WEC: Nakajima praises ‘luck’ over the #8’s charge to Le Mans victory

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).

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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.