Fernando Alonso is one step closer the completing racing’s Triple Crown after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans presented by Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard won the world’s most famous endurance race in his first shot helping bring the trophy home with Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastian Buemi who suffered heartbreak at La Sarthe in 2016. This was also Toyota’s first 24 Hours of Le Mans win, unfortunately, it will be overshadowed by a massively uncompetitive prototype class outside of the Japanese outfit.
Alonso’s #8 Toyota finished two laps ahead of sister car the #7 and 10 laps ahead of Rebellion in third. The #7 car lead as the race headed into the nighttime hours, it’s what Alonso did at night that has everyone talking. The driver regarded as the most talented on the F1 grid put in laps 2-4 seconds faster than Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 car as he pounded around Le Mans. “Tell me if you want another stint, eh? I’ve got into the rhythm of the night,” is what Alonso told the team as he halved the gap to the leader.
This was certainly the Fernando Alonso 24 Hours of Le Mans. There was a lot of speculation heading into the weekend that Toyota would establish the #8 car as the #1 in the team. That wasn’t the case as Kamui Kobayashi and company took the #7 car to the lead and barring the issues they experienced would have been there to battle the #8 car at the end. The #7 car held the lead until Nakajima reclaimed it after 16.5 hours, from there it was the #8 car’s race.
Toyota executed to perfection in 2018. After years of mechanical failure and retirements, the team finally put a complete race together. The only miscommunication was with the #7 car as they failed to pit when called in. Following the missed pit call the car was forced to limp around and serve two 60-second penalties. Other than that, it was a fairly event free race.
It wasn’t the most exciting race in recent years considering everyone knew the winning team going in. But like the Mercedes dominated era of F1, everyone went into the event hoping to expect the unexpected. After all, this is a race and no matter how clear-cut something seems Leicester City still won the title that one year. Anything can happen.
For Alonso, this cements his ever-growing racing legacy. He now has two Formula 1 World Championships, he’s won Monaco, he has won Le Mans, he competed admirably in the Indianapolis 500. We’ll be talking about what he did at night in 2018 at Le Mans for years to come. It’s not a shock the best driver in the world put in a performance worthy of that title. All his drive last night did was reassure everyone that given the proper car he would still be a force in Formula 1.
For everyone else, let’s just let Alonso be a race car driver. He’s the best of the best and we all know that now. Let him just go drive a car, there were a hundred other drivers this weekend that never saw media coverage.
Alonso should attempt the Indy 500 again though, he was a natural in his first run at the speedway. Should it be next year? Who knows but he has made it clear he will do it again before his career is up. Can’t wait to read the hot take blogs that is should be next year and every year after until he wins it. If he does win the Triple Crown to we retire him and let him stud at $200k a pop until he produces another Triple Crown winner?
Also, shout out to Juan Montoya who maybe had a chance to do this race with Porsche but was likely blocked by Penske a couple years ago. He could have been the second Triple Crown winner.
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