Formula 1
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
45 days
MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
22 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
28 days
Formula E
R
Rome ePrix
10 Apr
Next event in
36 days
NASCAR Cup
28 Feb
Event finished
R
Las Vegas
07 Mar
Race in
3 days
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
42 days
23 Apr
Next event in
49 days
WEC
04 Apr
Race in
31 days
R
Spa-Francorchamps
01 May
Race in
58 days
Supercars
27 Feb
Event finished
R
Sandown
18 Mar
Next event in
13 days

Le Mans 24h, H1: Conway's Toyota leads, early drama in LMP2

Toyota's Mike Conway is leading the 88th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours after one hour of racing, while reliability issues hit two LMP2 frontrunners.

The start of the 88th edition of the race was held without fans in attendance but with the same traditional ceremony at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Polesitter Mike Conway made a good getaway in the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, while stablemate Sebastien Buemi in the #8 car tried to put pressure on second-starting Bruno Senna in the #1 Rebellion.

Senna held on to second through the Esses and then proved a handful for Buemi to pass, the Rebellion being comfortably quicker on the straights. The second #3 Rebellion of Nathanael Berthon followed in fourth, with the #4 ByKolles of Tom Dillmann bringing up the rear of LMP1.

Berthon pitted early after seven laps, followed by Senna and Buemi on lap eight and leader Conway after nine tours. Thanks to a quicker pitstop by the Toyota crew, Buemi leapfrogged the Brazilian for second, while Conway comfortably kept his lead.

However, a puncture for Buemi that forced an extra pitstop dropped the #8 car back to fourth behind the second Rebellion after the first hour.

In LMP2 Filipe Albuquerque held onto the lead in the polesitting #22 United Autosports Oreca and he quickly pulled a gap to Giedo van der Garde in the #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca, who passed G-Drive’s Jean-Eric Vergne at the start.

The pair was quickly put under pressure by fast-starting Alex Brundle in the #32 United Autosports car, who passed both Vergne and Van der Garde to put the Anglo-American outfit first and second.

The #36 Signatech Alpine, one of the contenders for the win, lost early ground when Andre Negrao disappear into the garage with a loss of water pressure. Negrao’s repairs cost him two laps.

Van der Garde similarly hit water pressure issues early on and was forced to enter the garage.

During the first set of regular pitstops, Kenta Yamashita vaulted up the order to second in the #33 High Class Oreca, around seven seconds behind leader Albuquerque. By then end of the first hour, Brundle had lost third to James Allen in the #39 Graff Oreca.

Gianmaria Bruni initially hung onto the GTE Pro lead in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19, but was powerless to keep AF Corse #51 car of James Calado behind. The Aston Martin duo of Alex Lynn and Nicki Thiim soon followed Calado through to occupy second and third, followed by the second AF Corse of Davide Rigon and both factory Porsches.

Lynn then blasted past Calado in his #97 Aston to take over the class lead after 20 minutes, a lead which he held after the first round of pitstops ahead of Miguel Molina in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari and Thiim.

In GTE Am, polesitting Oswaldo Negri Jr quickly fell down the order, with Team Project 1’s Porsche works driver Matteo Cairoli taking the lead. Cairoli was then overtaken by Ross Gunn in the #98 Aston Martin, who remained in the lead during the first hour. TF Sport's Charlie Eastwood occupied second at the top of the hour ahead of Cairoli.

There was early drama in the class when Negri lost the rear of his Ferrari under braking for the Dunlop chicane, which forced the #88 Porsche of Thomas Preining to take evasive action. Preining went onto the grass and was unable to prevent his car from clattering into the barriers, becoming the first retiree of the race.

Nobuya Yamanaka caused a second slow zone by spinning off at exactly the same spot in the #35 Eurasia LMP2 entry, just after Claudio Schiavoni spun off in the #60 GTE Am Iron Lynx Ferrari at the Ford chicane. The Japanese driver was able to continue.

shares
comments

Related video

The 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours entry list in full

Previous article

The 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours entry list in full

Next article

Le Mans 24h, H4: Toyota strengthens 1-2 lead

Le Mans 24h, H4: Toyota strengthens 1-2 lead
Load comments

About this article

Series Le Mans
Event 24 Hours of Le Mans
Sub-event Race
Author Filip Cleeren
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Prime

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other.

Le Mans
Dec 16, 2020
How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend Prime

How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot…

Le Mans
Dec 7, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020
The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season Prime

The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season

It may have been missed amid the clamour over Lewis Hamilton's seventh F1 title, but Britain had another world champion crowned last weekend. Mike Conway's WEC crown raises an old conundrum - does title glory make up for the pain of Le Mans defeat?

WEC
Nov 19, 2020