Winning the Le Mans 24H was ‘a dream come true’ for Jose Maria Lopez

Jose Maria Lopez described his first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory as a ‘dream come true’ after three years of coming second and third.

The three-time World Touring Car Champion had secured his maiden Le Mans win with Toyota GAZOO Racing since joining the team in 2017.

After Audi and Porsche left the championship, Toyota faced significantly less competition for the overall victory.

The #7 Toyota he drove suffered numerous unlucky circumstances, such as a dominant lead last year being put to a halt by a turbocharger replacement job.

The reigning LMP1 WEC World Champion said: “This is a dream come true. We came through a tough Le Mans.

“I have waited so many years for this win. I could not have asked for better teammates.

“Mike [Conway] and Kamui [Kobayashi] are like brothers to me and I am lucky to have them.”

(L to R) Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez – Credit: © TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

During his first season with Toyota, 2017, he failed to finish the Le Mans round.

The next three were followed up by two second-placed spots, plus P3 last year.

“And the team worked really hard. We take the glory, but there are 600 people in Cologne and 1,000 in Japan behind us.

“It was tough. The last six or seven hours weren’t easy, but we came through as a team.”

The #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid was put on pole position by Kamui Kobayashi, ahead of the Hypercar Le Mans debut.

At the start, the sibling Toyota was involved in contact from the #708 Glickenhaus Racing of Olivier Pla therefore putting them at the back of the GTE fields.

In contrast, the #7 started by Mike Conway asserted a strong getaway.

During the safety car periods, where there is one per sector (3), the #7 gained time over its #8 rival due to them being in different zones.

Lopez along with Conway and Kobayashi drove consistently to finish 2 laps ahead of the second-placed Toyota, landing the Japanese marque their fourth consecutive win.