The Toyotas controlled the race nearly from the very off, with the Number Eight vehicle - driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso - looking the likely winners from the moment they overtook their Toyota team-mates just after 6am on Sunday morning. With a one-two finish they became only the second Japanese vehicle company, after Mazda in 1991, to win the world's greatest endurance race.
The 36-year old Spaniard and team-mates Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi secured a two-lap victory. In 2016, Nakajima had also been heading for victory when he slowed with five minutes remaining and came to a halt with victory falling into Porsche's lap.
Jacky Ickx, six-time victor at Le Mans, drove the lead auto on the warm-up as race Grand Marshall saying he accepted the position "because it was the only way for me to be in front of him (Alonso) one day". "When you look at the past, 2016 in the last lap, and Kazuki was going to be in the vehicle for the last few laps so lots of emotions really".
Toyota, who competed with a hybrid vehicle in the top LMP1 class, proved too strong for their rivals running non-hybrids and completed a one-two when their number seven auto - shared by Briton Mike Conway, Japanese Kamui Kobayashi and Argentinian Jose Maria Lopez - finished second.
Alonso made his race debut with a feisty two hour and 43 minute stint, after Buemi had led away from pole position, and handed over in the lead. Toyota changed the rear bodywork at the first pit stop before making another modification after Alonso's shift.
It was a dramatic start and one which cost another former F1 driver, Jenson Button, as he couldn't regain the time that he'd lost early on.
Alonso, a double F1 world champion, was the star turn here as he became the sixth driver to complete the Monaco-Le Mans double after Tazio Nuvolari, Maurice Trintignant, Bruce McLaren, Jochen Rindt and Graham Hill.
Alonso has twice previously triumphed in the Monaco Grand Prix, and now has only the Indy 500 left to win.
The 2018 edition is the first time that double Formula One world champion Alonso has competed in Le Mans.