time since 1968, this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The race began with 59 cars on the grid. Another Toyota Gazoo car  started from the pole position and built a commanding lead by midway through the race, but it had to go to its garage for a turbocharger change. That handed the lead to the Buemi-Nakajima-Hartley car, which went on to the victory, the third in a row for the Toyota Gazoo team.

Racing action in the LMP2 class with No. 25 Algarve car leading G-Drive Racing No. 16

The victory also was the third in a row for Buemi and Nakajima. It was the second victory for Hartley, who won in 2017 driving a Porsche.

The Toyota that led midway through the race came back to finish third, 1 lap behind the runner-up. Taking second was Rebellion Racing, a Swiss team with a driver lineup that included Bruno Senna, nephew of F1 great Ayrton Senna. Rebellion finished 5 laps behind the winning Toyota, and another Rebellion car was fourth overall.

In the race’s other classes, United Autosports beat Jota to win the Le Mans Prototype 2 category. Aston Martin took victory in both the Pro and Am classes of the Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance category.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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