LM24 Hour 24: Toyota and Ferrari win Le Mans

Rainier Ehrhardt/Motorsport Images

LM24 Hour 24: Toyota and Ferrari win Le Mans

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 24: Toyota and Ferrari win Le Mans

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Toyota Gazoo Racing has begun the new era at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same manner it closed out the old one — with an overall and premier class victory.

The No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez took the first Le Mans victory in the new Hypercar class, completing 371 laps over 24 hours of racing as Kobayashi took the car to the checkered flag. It is a long-awaited first victory for the reigning world champion trio of Conway, Kobayashi, and Lopez, who have finished on the overall podium in the last three years but denied a place on the top step until today.

The No. 8 Toyota of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Kazuki Nakajima finished second, two behind the winning GR010 on the time sheets, but in the same frame of a photo finish over the line.

The overall and Hypercar podium is completed by the No.48 Alpine Elf Racing Matmut A480-Gibson of Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Matthieu Vaxiviere in third, marking a successful top class return for Alpine.

Glickenhaus Racing’s two 007-LMHs took the checkered flag in their first foray to Le Mans, with the No. 708 (Pipo Derani/Franck Mailleux/Olivier Pla) in fourth and the No. 709 (Ryan Briscoe/Romain Dumas/Richard Westbrook) in fifth.

Astonishing drama, the likes of which are always unique to the Grand Prix d’Endurance, unfolded on the final lap in the LMP2 class.

With victory assured, the No. 41 Team WRT ORECA 07-Gibson slowed to a halt past the Dunlop Chicane, just as Yifei Ye had started his last lap — denying himself, Robert Kubica, and Louis Deletraz the win.

That then elevated what was already a high-stakes battle for second place, between the No. 31 WRT ORECA of Robin Frijns and the No. 28 JOTA Sport ORECA of Tom Blomqvist, into an even higher-leverage battle for the class win.

Blomqvist pushed as hard as he could all the way to the checkered flag, but Frijns held on to secure the win by just seven tenths of a second.

A staple of GT racing for over a decade, Team WRT became the first team since 2012 to win the LMP2 class on its debut — and the first Belgian team to win in any class courtesy of the trio of Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg, and Charles Milesi, who all earned their first class wins at Le Mans.

Blomqvist, Sean Gelael, and Stoffel Vandoorne finished second for the No. 28 JOTA squad — and with the No.41 WRT ORECA failing to complete the last lap, the No. 65 Panis Racing ORECA (Julien Canal/James Allen/Will Stevens) snatched third place in LMP2.

LMP2 Pro-Am sub-class honors went to the No.21 DragonSpeed USA ORECA of Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley, and Juan Pablo Montoya.

For the first time, Ferrari stalwarts AF Corse have swept both GTE classes at Le Mans, taking their fourth GTE Pro victory and, astonishingly, the first GTE Am win under the AF Corse banner.

Their No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Come Ledogar secured the victory in the Pro category — the second GTE Pro victory for Calado and Pier Guidi, and the first for Ledogar.

The Chevrolet Corvette C8.R finished on the podium in its Le Mans debut with the No. 63 Corvette Racing C8.R (Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg) finishing second, 41.6s back of the winning AF Corse Ferrari.

The No. 92 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR (Kévin Estre/Neel Jani/Michael Christensen) ensured all three manufacturers were represented on the podium in third.

AF Corse’s maiden GTE Am victory was secured by its No. 83 Ferrari driven by Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen, and Alessio Rovera, each securing their first class victories as drivers, with a 1m41s margin of victory.

The No. 33 TF Sport Aston Martin AMR Vantage GTE (Ben Keating/Felipe Fraga/Dylan Pereira) held on to second in class, ahead of the No. 80 Iron Lynx Ferrari (Matteo Cressoni/Callum Ilott/Rino Mastronardi) in third.

Association SRT41’s No. 84 ORECA, anchored by paraplegic racers Takuma Aoki and Nigel Bailly, assisted by co-driver Matthieu Lahaye, took the checkered flag in 33rd overall, completing 334 laps.

Aoki, the former MotoGP premier class rider, took the checkered flag just as SRT41 founder Frederic Sausset did five years ago as a driver.

PROVISIONAL RESULTS

Full reports on each class to follow.

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