In 2018, Toyota the odds-on favourite came to the Sarthe to break its jinx and take on the Gods of Le Mans who, up till then, had always shown extreme cruelty by robbing the Japanese manufacturer of a triumph that seemed promised to it on several occasions, in particular: 1998, 1999, 2014, 2016 and 2017. Finally, the world no.1 car manufacturer broke the spell and emerged on top. Toyota honoured its rank and scored its first victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours on its 20th attempt as a works team clinching a double into the bargain! The win went to Sébastien Buemi from Switzerland and Kazuki Nakajima from Japan, who had just missed out on victory two years earlier, backed up by double F1 world champion, Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard, who was the star of this year’s race, added another jewel to the Triple Crown (victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Indy 500 and the Formula 1 World Championship title) that is the stuff of dreams. But the three drivers had to really push as their teammates never gave them an inch. Completing the podium was Rebellion Racing and its star from the Vendée Thomas Laurent who had hit the headlines a year earlier by finishing second overall and first in LM P2. This year the no. 26 Oreca 07 dominated this category before being disqualified in post-race scrutineering gifting victory to the Signatech Matmut team and Nicolas Lapierre-André Negrao-Pierre Thiriet.
Back in the GTE Pro category after a 7-year hiatus BMW was unable to prevent the Porsche 911 RSR “Pink Pig” from winning the category thanks to Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor. The Zuffenhausen firm also scooped the pool in GTE Am with the Proton Racing team co-owned by Patrick Dempsey with a little help from an 18-year-old French rookie called Julien Andlauer (remember this name). With Rafael Nadal as starter and Jacky Ickx as Grand Marshal the latest staging of the greatest endurance race in the world was full of interest. Relive it through the many marvellous photos on display in this annual!