There are 14 hours to go and all of a sudden the halfway mark is almost upon us. This has been a pretty entertaining edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours thus far – certainly in LMP2 and the two GTE classes. It’s too early to pick a winner from any of them.
Hour 10 saw yet another LMP2 contender hit trouble, this race turning into a rare one of attrition in LMP2. Usually bullet-proof, the ORECA 07s in the field have looked rather vulnerable today. The latest high-profile casualty is the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Aurus (an ORECA 07 re-badged), which held the lead early in the hour between pit cycles, but lost power.
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) September 19, 2020
Roman Rusinov slowed to a stop and had to re-fire the car multiple times to get round the rest of the lap, having suffered the issue just after exiting the pits. The team was, remarkably, not ready for Rusniov after his slow tour of the circuit, which meant he had to complete a second slow lap.
The time lost was huge. The issue didn’t take long to repair once he returned to the garage, but the race is effectively over for the car, which looked to be a contender throughout the opening hours, especially with Jean-Eric Vergne (photo at top) at the wheel.
The further bad news emerged from G-Drive, the team’s Algarve Pro-run Aurus confirmed as a retirement after a multitude of electrical issues. The trio of Nick Tandy, Oliver Jarvis and Ryan Cullen looked to be a real favorite on paper; in practice, though, it was a rather miserable 10 hours for the trio, with issues and a collision at Indianapolis after a Cullen spin ending in a premature retirement.
The other LMP class, meanwhile, remains static. This is truly Toyota’s race to lose now. The No. 7 is undergoing a faultless run and is on course for the win.
Then we have the GTE classes. GTE Pro still sees the No. 97 Aston Martin lead. Maxime Martin is on a tear as we head into Hour 11, the Belgian pulling clear of the grasp of Daniel Serra in the No. 51 AF Corse 488 GTE EVO. The gap is now 16 seconds, and growing. The No. 71 Ferrari sits third, with the No. 95 Aston still fourth.
— WEC (@FIAWEC) September 19, 2020
GTE Am saw a lead change yet again, meanwhile. It’s evidently the No. 98 Aston Martin’s turn to lead the class after it looked like the TF Sport Vantage had taken control. Ross Gunn leads the way after a longer stop for TF for a driver change caused Jonny Adam to emerge second after Charlie Eastwood’s latest stint.
Behind, it’s still a duel between the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari and No. 56 Project 1 Porsche for third and fourth.