The two Toyota TS050 hybrids had started first and second, with the number seven vehicle leading but with the gap repeatedly narrowed by safety auto periods. "The race was not playing to us today, auto No.7 was quicker than us for the 24 hours, they really deserved the victory, but today the luck decided today that we would get the trophy".
"The world championship feels right at this moment".
Former F1 world champion Alonso was part of Toyota's winning team a year ago on his first outing at the event. However, a final-hour puncture (the second in as many hours) and some pit-lane drama centering on a bum tire sensor that triggered the replacement of the wrong wheel cost the No. 7 auto a storybook victory.
The #7 TS050 Hybrid looked to have an edge over the sister vehicle - and Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez looked well set for a straightforward victory over the #8 auto until drama struck the trio with just over an hour of the race remaining.More news: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel in development
The racing was punctuated by crashes, with Venezuelan former F1 driver Pastor Maldonado hitting the barriers at Tertre Rouge in the number 31 Dragonspeed LMP2 after daybreak and bringing out the safety vehicle.
Alongside the three ex-F1 drivers in the No. 8 auto, there were three other former F1 drivers on the podium, with Kamui Kobayashi in the No. 7 Toyota and Stoffel Vandoorne and Vitaly Petrov in the No. 11 SMP Racing, which finished third in the LMP1 class.
Although Alonso will not be with them in 2020, Toyota will be back after confirming they will enter a "hypercar" under new regulations aimed at boosting competition and trimming costs.More news: Eberle re-signs with Islanders for 5 years
The best of the non-hybrid LMP1s dropped off the lead lap early in hour five, and by the finish the third-placed vehicle, SMP Racing's #11 BR Engineering BR1, was six laps down on the winning auto.
The No. 3 Rebellion survived a crash with driver Thomas Laurent without too much loss, but had tough luck after driver Gustavo Menezes beached the auto into gravel at the Porsche curves with just over six hours to go. The early stages of the race saw a battle between Matthieu Vaxiviere in the TDS Racing No. 28 Oreca, with Nicolas Lapierre in the Signatech Alpine No. 36 Alpine and Jean-Eric Vergne in the G-Drive Racing No. 26 Aurus 01-Gibson.
The Corvette of Swiss driver Marcel Fassler spun after contact with the Porsche of Japan's Satoshi Hoshino who is driving for the team backed by film star Patrick Dempsey.
There was heartbreak for both Corvette, on the 20th anniversary of Chevrolet's modern-day Le Mans programme, following accidents, and likewise for Aston Martin, with both Pro-class Vantage entries falling within 20 minutes. "I'll be back in the future, perhaps in a hypercar or something else", he told the circuit's radio station.More news: Xiaomi to end MIUI Global Beta program in July