Ferrari took their first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in 58 years, with Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi taking the top titles ahead of Toyota in the race’s centenary edition.
On the Italian manufacturer’s return to top-flight competition at Circuit de la Sarthe with the new 499P Le Mans Hypercar, the crew handed the No. 51 Ferrari its first outright Le Mans victory since Masten Gregory and Jochen Rind took top honors in 1965.
Pierre Guidi captured the checkered flag at 1 minute 21 seconds ahead of the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa.
The No. 2 Cadillac V-Series car finished last on the podium, with Alex Lane, Earl Bamber and Richard Westbrook sharing a lap behind the winning Ferrari.
In a very attritional race, the battle for the lead boiled down to a straight battle between the #51 Ferrari and the #8 Toyota, although it was the 499P that seemed to have the advantage over sheer speed for most of the second half of the race.
After struggling in the hands of Pierre Guidi in the first Mulsanne chicane of the evening hours, the No. 51 Ferrari was back in the lead and almost a minute clear of the Toyota, but the gap was virtually wiped out when Pierre Guidi was forced to perform a power-cycle at his pit stop at 19 o’clock.
This put Toyota back into contention, with the two leaders taking turns just seconds apart at this point in the race, but Ferrari had already begun to assert their advantage when Hirakawa exited in the penultimate hour of the battle.
Hirakawa lost it under braking at Arnage, hitting the barriers, but was able to get the damaged No. 8 car into the pits and was sent on its way without losing a lap.
There was a slight scare for the No. 51 car in the closing stages as Pierre Guidi was forced into another power lap with 23 minutes to go, but his advantage over Toyota was such that he was able to resume a clear lead before going on to make history for Ferrari.
The second-placed Cadillac had a largely clean run, save for a spin for Westbrook in the overnight hours, but sister car No. 3 Chip Ganassi Racing suffered a more eventful time en route to a fourth-place finish.
Sebastien Bourdais was finished from behind by a GTE Am car at the Dunlop chicane during an early slow area sending the car to the garage for repairs There was a similar incident Bourdais was involved with one of the WRT cars at Tertre Rouge just as the Frenchman came back to the front in the night .
In the end, Bourdais and teammates Ringer van der Zande and Scott Dixon finished three laps down in fourth, followed by the No. 50 Ferrari of Niclas Nielsen, Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina in fifth.
The pole-winning car had already been out of contention for the lead after a pit stop for Nielsen at the Porsche Curves during one of two evening-hours showers, then lost several laps overnight due to an energy recovery system fluid leak.
The two remaining hypercar manufacturers, Peugeot and Porsche, endured races to oblivion.
Peugeot had both funky 9X9s in the heat of a lead battle early on, but a spin in the wet for Jean-Eric Vergne in the No. 93 car at the Mulsanne corner cost that car two laps, while Gustavo Menezes suffered a crash in the sister machine No. 94 in the first Mulsanne chicane. in the early hours.
Both Peugeots were then taken to the garage with hydraulic problems, with the better of the two, the No. 93 Vergne shared with Paul di Resta and Mikkel Jensen, finishing eighth.
Porsche endured a more miserable showing with its trio of Penske entered 963 LMDhs, all of which suffered multiple delays.
The No. 75 3rd Series Porsche became the first Hyper to retire with a fuel pressure problem, before a crash at Porsche Curves for Kevin Esther took the marque’s best-placed car, the No. 6, out of contention before losing more time to replace it. . hybrid battery.
The No. 5 Porsche was on its way home in fifth place, after suffering delays due to a puncture and a cooling system leak, before finally suffering an unspecified mechanical problem in the final hour that dropped it to ninth.
The late drama paved the way for boutique manufacturer Glickenhaus to claim possibly sixth in the factory-dominated Hypercar class with the #708 entry shared by Oliver Pla, Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe, just ahead of sister car the #709.
That was despite multiple conversions involving both non-hybrid 007 LMHs, including near-identical weights Pla and Esteban Gutierrez at Indianapolis.
The #51 Ferrari only completed 342 laps en route to victory, the fewest laps achieved by a race winner since Audi in 2001.
LMP2: Inter Europol scores underdog win
#34 Inter Europol Oreca 07 – Gibson Off Jakub Smichowski, Albert Costa, Fabio Scherer
Photography: Eric Le Galliot
Poland’s Inter Europol competition team won the LMP2 class with the No. 34 ORECA shared by Jakub Smichowski, Albert Costa and Fabio Scherer – who incredibly fractured their foot during the race.
Swiss driver Scherer sustained an injury when a Corvette GTEM left-footed him during a round of pit stops, but that didn’t stop Inter Europol from winning their first World Endurance Championship on the biggest stage ever.
Inter Europol was leading for the final eight hours of the race, and survived several investigations for pit stop violations in the closing stages to beat the Team WRT car No. 41 of Luis Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Rui Andrade by 21 seconds.
Duquesne took the final podium spot with Neil Jani, Rene Binder and Nico Pino, aided by a late edition of the second of the WRT ORECAs, the No. 31 car, which was brought into the pits with a suspected suspension problem during the 11-minute Togo.
Alpine’s main competitor, the No. 36 machine of Charles Milesi, Mathieu Facsiviere and Julien Canale, was promoted to fourth, with the No. 31 car of Robin Frijns, Sean Gilael and Ferdinand Habsburg fifth after late dramas.
United Autosports suffered a nightmare race, with both ORECAs involved in accidents. The No. 23 car was running eighth after an overnight accident by Tom Blomqvist necessitated a trip to the medical center where the car’s medical alert was sounded.
GTE: Corvette gives the C8.R a win and a goodbye
#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R by Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, Nicholas Farone
Photography: Mark Flory
Corvette Racing took a fitting final victory for the GTE machines at Le Mans, before the class folded in favor of the 2024 GT3 cars.
That was an outcome that seemed unlikely early in the race, as the solo C8.R pulled into the garage for 10 minutes to replace a front damper, lost two laps, and then failed to regain a lap during a safety car procedure early afterwards. The cars were released from the pits early on.
However, a smooth run after that combined with the fast pace from Nicky Catsburg, Nico Varrone and Ben Keating allowed them to regain lost ground, and the No. 33 machine finally came back up on the lead lap by the 16th hour.
By the twenty-first hour, the Corvette was established in the lead at the expense of the all-female Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Rachel Frey, Michelle Gatting, and Sarah Bovey.
Frey was demoted to another position by ORT by TF Sport’s Aston Martin Vantage, which had lost out on the night with a puncture and a penalty awarded to Ahmed Al Harthy for passing behind the safety car.
In the final tally, the No. 33 TF Sport car of Al-Harthi, Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood finished two minutes behind the Corvette, with the GR Racing Porsche of Michael Wainwright, Ben Parker and Riccardo Pera denying the Iron Dames car a last-place finish. The platform is in the closing stages.
There was late drama for the AO Racing – Project 1 Porsche named Rexy, which was in contention for the podium but was forced into the garage due to a rear right corner problem.
The Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 NASCAR Cup car, shared by Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button and Mike Rockenfeller, was classified 38th after a series of delays in the final stages due to apparent gearbox problems.
A total of 39 of the 62 starters were seeded, the lowest number since the 2015 race.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Race Results:
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