Toyota wins 24 Hours of Le Mans.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid Hypercar, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

Round four of the FIA WEC, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, saw Toyota Gazoo Racing claim first and second overall in the Hypercar category, extending the team’s lead in the World Championship standings with two rounds remaining.

The No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez ended their streak of misfortune at Le Mans to take their first victory at the legendary 24 hour race which this year saw the return of a limited number of fans.

The Hypercar eventually finished two laps ahead of the sister No. 8 car with Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi sharing the wheel. The No. 7’s win today marks only the second time ever that an Argentine (Jose Maria Lopez) has won Le Mans and is the team’s seventh consecutive WEC race victory in a row.

Despite Toyota’s one-two result, it wasn’t always plain sailing for the Japanese squad. Indeed, the very first lap was drama-packed for the No. 8 crew as Olivier Pla in the No. 708 Glickenhaus entry made contact with Sebastien Buemi forcing the Swiss driver to stop for a system reset and down the leaderboard. Both Toyotas also suffered time loss with refuelling issues later in the race, but the team worked through the problem eventually taking the win.

French outfit Alpine Elf Matmut secured the third podium spot, the Alpine A480 Gibson driven by Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere finishing four laps behind the race-winning Toyota.

WEC debutants Glickenhaus Racing claimed fourth and fifth overall in its pair of Glickenhaus 007 Hypercars – the No. 708 and No. 709 sister cars successfully keeping out of trouble to make it to the finish in a bid to realise owner Jim Glickenhaus’ childhood dream of competing at Le Mans.

In the overall Hypercar championship standings, Toyota now leads Alpine by 51 points.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid Hypercar, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Podium, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

There was double delight for the AF Corse Ferrari team as they took victories in both LMGTE classes at the 89th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans today.

The No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo took a famous win as James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Come Ledogar combined to complete a dominant victory after leading for vast majority of race

For Calado and Pier Guidi it was a chance to celebrate a second victory in three years, while Ledogar took his first ever class win at Le Mans.

The No.51 trio managed to stretch a gap away from the No.63 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R driven by Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg which led in stages during off-set strategy pit stops.

The Corvette appeared to have better pace in the cooler night-time conditions but the Ferrari came to the fore in the morning as Calado especially was able to open up a gap after several impressive stints.

All three winning drivers completed faultless stints and while stablemates Sam Bird, Daniel Serra and Miguel Molina hit issues with a suspension problem, the No.51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo didn’t miss a beat.

The triumph for AF Corse ensured the Italian team celebrated its fourth LMGTE Pro win at Le Mans after successes in 2012, 2014 and 2019.

Pit Straight, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

Completing the podium and taking second placed FIA WEC points was the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 crew of Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Neel Jani.

They fought back from a chassis damaging accident in qualifying and an early off-track excursion to stay in touch in second position in the world championship standings behind new leaders Calado and Pier Guidi.

In the LMGTE Am category, AF Corse took its first category victory at Le Mans as the No.83 team of Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera claimed a third WEC victory of the season.

The trio picked up the lead on Saturday evening and managed to create a race winning gap to the TF Sport Aston Martin to seal a superb victory.

It ensured that Perrodo and Nielsen became Le Mans champions as well as reigning FIA WEC champions after completing faultless stints throughout the day and night. They also stretched their 2021 FIA WEC points lead as they attempt to go for back-to-back titles.

Rovera himself took a debut win after competing almost exclusively in Italian GT racing over the last few seasons.

TF Sport were just unable to get on terms with the AF Corse Ferrari but were ultimately compromised by a double puncture which occurred late on Saturday evening.

This caused Felipe Fraga to hit the tyrewall at the first Mulsanne chicane. But excellent work by the TF Sport team ensured only minimal time was lost in the actual pit-stop itself.

Rounding out the podium was the No.80 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GTE Evo crewed by Matteo Cressoni, Rino Mastronardi and Callum Ilott.

They enjoyed a fine race as Ferrari factory driver Ilott starred alongside his more experienced endurance teammates.

Iron Lynx enjoyed a successful weekend at only its second appearance at Le Mans as the No.60 car driven by Paolo Ruberti, Raffaele Giammaria and Claudio Schiavone took fourth position to move significantly up the points standings table.

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE Pro, Kevin Estre, Neel Jani, Michael Christensen, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

The story of the race was undoubtedly in the LMP2 category where Team WRT suffered a bittersweet victory on the squad’s debut at Le Mans.

The Belgian squad was on course for a hugely impressive 1-2 as the No. 41 crew of Louis Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Ye Yifei were leading home the sister No.31 car driven by Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi. However, Yifei Ye stopped on the final lap leaving Frijns to take over the lead in the No.31 car.

More action was to follow, however, as Frijns was forced to defend from the charging No.28 JOTA car belonging to Stoffel Vandoorne, Tom Blomqvist and Sean Gelael who were directly behind. The two cars were separated by just 0.7s as the chequered flag was waved with Blomqvist poised to swoop for the win but eventually finishing runner-up.

