The TS050 may have faced minimal competition, but it is a three-time Le Mans winner.
Just as with the last two, Toyota’s 2020 Le Mans win was inevitable. The TS050 has been the sole factory entry racing at the top level of sports car racing, and its unmatched pace meant that only catastrophic failure could keep Toyota Gazoo Racing from a third consecutive overall win at the 24 hour classic.
Catastrophic failure did not strike.
The #8 Toyota suffered some minor issues, most notably losing a few laps to a brake duct repair early in the race, but it did not suffer anything nearly as significant as the turbocharger change the #7 was forced to undergo from the race lead overnight. That issue cost the #7 car, and drivers Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, and Mike Conway, their long-awaited Le Mans win, but it also opened the door the #8 entry to win for the third consecutive year. All three of Sebastian Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Brendon Hartley are now three-time winners themselves, although only Buemi and Nakajima are three-time consecutive winners for Toyota; Hartley replaced Fernando Alonso from last year’s lineup, and his overall win came with Porsche’s 919 program in 2017.
Five laps behind the winning car, Rebellion Racing finished a run of over a decade as a Le Mans privateer with a runner-up finish for their #1 R-13 of Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato, and Bruno Senna. Toyota’s #7 recovered to finish third, narrowly beating out Rebellion’s #3 entry after a respectable showing for both that team’s entries. The 1-2-3-4 finish overall for four of the five LMP1 entrants mark a quiet end to that class as the top of the field at Le Mans, with next year marking the first-ever race for the Hypercar category that will replace it.
In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin Racing’s #97 was locked in a heated, 18-hour battle with AF Corse’s two lead Ferraris after balance of performance adjustments left Porsche’s two entries well behind the pace throughout the race. As dawn began to break and the #71 AF Corse car began to suffer from mechanical issues, the #97 was finally able to create some separation on the #51 entry, and drivers Maxime Martin, Harry Tincknell, and Alex Lynn were able to take the win in the race’s other professional category. AF Corse Ferrari #71 and the #95 Aston Martin Racing entry would round out the class podium.
LMP2 was the most contested class of the race, but it was also the one that suffered the most from overnight attrition. The #22 United Autosports entry started on pole, but its win came after outlasting strong entries from JOTA, Jackie Chan DC Racing, G-Drive Racing, Panis Racing, and High Class Racing, among others. With the majority of that field suffering from some mechanical issue or another, the #22 United Autosports trio of Filipe Albuquerque, Philip Hanson, and Paul Di Resta were able to beat out the #38 JOTA and #31 Panis Racing entries to secure the top spot on that category’s podium.
Aston Martin Racing’s dominance in GTE-Pro was mirrored in GTE-Am, but late mechanical issues would cost their #98 a class win. Instead, their affiliated #90 TF Sport car of Jonathan Adam, Salih Yoluc, and Charlie Eastwood would win the day, followed by the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche and #83 AF Corse Ferrari on the class podium.
The 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans will look very different, headlined by the first year of a new Hypercar category that is expected to eventually grow into a flourishing combination of rule sets that will bring factories back to the world’s greatest endurance race. With the event expected to return to its traditional June date, that near future should begin in just nine months.