Toyota on top in FP1 at Le Mans


The first practice session of the 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans saw Brendon Hartley clock the fastest time in the #8 Toyota GR010-Hybrid, ahead of the pair of Glickenhaus 007 LMH challengers. The leading LMP2 prototype, the United Autosports USA #23 Oreca 07-Gibson, shook the Hypercar frontrunners late in the session, pushing the #7 Toyota down to fifth.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid Hypercar: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez,2022 Le Mans 24 Hours, Free Practice 1, Circuit des 24 Heures, Pays da Loire, France

Cloudy skies and a temperature of 21°C greeted the 62 cars heading out for the first free practice session of the 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans today at 14:00 local time. With just one three-hour period on the track before qualifying later in the day, this all-important session was vital to get the cars into shape before that 60-minute quest to make Thursday’s Hyperpole.Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota GR010-Hybrid, the fastest car on Test Day (3:29.896), was among the first group out of the pit lane. Sébastien Buemi in the #8 sister car set the first mark of the day on his third lap. However, Franck Mailleux in the #709 Glickenhaus 007 LMH soon demonstrated that the Toyota Gazoo Racing racers would not have things all their own way with a 3:29.917 time on lap 6, placing the American outfit at the top of the timesheets for over two hours. After early issues that forced a pit stop, Pipo Derani in the #708 car moved up to second on his 10th lap. Brendon Hartley took over the wheel of the #8 Toyota with barely 20 minutes remaining and promptly went around in 3:29.441, the best time of the session.

The fifth Hypercar entry, the #36 Alpine A480-Gibson, finished with the eighth time overall behind the two leading LMP2 entries.The performance of the session was undoubtedly the work of United Autosports USA’s Alex Lynn who recorded an impressive time of 3:30.238 in the #23 Oreca 07-Gibson in the final minutes of the session, putting the leading LMP2 in fourth place overall, ahead of the #7 Toyota GR010-Hybrid. The #38 Oreca 07-Gibson of JOTA was second fastest in the class. The Prema Orlen Team’s #9 Oreca 07-Gibson put in a rapid second lap and sat in second place for most of the session until it was eclipsed by JOTA racer António Félix da Costa in the latter stages. Meanwhile, the 2021 Le Mans-winning Team WRT #31 Oreca 07-Gibson experienced brake problems that hampered the early part of the session before recovering to fourth in class.

It was a troublesome session for the AF Corse crews, most notably for the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Pro entry. A full engine change kept Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra out of the session. James Calado managed to put in just four laps before the chequered flag. No such issues for the pair of Chevrolet Corvette C8.R challengers that topped the LMGTE Pro standings with the #63 in 3:53.250 squeezing the #64 sister car out of top spot by a tenth of a second. The Porsche GT Team #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 finished third fastest.

WeatherTech Racing’s #79 Porsche 911 RSR-19 headed the LMGTE Am class with a time of 3:55.082 clocked on just lap 3. Another Porsche followed in the shape of GR Racing’s #86 entry that spent the early part of the session pitting after every lap before eventually crossing the finish line on lap 9. TF Sport’s #33 Aston Martin Vantage AMR – runner-up in the 2021 race – rounded out the top three in the category.FP1 Top 5:

#8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 3:29.441
#709 Glickenhaus 007 LMH – Glickenhaus Racing – 3:29.917
#708 Glickenhaus 007 LMH – Glickenhaus Racing – 3:30.102
#23 Oreca 07-Gibson – United Autosports USA – 3:30.238 (1st LMP2)
#7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid – Toyota Gazoo Racing – 3:30.403
Best times in the other classes:

LMGTE Pro: #63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R – Corvette Racing – 3:53.250
LMGTE Am: #79 Porsche 911 RSR-19 – 3:55.082