Kazuki Nakajima drove the #8 TS050 Hybrid to its third, consecutive and final Le Mans 24H victory, a cemented climb from the misfortunes of 2016 and 2017.
The #8 car achieved a third and consecutive victory in the hands of the #8 crew: Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima.
Buemi and Nakajima themselves claimed their third victory, whilst it was Brendon’s second win.
It was a first for the kiwi as a newcomer at Toyota GAZOO Racing team after replacing the seat of Fernando Alonso (who won twice with the other two).
In the traditional fashion, Nakajima (the Japanese driver) drove the final stints of the #8 to the end for the past three victories of the TS050.
Kazuki Nakajima said: “It is special to be in the last TS050 Hybrid to win Le Mans and to achieve three victories in a row is fantastic.”
Nakajima was in the #5 TS050 in 2016 when it broke down on the final lap, having led most if not all of the race up until the final minutes.
“We had a race of ups and downs but everybody did a really good job, include our sister car.
“Somehow we seem to have a bit more luck than the other car.”
The #8 car experienced problems with the brake cooling ducts and by the halfway point, it was certain that the pole-sitting #7 would be victorious after years of trying.
“When the #7 car had the [turbo and exhaust manifold] issue, it was all about winning the race for Toyota GAZOO Racing and this was quite tough,” reflecting on the #7s woes that forced it into a 30 minute repair job.
As Toyota resolved the brake-duct issues on the #8, Le Mans’ way with fate dismissed the strong pace of the #7 to turn fortune for the #8 car.
“I am really happy to achieve it and be part of this team,” the Japanese driver concluded as a three-time winner for the Japanese manufacturer.