United Autosports completed a strong recovery drive as the No. 23 car driven by British trio Paul Di Resta, Alex Lynn and Wayne Boyd fought back from their accident on late Saturday evening to take fourth – one spot ahead of Panis Racing who claimed the third podium spot.

A solid performance from Inter Europol Competition sees the Polish team represented by Jakub Smiechowski, Renger Van der Zande and Alex Brundle round out the top five. The team enjoyed a close battle with United Autosports in the race’s closing stages with Brundle eventually losing a position to Di Resta.

The Pro-Am honours fell to DragonSpeed USA with its trio of drivers Juan Pablo Montoya, Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley making a superb fightback from a heavy accident in Free Practice to finish tenth in class and on top out of the eight Pro/Am teams entered.

#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson LMP2, Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg, Charles Milesi, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

A brief overview of how events unfolded during the 24 Hours Le Mans.

The six-hour Mark

No.7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Hypercar leads at a quarter distance after brief shower causes several accidents at the start of the sixth hour.

Kamui Kobayashi drives majority of third to six hours before handing over to Jose-Maria Lopez, who maintains a healthy lead over sister Toyota driven by Brendon Hartley.

Ferrari maintains 1-2 in LMGTE Pro, but all change in LMP2 as No.41 Team WRT car takes lead after multiple incidents occur as rain arrives.

No.33 TF Sport to the fore in LMGTE Am category after No. 98 Aston Martin car crashes heavily at the start of the fourth hour.

#33 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE Am, Ben Keating, Dylan Pereira, Felipe Fraga, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

Below are the main headlines following the first six hours.

•    No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Hypercar holds 70-second advantage overall and in Hypercar category after six hours racing at Le Mans
•    Brendon Hartley in No.8 Toyota closes the gap to No.7 car to 9-seconds in the fifth hour
•    But Jose-Maria Lopez, who takes over from Kobayashi extends the lead as Toyota splits cars tyre strategy with No.7 on slicks and No.8 on inters in changeable conditions
•    Andre Negrao takes over from Lapierre and drives a solid triple stint to keep Alpine ELF Matmut in third but after Mathieu Vaxiviere gets aboard Les Bleues drops to a lap down on Toyota pair in the sixth hour
•    Glickenhaus Racing fourth and fifth as No.708 car driven by Franck Mailleux and Pipo Derani take stints at wheel to lead sister car
•    Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe complete miles in No.709 Glickenhaus 007LMH as they place fifth

#708 Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus 007 LMH Hypercar, Luis Felipe Derani, Franck Mailleux, Olivier Pla, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

•    Intra Ferrari battle thrills crowds in second and third hours as Daniel Serra in No.52 AF Corse Ferrari and Alessandro PierGuidi in No.51 488 GTE Evo swap places three times on same lap intense battle for the lead
•    Serra pulls out the advantage to enjoy small gap but safety car in the fourth hour diminishes the advantage
•    But No.51 pulls gap before second safety car after Serra’s teammate Sam Bird in No.52 car is contacted by No.71 Inception Ferrari driven by Brendon Iribe
•    Ledogar takes over and extends lead for No.51 as racing resumes after safety car period
•    No.92 Porsche recovers from first hour incidents and runs third at six-hour mark with Michael Christensen and Neel Jani completing stints
•    Corvette Racing with Jordan Taylor driving in No.63 car takes over at front at the start of the fifth hour as they capitalise on pitting under slow zone close to pit entrance
•    But car drops to fourth after scheduled pit stops with Nicky Catsburg getting first race laps

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE Pro, Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Come Ledogar, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

•    Disaster strikes for No.38 JOTA car as Anthony Davidson spins in the gravel just after pit exit and loses full lap and falls to 19th in class at the end of the third hour
•    No.26 G-Drive Racing Aurus of Nyck de Vris, Franco Colapinto and Roman Rusinov takes over in lead with Colapinto holding off Job van Uitert initially
•    But No.28 JOTA car driven by Tom Blomqvist, after being started by Sean Gelael, picks up the lead in the fifth hour
•    They though suffer two penalties that drop it back down the order, the first for pit entry violation and second for safety car infraction.
•    No.23 United Autosports USA car of Alex Lynn, Paul di Resta and Wayne Boyd briefly lead between pit stops in the fifth hour
•    But the sixth hour brings high drama as several incidents occur as rain shower arrives
•    Frits van Eerd spins Racing Team Nederland car into gravel handing Pro-Am lead to No.70 Realteam car driven by Norman Nato
•    United Autosports USA then suffer damage to two of its three cars as Manuel Maldonado in No.32 car loses control under braking for Dunlop chicane and spears into di Resta’s No.23 car
•    Di Resta re-joins after repairs but drops down to 12th in class
•    Shortly after Franco Colopinto collides with Sophia Floersch in Richard Mille car on approach to Porsche Curves.
•    Knock-on incident claims Richard Mille car after it is struck by No.74 Racing Team India Eurasia car driven by Tom Cloet
•    Debris triggers the second Safety Car of the race but after six hours Julien Canal in Panis Racing car leads from No.22 United Autosports car with Fabio Scherer in the cockpit
•    Panis Racing take over the lead but pit just before the six-hour mark handing lead to Louis Deletraz in No.41 Team WRT entry
•    No.22 United Autosports maintains second from No.31 Team WRT car in third

