The eighth hour of the race has come to a close and we’ve just gone green after another safety car period at Le Mans. The safety car had to make its third appearance due to the heavy machinery being moved away from the barriers that were undergoing repairs after Tristan Gommendy’s huge accident during the previous hour.
In terms of dramas, there were plenty. The No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA got going again after losing power in Hour 7. Gabriel Aubry fired the car up and limped back to the pits. The mechanics diagnosed it as an electrical issue and are currently replacing a loom. It is not a small job. The No. 16 Algarve Pro-run G-Drive Racing Aurus meanwhile, also ended up back in the garage again, this time for a steering wheel change.
Elsewhere in LMP2, the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Aurus has also hit trouble. It led the class at the top of the hour, with Jean-Eric Vergne defending hard from Alex Brundle in the No. 32 United Autosports. But the car was called in for a drive-through for a slow-zone infringement, dropping it to second. Brundle now leads.
— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) September 19, 2020
Behind Vergne sits the first of the Goodyear runners, the No. 38 JOTA ORECA of Anthony Davidson. The No. 22 United ORECA of Filipe Albuquerque is fourth. Matthieu Vaxiviere is fifth, a quiet run for Panis Racing is paying dividends, the car firmly a contender now.
At the top of GTE Am, the No. 75 Iron Lynx Ferrari, having fought its way to the lead in recent hours, also hit trouble. It was pushed into the garage for repairs to the front end. This meant the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari of Nicklas Nielsen has inherited the lead. The Dane is running just half a second up from Charlie Eastwood in the TF Sport Aston Martin. Matteo Cairoli has steered the No. 56 to third, with the No. 98 Aston Martin now down to fourth, Ross Gunn back in.
GTE Pro is still very much Ferrari vs Aston, the No. 97 Vantage of Alex Lynn currently holding onto a 1.9-second lead over the No. 51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi. Miguel Molina sits third, a minute further back. The No. 95 Aston of Nicki Thiim is fourth but now a lap off the lead.
After spending much of the race so far at the back of the Pro field, Risi Competitzione now finds its Ferrari up to fifth, a pleasant surprise for the fan-favorite IMSA-regular.
— WEC (@FIAWEC) September 19, 2020
Up top in LMP1, normal service has resumed. The No. 7 Toyota leads, over the No. 8 Toyota by a lap. The No. 8 is now back ahead of the No. 3 Rebellion after the brake cooling issue was fixed in the garage under the second safety car period. Rebellion is still in with a shout if any more reliability issues or incidents hit the Toyotas. But it’s going to take something major for the Swiss-flagged team to get back onto the lead lap again.
On the weather front, the track has been declared wet after Porsche’s drivers reported rain at Mulsanne Corner. As it stands it’s very light rain, and localized. More showers are expected though in the coming hours. It will be interesting to see how it affects the race…