If this was a traditional Le Mans, we would be looking at the beginnings of sunrise. An August Le Mans 24 Hours, however, means the teams are looking at another few hours of darkness before sunlight arrives.
The No. 7 Toyota has moved back into the lead of the race after Kamui Kobayashi passed Brendon Hartley in the No. 8 Toyota. The pass wasn’t difficult, and it was easy to tell that both Toyota and their drivers know what they need to do with a three-lap lead on their nearest competitor, which is currently the No. 36 Alpine.
For some teams, that sunlight cannot come soon enough as another hour of darkness left us with new additions to the seemingly endless list of cars with incidents and problems. The most notable addition to that list was the No. 22 United Autosports ORECA and the No. 52 Ferrari, who were both in podium positions.
An alternator failure beckoned the No. 22 ORECA to the garage where it remains as the crew continues to replace the faulty part. With the No. 22 ORECA’s failure, the No. 65 Panis Racing ORECA moved up to third. Team WRT will also be able to breathe easier as their lead on the LMP2 field is now approaching an entire lap.
The No. 52 Ferrari, which was running second in GTE Pro, also ran into undetermined mechanical issues as a left rear suspension failure happened and pushed them to the garage. The car was still being worked on in the pits at the end of the hour.
The No. 82 Risi Competizione ORECA needed to spend 20 minutes in the garage for an unidentified issue.
Another GTE Am competitor also found problems, this time it was the No. 71 Ferrari who left their pit stall without the front left tire properly secured to the car. The wheel came off just as the car exited the pits leaving Ben Barnicoat to drive the full length of the track on three wheels – a lap that took 16 minutes.
— WRT – W Racing Team (@followWRT) August 22, 2021
In GTE Am, as they have done for almost the entirety of the night, the No. 83 Ferrari leads the race ahead of the No. 33 Aston Martin and the No. 80 Iron Lynx Ferrari. The GTE Am battle has been steady for a number of hours.
The No. 51 Ferrari is still leading in GTE Pro ahead of the No. 63 Corvette. The Corvette can factor into the mix when the pit stop cycle falls their way, but the No. 52 Ferrari looks strong. The pair of Porsches – No. 92 and No. 91 – are barely holding onto the lead lap. Unless they can find pace when day breaks, they look set to watch the race for the win rather than compete in it.
The No. 31 ORECA is back in the lead of LMP2 after taking over control of the race from their teammates in the No. 41 ORECA. Ye Yifei had previously moved the No. 41 into the lead last hour, but Ferdinand Habsburg took the lead back for the other side of the Team WRT garage.