LM24 Hour 8: Toyota comfortably out front after incidents bookend the hour

Rainier Ehrhardt/Motorsport Images

LM24 Hour 8: Toyota comfortably out front after incidents bookend the hour

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 8: Toyota comfortably out front after incidents bookend the hour

By

After seven hours of drama, the Le Mans 24 Hours became metronomic as the teams and drivers settled in for the night. Only briefly, though, as an LMP2 incident right at the end of the hour brought the safety car out yet again and disrupted proceedings.

The most notable incident of the eighth hour of the race came in the Hypercar category. Toyota’s lead has been further solidified after Matthieu Vaxiviere had an off into the gravel trap at the first Mulsanne Chicane. The Frenchman lost the rear under braking and slid sideways off the track, getting his A480 beached and in need of extraction. The team lost a ton of time and slipped to fifth overall from third, three laps off the lead.

Barring any major dramas, Toyota is poised to win this race comfortably, as its GR010s sit 1-2, three laps clear of the nearest challenger, which is now the No. 708 Glickenhaus. The No. 708 has had a quiet, steady run thus far and now sits ahead of the entire LMP2 field and the Alpine, though it is now on an island, as it doesn’t have the raw pace to reel in the Toyotas.

The Alpine’s spin wasn’t the only drama of the hour though, as Hour 8 began, and ended, with cars retiring.

The Cetilar Racing was the first forced into retirement, Roberto Lacorte’s off into the barriers at Tetre Rouge after contact with Maxime Martin at the very end of Hour 7 forced the Italian team to retire a car in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the first time. To this point, Cetilar had finished every WEC race it featured in since 2017. The streak is over.

Then, at the end of the hour, Rui Andrade, the first Angolan to compete in the event, made an error on the run up to the Dunlop Bridge while running 15th in LMP2. In a similar accident to the shunt that ended the week early for IDEC Sport’s No. 17 ORECA in practice, Andrade lost the rear under braking and ended up hitting the tires backwards, the No. 25 G-Drive Racing Aurus suffering terminal damage as a result.

As for the running order in the other classes, like Hypercar, LMP2 is being controlled by a single team, as WRT’s ORECAs have emerged as favorites as we head into Hour 9. The No. 31 of Ferdinand Habsburg leading Robert Kubica in the No. 41. Best of the rest is United Autosports’ No. 22 ORECA, currently driven by Filipe Albuquerque.

In GTE Pro, AF Corse’s No. 51 Ferrari held the lead over the No. No. 63 Corvette once again as the hour ended. And in Am, the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari continues to hold station up front. The No. 33 TF Sport Aston is just nine seconds back having recovered from its off at the Mulsanne Chicane. It is set to make an out of sync stop though, so it should drop outside the top three during Hour 9.

HOUR 8 STANDINGS

IndyCar Debrief

More RACER