It was a foregone conclusion, yet it was anything but. On Sunday, Toyota's Gazoo Racing team notched its second 1-2 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in as many years.
It's an impressive achievement and Toyota's was a dominant performance. Yet the win didn't come without some surprises, including a costly final-hour gaffe that resulted in the longtime race-leading car No. 7, of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria López, slipping into second place.
It was no surprise that the pair of Toyota TS050 hybrid racers would dominate the 87th running of France's legendary endurance race from the opening laps to the close of the 24th hour. They were the only factory-backed cars contesting the top-tier LMP1 class. But a final-hour puncture (the second in as many hours) and some pit-lane drama centering on a bum tire sensor triggered the replacement of the wrong wheel, costing the No. 7 car a storybook victory. Instead, the No. 8 car of Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, took the checkered flag, taking the FIA WEC series win in the process.
Toyota's 1-2 finishing order results mirror those of last year.
Also taking home class wins were the No. 36 Signatech Alpine (LMP2); No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE (GTE Pro) and the No. 85 Ford GT of Keating Motorsports (GTE Am class). The win was something of a redemption for the Blue Oval, as the automaker's own factory-backed effort failed to finish better than fourth place in GTE Pro in the car's last race.
For full race results, see the race's official site, 24LeMans.org.