LM24 Hour 9: Aston Martin takes back the GTE Pro lead

Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

LM24 Hour 9: Aston Martin takes back the GTE Pro lead

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 9: Aston Martin takes back the GTE Pro lead


With 15 hours remaining in the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours, it’s all beginning to shape up nicely. The weather is a real talking point at the moment. We’ve had sprinkles, but not enough to force any tire gambles. It feels like something is looming; it’s humid trackside, and windy, too. Is it now not a matter of if, but when, on the storm front?

The most entertaining battle of the hour came right at the end, Maxime Martin chasing down and passing Alessandro Pier Guidi’s No. 51 Ferrari to put the No. 97 Aston Martin back in the GTE Pro lead. Martin had lost the lead at the eighth round of stops, but the conditions trackside changing have swung the performance pendulum back Aston Martin’s way. It’s the car to have as we enter the night hours, it seems.

The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari still holds third, and comfortably so, Nicki Thiim 90 seconds back in the No. 95 Aston having lost valuable time during the slow zone/safety car sequences in recent hours. Will Thiim and his teammates be able to claw their way back, though?

LMP2 also continues to excite, the lead changing through each pit stop cycle. The contenders right now are the No. 26 G-Drive Aurus that leads; the No. 32 and 22 United ORECAS (sitting second and fourth respectively) and the No. 38 JOTA ORECA.

It’s all Michelin up front, the sole Goodyear contender being the No. 38. Which tire manufacturer will benefit from the incoming weather front? That is a question that looks to be answered by sunrise…

GTE Am is now controlled by TF Sport. Charlie Eastwood’s eighth pit stop was the first stop in the class from the leader that didn’t result in a lead change. Tom Ferrier’s team now holds a lead longer than a pit stop, in part because the 1-2 driver punch of Jonny Adam and Eastwood has been so strong.

The yo-yo race for the No. 98 continues with Ross Gunn now back up to second in class, but only just. Gunn is currently holding off Nicklass Nielsen in the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari. It is too early to think about the WEC championship points tally, but it’s worth noting that the No. 90, No. 98 and No. 83 are all in the title fight and the double-points score here is incredibly important ahead of the season finale in Bahrain.

LMP1 was static during the hour. The No. 7 Toyota continues to lead comfortably over the No. 8 sister car and No. 1 Rebellion. Unless something major happens the running order doesn’t look like it will change any time soon.