After an overnight penalty saw the No.8 Toyota fall two minutes behind its sister car, Kazuki Nakajima completed its fight back to the lead, getting past the No.7 of Kamui Kobayashi up the inside at Mulsanne Corner halfway through the hour.
Meanwhile, the sun is now fully risen, the fans are beginning to gather trackside again and on track a few drivers are beginning to make costly errors with two-thirds of the race complete.
The biggest one of the hour was made by Alex Sims in the No.82 MTEK BMW M8 GTE, with the Briton losing control of the rear going through the Porsche Curves, and the car flying backward into the barriers. He was able to continue, and head to the pits, but the team announced the car’s retirement.
That effectively puts BMW out of the running for a good finish, since the No. 81 had issues earlier. It has however, still been a positive week for the team, which showed real pace through the first half of the race, with the M8 proving to be one of the surprise packages in the field.
While Sims was returning to the pits, drama struck GTE Am too when the JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Jeff Segal had an off into the gravel. The time it took for the car to be hoisted back on to the track cost the car a huge amount of time, and the now-frustrated crew dropped from fourth in class to ninth.
That leaves the GTE standings as follows: In GTE Pro, it’s still a Porsche 1-2, the No.92 leading the No.91, with the No.68 Ford third (all three on the lead lap).
And in GTE Am, the No.77 Dempsey Porsche continues to control the race, Matt Campbell now driving, with the No.85 Keating Motorsports/Risi car second, with the No.54 Spirit of Race Ferrari third. Up to fourth, after a quiet run through the order is now the No.99 Proton (Black Swan) Porsche, the first car off the lead lap.
As the G-Drive ORECA is still dominating, the biggest news was the DragonSpeed ORECA’s Nathanael Berthon setting the fastest LMP2 time of the race (3m27.694s) so far. The car though, is now running a lowly 11th after a recent mechanical issue.