Remarkably, while a handful of cars have hit trouble, and a few more have had off-track excursions, there have been no retirements through the first six hours at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All 62 starters are still on track, and the pace is blistering as the sun begins to set.
Up front Toyota continues to control proceedings, with the No. 7 reclaiming the lead from the sister No. 8 when Ryo Hirakawa was delayed by a GTE car after rejoining the race from its eighth stop of the race just before the end of the hour. now close to putting a lap on the first of the two Glickenhaus 007s. Once all three rival cars in Hypercar are off the lead lap, barring any major dramas, this will become a two-horse race. The Glickenhaus 007 LMH has pace over one lap, but has to pit more often, isn’t as kind on its tires and is slower in the pits. This is however, still a very impressive run from Jim Glickenhaus’ team, which is doing a remarkable job once again at La Sarthe with cars that haven’t had anywhere near as much testing as the Toyotas or resources used to develop them.
In LMP2 it’s now a JOTA 1-2 with the No. 38 continuing to leads, although the order in the class continues to shuffle as pro and am drivers cycle in and out of their cars. Oliver Rasmussen in JOTA’s No. 28 though looks strong and has fought his way into the top three, although it will fall back and pit first in the group it currently is lapping as part of. PREMA is third, and continues to remain a contender here as does the Penske ORECA, which is fourth and shouldn’t be underestimated as this race wears on.
What is clear though, is that in the first half of this race the No. 38 has emerged as the car to beat. Will anyone be able to mount a challenge this side of Sunday?
In GTE Pro, the race has become somewhat of a three-horse race now. The No. 63 Corvette leads the way and looks the strongest of the bunch. The No. 64 is second, though the No. 92 Porsche spent almost the entire hour on its tail with Laurens Vanthoor looking for a chance to pounce on Alex Sims.
The No. 91 sister Porsche, on the other hand, has had its first major issue of the race. It was a self-inflicted one, as Fred Makowiecki was handed a drive-through for constant abuse of track limits. That will not gave gone down well in the Porsche pit; while it’s by no means a major blow, in a class like GTE Pro, with blistering pace and bulletproof reliability, you cannot afford to lose time to penalties.
In Am, it’s much the same at the very top of the order, where WeatherTech Racing’s Porsche leads by almost a minute over the No. 98 Aston Martin. Nicki Thiim is pushing hard to catch Cooper MacNeil. The No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche is now back up to third thanks to the pace of Harry Tincknell.