Toyota won the 2018 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking the first time ever that the Japanese automaker has taken home a win.
The historic win is made more monumental by the fact that not only did Toyota take first place, but it also took the number two spot. Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso in the #8 TS050 Hybrid started from pole position and took the chequered flag, while Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López finished behind in the #7 TS050 Hybrid.
The victory marks only the second time in history that a Japanese automaker has won the race. Little ol’ Mazda won it back in 1991.
A jubilant Kazuki Nakajima stated:
“It’s great to be here finally; it has been a long time. I am almost speechless. I had great team-mates and Toyota gave us a very strong car. We finished the race without any issue on both cars so I feel we all deserved to win the race. To win this race has been a big dream for all of Toyota since 1985. There have been many people involved in this project so I am proud to be here to represent all that effort.”
Before this win, Toyota had entered 47 cars at Le Mans and finished on the podium six times.
2020 Corvette C8.R Is Chevy’s First Mid-Engine GTLM Race Car
The race car will make its racing debut at the 2020 Rolex 24.
The automotive world anticipated a new Corvette Convertible would make its debut in early October, but few expected the 2020 Corvette C8.R race car to be unveiled alongside it.
The C8 Corvette is the first Corvette to have a mid-engine layout and a duel-clutch transmission, while the new Corvette Stingray Convertible is the first Corvette to have a power-folding retractable roof. In yet another first for the iconic nameplate, the Corvette C8.R is Chevy’s first mid-engine GTLM race car.
“The C8.R is much more than just a race-tuned version of the 2020 Corvette Stingray. It’s a culmination of many years of testing and development between GM Design, Propulsion, Engineering and the Corvette Racing team,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president of Performance and Motorsports. “The collaboration between these teams has allowed us to take these vehicles’ performance to the next level, both on the street and the track.”
Unfortunately, aside from what we see, Chevy didn’t reveal much details about the race car. A massive diffuser dominates the rear, and there’s plenty of new aero features all around.
As for what breathes in the engine bay, there is a good chance its a version of the 6.2-liter V8 found in its predecessor, or possibly some variation of Cadillac’s Blackwing twin-turbo DOHC V8.
The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R makes its racing debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Mazda3 TCR Race Car Gears Up With Big Wing, 350 HP For Racing
It wasn’t built your local streets.
Mazda has introduced a hotter version of the new Mazda3, but don’t get too excited if plan on driving it on public roads.
Based on the Mazda3 hatchback, the Mazda3 TCR is a thoroughbred race car specifically engineered to comply with the TCR regulations, making it eligible to take part in any of the 36 TCR-sanctioned championships around the world.
It features a very aggressive body kit that adds wider fenders, a massive rear spoiler, a chunky front splitter, a prominent rear diffuser, and a single exhaust tip positioned right in the middle. It rolls on 18-inch Rays wheels wrapped around in Michelin Pilot tires and uses Bilstein or, optionally, Öhlins dampers.
Power is provided by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can rev up to 7,000 rpm and produces a healthy 350 horsepower and 361 pound-feet of torque, channeled to the wheels by a six-speed paddle-shifted transmission or an optional Xtrac setup. Top speed is reached at 150 mph (241 km/h), while Brembo brakes do the stopping.
The Mazda3 TCR will take part in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and makes its racing debut at the four-hour Endurance Challenge part of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Sunday, January 26.
If Mazda ever decides to make a street-legal version of the hot hatch, it will take on the likes of the limited-run Volkswagen Golf TCR.
Volkswagen ID.R Sets New Nurburgring EV Record
The all-electric race car is now the second-fastest to lap the ring, behind the Porsche 919 LMP1.
Volkswagen’s ID.R race car has set a new lap record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife for electric cars. With driver Romain Dumas at the helm, it completed the 12.9-mile course in 6:05.336 minutes at an average speed of nearly 129 mph (208 km/h).
Originally developed for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the ID.R was later optimized to conquer the legendary Green Hell. The impressive lap time makes it second-fastest car on the Nürburgring, just 5 seconds behind Timo Bernhard’s 5:19.55 record set in 2018 in a Porsche 919 Evo LMP1 prototype race car.
“A great future for this car!” Dumas stated. “We will continue to push on it and we will see what we can achieve in the future.”
In related news, Volkswagen is building its first factory dedicated to electric cars.