2017 24 Hours of Le Mans: Hour Thirteen Update – Calm After the Storm


24 Hours of Le Mans Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe France © Craig Robertson

It was fairly uneventful 60-minutes of racing for the thirteenth hours of the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans. After the drama of a few hours ago, this hour had a sleepy feel to it as the drivers continued to circulate around the Circuit de la Sarthe. There was a brief drama when the #31 Vaillante Rebellion suffered a problem that forced it into the garage but it was only undergoing repairs for about five minutes.

LMP1

1st – #1 Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Jani/Lotterer/Tandy

2nd (15th) – #2 Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley

3rd (38th) – #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima

Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima have been on damage limitation for the last hour, trying to get their cars as high up the grid as possible to bring back some needed points for the World Endurance Championship. Hartley is looking to have the best chance of getting his LMP1 back to the overall podium and is currently lapping around 15 seconds a lap faster than the LMP2s surrounding him.

Unfortunately for Nakajima, it does not look like he will have enough time in the race, due to the closeness of pace, to get his Toyota Gazoo Racing up to a points-scoring position. He will classify as long as there are no more issues with the car, which will mean they take some points home from the race, but the result of this race will have a big impact on the Driver’s Championship in the WEC.

LMP2

1st – #13 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Piquet Jr/Heinemeier Hansson/Beche

2nd – #38 CEFC Manor TRS Racing – Oreca 07-Gibson – Tung/Laurent/Jarvis

2nd – #35 Signatech Alpine – Oreca 07-Gibson – Prost/Senna/Canal

An issue on the #31 Rebellion caused a moment of drama in the ‘unlucky’ hour. Nicolas Prost complained on his team radio that “something is broken” which pushed the team to bring the #31 into the garage. It was a short stop, that only saw the car drop to P4 in class, where they changed the front nose and checked the clutch and gearbox. It is a suspected gear change problem that could still be plaguing the #31’s race.

This brought #35 Signatech Alpine into the LMP2 podium battle, but before the hour was over the #31 was back ahead of the Alpine.

GTE PRO

1st – #95 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Turner/Adam/Serra

2nd – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Thiim/Sørensen/Stanaway

3rd – #71 AF Corse – Ferrari 488 GTE – Bird/Molina/Rigon

Aston Martin is still controlling the pace of the LM GTE Pro class, with Ferrari looking to be a strong contender for the bottom step of the podium. The #67 and #68 Ford Chip Ganassi cars look to be the only Fords in contention for a podium finish. The warmer weather that will start to cover the track in the coming hours could bring the Fords and the Porsches back to the front of the field, but Aston Martin looks to be the strongest manufacturer on track in the GTE class.

GTE AM

1st – #84 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari 488 GTE – Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor

2nd – #90 TF Sport – Aston Martin Vantage – Yoluc/Hankey/Bell

3rd – #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Ried/Cairoli/Dienst

 

It is an impressive performance from the JMW Motorsport team as they have a competitive lap advantage over the rest of the field. The TF Sport Aston Martin continues to do an amazing job and have put pressure on to challenge the #77 Porsche for second in class. JMW look a little unreachable at the moment, but the car is currently under invertigation for a potential pit lane incident which could lead to a penalty that would break into that lead.