#26 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 – Gibson LMP2, Roman Rusinov, Franco Colapinto, Nyck De Vries, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

•    No.33 TF Sport Aston Martin leads LMGTE Am class as Felipe Fraga and then Dylan Pereira takes stints at the wheel after Ben Keating completed opening stints
•    No.98 Aston Martin entry driven by Marco Gomes was running second when he crashed heavily at Indianapolis
•    Brazilian treated by the medical team at the scene but reported to have escaped injury
•    Cetilar Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo runs second for a period as Giorgio Sernagiotto takes over from Antonio Fuoco in the car they both share with Roberto Lacorte.
•    Car loses time at pit stop though as it has to make repairs to mirror but chose to replace the entire door
•    But in fifth and sixth hours the No.33 TF Sport still leads from No.83 AF Corse which is driven by Alessio Rovera
•    No.57 Kessel Racing Ferrari places third with Mikkel Jensen taking over at the wheel

#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE Am, Paul Dalla Lana, Nicki Thiim, Marcos Gomes, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

The 12 hour Mark
The No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar continues to lead the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the FIA WEC, extending its lead over the sister No. 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing car – which has reported fuelling issues – by over four minutes.

No.51 AF Corse Ferrari continues to lead LMGTE Pro, while Team WRT remains first and second in the highly competitive LMP2 category. No leader change in LMGTE Am with AF Corse Ferrari No. 83 car still at the helm.

Below are the main headlines from hours 12 – 18.

•    Toyota Gazoo Racing continues to lead the 24 Hours of Le Mans as No. 7 and No. 8 GR010 Hybrid Hypercars remain first and second respectively
•    No.7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid now with Kamui Kobayashi at the wheel carves out over four-minute lead following various issues for sister No. 8 car
•    No. 8 car – currently driven by Sebastien Buemi – reported vibrations in the car followed by refuelling issues meaning drivers aren’t able to carry out full stints before needing to pit
•    Team reported issue is getting worse with Toyota currently working hard to fix the issue ahead of race’s closing six hours
•    Alpine Elf Matmut remain third overall with Andre Negrao now at the wheel, the French squad regularly swapping positions following pit stops with the No. 708 Glickenhaus entry
•    Sister No. 709 Glickenhaus 007 Hypercar steadily making progress up the overall leaderboard and is now up to eighth overall, but still remains over two laps down on sister car

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid Hypercar, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

•    AF Corse Ferrari still on top in LMGTE Pro, with No. 51 car now around 20 seconds ahead of No. 63 Corvette Racing entry still with Jordan Taylor at the wheel
•    Porsche GT Team No. 92 and No. 91 911 RSR – 19s third and fourth in class respectively
•    Trouble for No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari after a front-right puncture and bodywork damage with Sam Bird driving at the time. Car immediately goes to the pits for length repairs where it still remains

#63 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE Pro, Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor, Nicky Catsburg, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

•    Belgian squad Team WRT continue to dominate the LMP2 category, with No. 31 Oreca 07 Gibson currently 40 seconds ahead of the sister car
•    Category leading No. 31 car sees Robin Frijns hands car over to Charles Milesi in 17th hour, with Frenchman putting in solid lap times to extend lead over sister car
•    The battle for the third position has been raging between hours 12 and 18 with JOTA and WRT regularly swapping positions for the final podium position
•    No. 28 JOTA driven by Sean Geleal currently third ahead of No. 65 Panis Racing entry and James Allen
•    Trouble-free few hours for Inter Europol Competition who currently occupy P5, one spot ahead of the No. 23 United Autosports car which is sixth in class
•    Heartache for No. 22 United Autosports USA after car is brought in with alternator issue and lengthy pit stop then leads to team replacing the battery. The car drops down the order with No. 22 now back of the class
•    No.25 G-Drive Racing officially retired following an impact at Dunlop Chicane in the early hours. It marks the third retirement in the category so far including Richard Mille Racing Team and the No. 32 United Autosports USA entry

#28 JOTA Oreca 07 – Gibson LMP2, Sean Gelael, Stoffel Vandoorne, Tom Blomqvist, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France

•    No.83 AF Corse still on top in LMGTE Am now with young gun Nicklas Nielsen at the wheel
•    TF Sport Aston Martin takes advantage of a drive-through-penalty given to category-leading No. 83 car but the British team are still over two minutes behind the leading Ferrari
•    No.80 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GTE Evo hold third in class, with Rino Mastronardi now back in the car
•    No. 88 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR – 19 pits with puncture and damage, dropping the team to 12th in class

#88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE Am, Julien Andlauer, Dominique Bastien, Lance Arnold, 24 Hours of Le Mans , Race, Circuit des 24 Heures, Le Mans, Pays da Loire, France