After a grim start to the night for many of the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours prototype entries, the crosshairs of misfortune have trained its gaze on the GT field as yet more dramas struck in the 11th hour of the race.
This time it was the GTE Pro No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche that found itself in the barriers at the Ford Chicane after Cooper MacNeil lost control going over the curbs. MacNeil went into the tire barrier nose-first, but the rear of the car also sustained damage as it pirouetted to knock the rear end for good measure.
Luckily, the car was not far from home and MacNeil nursed the wounded Porsche across the track and back to the hands of its mechanics were the team set to work. The car was running in sixth at the time of the incident, but has dropped to last in class as repairs continue.
— 24 Heures du Mans (@24heuresdumans) August 22, 2021
Apart from MacNeil’s crash, the No. 57 Kessel Racing Ferrari’s woes spilled over as the field spent the first quarter of Hour 11 with a slow zone in place as the clean-up continued at the entry to Tertre Rouge.
As always, the GTE Pro battle is shaping up to be an interesting one, the No. 63 Corvette and No. 52 Ferrari are slightly off sequence with the rest of the GTE field. This means the field has spent the last few stints exchanging the lead of the race.
For now, it’s the No. 51 Ferrari leading the No. 63 Corvette, but a pitstop for the No. 51 is looming that will likely promote Jordan Taylor and the No. 63 back to the front of the field.
Still leading overall is the No. 7 Toyota GR010 ahead of the No. 8 Toyota. The gap between the two cars is hovering around 10s. There was a brief moment of intrigue for the No. 8 Toyota as a fueling issue brought that car into the pits a few laps earlier than normal. The team told Sebastian Buemi there was nothing to be concerned about, however.
The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari’s stronghold on GTE Am has not been broken as Nicklas Nielsen set the car’s fastest lap of the race during the hour – firming up that team’s grip on the class. The No. 83 Ferrari leads by one minute over the No. 33 Aston Martin.
Team WRT still holds onto a 1-2 in LMP2 with the No. 31 ORECA maintaining a lead of fifteen seconds. The No. 22 United Autosports ORECA has moved up to third, with Philip Hanson looking to mount the first serious challenge that WRT has seen in the last few hours.