Le Mans 24h, H8: Toyotas swap places, disaster for Corvette

Toyota led at the eight-hour mark of the Le Mans 24 Hours, its cars swapping the lead on multiple occasions as each crew strived for the upper hand.

Le Mans 24h, H8: Toyotas swap places, disaster for Corvette
Listen to this article

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez led at one-third distance in the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, 1.2s ahead of the #8 sister car of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa.

The #7 car took the lead from #8 when Kobayashi undercut Hirakawa in Hour 6 in the round of pitstops after their opening stints. Kobayashi then had two wild moments at dusk, at the Ford chicane and the renamed Daytona chicane, as he extended a 7s lead.

Oddly, it was Hirakawa who was being reassured towards the end of his stint on the radio – “It’s a long race, let’s stay calm” – as his team boss led the way despite his errors. But their positions were reversed anyway when the #7 lost time with a slow tyre stop and got stuck behind a GT car as it rejoined in Conway’s hands, so Buemi took up the lead in #8.

But the lead switched again on the Mulsanne Straight, a charging Conway regaining the top spot just before the conclusion of Hour 7.

Glickenhaus gave distant chase, with the #708 leading #709 until Olivier Pla spun #708 at Tertre Rouge on an out lap – reversing their positions. Pla crabbed the #708 back to the pits for repairs to its left-rear suspension and it dropped outside the top 15 overall.

The other Hypercar, the #36 Alpine A480-Gibson, also suffered a dreadful time. Following the clutch fix in Hour 4, a lengthy second stop ensued an hour later, with the team having to remove the exhaust banks as they switched the ignition coil.

Team boss Philippe Sinault explained: “The first [problem] was the clutch, the electronic box for the clutch, and the second was the coil for the engine, which we had to change. In total we lost 23 minutes… it’s like a nightmare.”

Alpine’s Andre Negrao rejoined 7 laps down, and then suffered a wild trip through the gravel at the Porsche Curves but continued.

In LMP2, the #38 JOTA Oreca 07-Gibson continued to stretch its legs at the head of the field as Roberto Gonzalez continued the good work of teammates Will Stevens and Antonio Felix da Costa. It runs fourth overall.

The chasing Team Penske #5 Oreca suffered an unscheduled stop for attention to its brake ducts and a new nose section after a front-left tyre delaminated and damaged parts around it in Hour 6.

The #9 Prema Oreca of Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Lorenzo Colombo remains firmly in the hunt. Another early front runner, the #1 Richard Mille Racing Oreca, suffered a setback in in Hour 5 due to WRC legend Sebastien Ogier earning a one-minute stop/go penalty for an unsafe pit entry penalty and forcing a car off track.

Read Also:
#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Pro of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Pro of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Disaster for Corvette in GTE Pro

Corvette’s grip on the GTE Pro class disintegrated in this spell of the race, firstly when Nick Tandy suffered a brake pressure issue in the #64 Corvette C8.R, causing an unscheduled stop to rectify.

But the bigger blow came when the leading #63 suffered a left-rear suspension failure on the Mulsanne when 17s clear. Antonio Garcia had to drive back painfully slowly, and the car required lengthy repairs.

Rivals Porsche endured a less severe hit earlier when Frederic Makowiecki received a drive-through penalty in the #91 911 RSR-19 for “constant abuse” of track limits. But its untroubled #92 car of Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor now holds a sizeable lead over the delayed #91.

There was also drama at Ferrari as its leading #52 AF Corse 488 suffered a front right puncture in Miguel Molina’s hands. That has elevated the #51 sister car of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra up to third in class, behind the Porsches and ahead of the #64 Corvette.

In GTE Am, #79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 of Cooper MacNeil, Julian Andlauer and Thomas Merrill leads #77 Dempsey-Proton version of Christian Ried, Harry Tincknell and Seb Priaulx. The #98 Northwest Aston Martin Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Nicki Thiim and David Pittard runs third.

shares
comments

Related video

United's Owen fumes after Turn 1 Le Mans contact with Rast
Previous article

United's Owen fumes after Turn 1 Le Mans contact with Rast

Next article

Alpine calls early Le Mans gremlins "incredibly frustrating"

Alpine calls early Le Mans gremlins "incredibly frustrating"
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Prime

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

As the GT class faces a time of transition, it’s a good time to recall the greatest hits of the GTE Pro years that pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels.

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Prime

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022 Prime

Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022

Toyota is the clear favourite for its fifth Le Mans 24 Hours success in a row, but not as much as it was in 2021. Although its opposition is unchanged, the credentials of Glickenhaus and Alpine have now been proven, while Balance of Performance tweaks have also served to level the playing field. Here's what we can expect at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 90th edition of the endurance classic.

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021