Fernando Alonso places his win in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour race on “a higher level than any other victory in Le Mans” despite the lack of a hybrid challenge to Toyota.
Toyota was the only LMP1 hybrid entry after withdrawals of Porsche and Audi from the category in recent seasons, but a number of teams ran non-hybrid LMP1 cars this year. Alonso’s No.8 Toyota — which he shared with Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi — led home the sister No.7 car and finished 12 laps clear of the third-placed Rebellion Racing entry. But the Spaniard insists the lack of other OEMs does not devalue the victory.
“How it feels? It feels great,” Alonso said. “Last year were only four cars, this year there were 10. I think there was much more opposition. This year we had the only hybrid system I think with 49 percent more efficient than any other car, and it was a great challenge. I put this victory in a higher level than any other victory in Le Mans.”
Those comments came after Alonso had earlier suggested the race was a straight fight between the two Toyotas.
“Obviously it has been a long-time dream for me to be there and to experience Le Mans. It’s great to have the first opportunity and be in a competitive team as Toyota, to dominate free practice, qualifying and the race.
“It was a competition between the two of our cars in the garage. In the end we got a little bit more lucky and a little bit more better set up. It feels great, and now back to F1, triple race now in three weekends, and quite busy between Monaco, Canada and Le Mans, and now these three.”
Now just lacking victory in the Indy 500 to complete the triple crown, Alonso says he will wait to see how the driver line-ups at the top three F1 teams of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull pan out before making a decision on whether he may return to Indianapolis next season.
“I didn’t think too much yet about this. As I said last year when I entered the Indy 500, that was a very attractive target to achieve the triple crown and be a little bit more complete driver, not only drive Formula 1 cars. With the Le Mans victory, it puts me a little bit closer to that target. I will think and I will see what I do next year.
“I think one thing that we need to wait and see a couple of months now is really the commitment of all the parties into F1 projects and to the future, what will be the seats that next year they move on and which will be the driver line-ups in some of the top teams as well.
“After that, let’s see what the future brings, also what the projects on the Indy 500 and the triple crown, whatever feels attractive. Right now, I’m still digesting a bit the Le Mans win, trying to enjoy every minute and not thinking too much about next year’s project.”