For the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, The Checkered Flag will have both hourly reports and a liveblog, keeping you updated for the entire 24 hours.
This page will automatically update with all of the latest news and images from Circuit de la Sarthe.
Hello, and welcome to teamtcf‘s coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, we are just over 30 minutes from the race start and our man on the ground – Dan Lloyd – is reporting that the rain that has struck La Sarthe in the last few days is making a reappearance!
The cars are now rolling off and things are all in motion for the start of the world’s most gruelling race!
The big news at the moment is that the ByKolles LMP1-L machine is being pushed back into the pits
Before the race gets underway, this is the perfect opportunity to read the qualifying report which saw rain deny teams an opportunity to topple Porsche’s Qualifying One dominance: Porsche takes pole as rain stops play at Le Mans
The rain is getting worse at Le Mans, Dan has sent through this latest snap from the media centre:
And vital for the race is Andy Blackmore’s ace Spotters Guide, you can find it here: http://www.spotterguides.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/LM_16_V2.pdf
Because of this rain it has been confirmed the race will start under the safety car!
Confirmation of the safety car start –
Other news coming out is that the #49 Michael Shank Racing Ligier-Honda will need to serve a 5 minute stop-go penalty at some point during the race because it changed its engine.
According to Eurosport, there has never been a red flag during the 24 Hour race itself, could the increasingly bad weather mean a red flag is needed?
The #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT is being pushed into the box and mechanics are swarming around the car
7 cars are starting at the back because their drivers didn’t set the 5 required quali laps – #4 ByKolles CLM LMP1-L, 27 SMP Racing BR01-Nissan, #28 Pegasus Morgan-Nissan, #30 ESM Ligier-Nissan, #22 SO24! Ligier-Judd, #40 Krohn Racing Ligier-Nissan and the #63 Corvette Racing C7.R
Brad Pitt waves the cars away as the race starts under the safety car and the clock is ticking down!
Reports are that the #67 Chip Ganassi Ford GT, which Andy Priaulx was meant to be starting, has gearbox problems
The cars are being led up to Indianapolis and it looks very wet
The #31 ESM Ligier-Nissan makes a quick trip through the pits after the first full lap round. They’ve changed driver with Pipo Derani getting out the car.
The #67 Ford GT is back out now, they’ve gone two laps down but anything can happen in 24 hours!
Porsche Team #2 of Neel Jani has just set a 7:54.551 toppace
In the safety car, Yannick Dalmas is doing a good job pacing the field
We’re just hitting the first 30 minutes completed and the two Porsches lead in LMP1, G-Drive Racing leads in LMP2, the #68 Ford GT leads GTE Pro and Clearwater Racing leads in GTE Am
Work is being done on the #12 Rebellion Racing LMP1-L machine with airbox issues
Clearwater Racing pitting at the moment, a lot of teams are pitting to put their Am drivers in while the safety car remains out
We’ve had 40 minutes completed and the safety car stays out. As Dan Lloyd confirms, there are loud jeers coming from a crowd who want to see some green flag running!
The crew of the #1 Porsche tell Timo Bernhard that no more rain is forecast as teams are now swapping to intermediate tyres!
The Eurasia Motorsport #33 has been pushed into the pits as the SAFETY CAR LIGHTS ARE OUT!
WE ARE GREEN! with more than 50 minutes of the race already compeleted
The LMP1-H cars have already opened up a sizeable gap to the Rebellion #13 which has its mirrors filled with LMP2 machines
Both the Audis are already past the #5 Toyota and are looking to get past the #6 as well
There’s been a lot of moving in GTE Pro as well with AF Corse’s Ferrari 488s forcing their way through the Chip Ganassi Ford GTs
KCMG lead in GTE Am with Wolf Henzler behind the wheel of the Porsche with the Abu Dhabi-Proton Porsche lying in second
Toyota lead! Mike Conway has moved from fourth to first in one lap and that TS050 is charging!
A big cheer from the main grandstand as Sebastien Buemi gets past the Porsche of Timo Bernhard.
Leaders at the end of the first hour –
Andre Lotterer brings the #7 Audi in for its first pit stop……slick tyres are affixed to all four corners.
Sebastien Buemi and Loic Duval go side by side for third position! Buemi gets the slipstream heading into Indianapolis and drags his Toyota past the #8 Audi.
Lotterer’s slick tyres are working well. The German driver has just set the fastest middle sector (1m 21.561) aboard the #7 Audi.
Timo Bernhard brings the #1 Porsche into the pits after a difficult start. Slick tyres are the order once again.
Purple numbers are lighting up the timing screen. These cars are only going to get quicker as the track dries up.
The pit lane all of a sudden becomes very popular as the top LMP2 and GTE runners dash in for slicks.
To recap, Conway (Toyota), Jani (Porsche) and Buemi (Toyota) are the three leaders but neither has pitted.
Andre Lotterer becomes the first driver to dip under the 3m 30 marker with a 3m 29.057s effort on lap 12.
A driver change for Porsche, as Romain Dumas takes over from pole sitter Neel Jani. All LMP1 cars have now pitted.
After the flurry of LMP2 pit activity, former F1 driver Roberto Merhi is now leading for Manor. Mathias Beche is doing the chasing for Thiriet by TDS Racing…
GTE doing what GTE does best.
Oliver Gavin drops two places in quick succession as his Corvette loses out in a drag race to Patrick Pilet’s Porsche. Giancarlo Fisichella then picks up Pilet’s tow along the Mulsanne and slingshots past the unexpectant Gavin. Sprint race mentality.
Drama for Audi, already!
The #7 car that Andre Lotterer started so well is now being tended to in the Audi garage. The problem isn’t yet known but the mechanics are working fairly frantically. Losing a lap at this stage would be a massive blow for the four rings.
Race control has just issued a message displaying RAIN in the next two minutes, for 15 minutes.
Brendon Hartley is on a flyer!
Despite a poor start, the New Zealander has just the quickest lap of the race so far in the #1 Porsche – 3m 26.254s on lap 13)
CHANGE OF LEAD:
Brendon Hartley is caught unawares in traffic heading up to the Dunlop bridge. Loic Duval sees half a chance in the #8 Audi and drags past on the outside. Ballsy move by the Frenchman.
The drama continues for the #7 Audi as a smoky substance can be seen billowing from the rear of the car. This doesn’t look like a quick fix.
Leh Keen, who is part of a two man team in the #89 Proton Competition Porsche, is leading the class but has fellow Porsche driver Patrick Long for company.
Keen and Marc Miller should be sharing the car with Cooper MacNeil, but MacNeil contracted a fever and had to pull out of the event.
An unexpected turbocharger fault for Audi. How many other LMP1s will experience issues?
Mike Conway is having one of the stints of his life!
The British driver has just set the new fastest lap, turning in a 3m 25.842s number. The Toyota driver currently sits third, seven seconds behind race leader Loic Duval.
Umbrellas suddenly spring up along the main straight as rain starts to fall. The skies look showery, so don’t expect this to last too long.
CHANGE OF LEAD:
Brendon Hartley gets past Loic Duval as the #1 Porsche continues its fightback.
The pole-sitters – where are they now?
The #2 Porsche is down in fourth after carrying out a driver change.
G-Drive Racing’s #26 ORECA is nestled in the thick of the LMP2 field, with Rene Rast currently running sixth behind KCMG’s Richard Bradley.
A frantic start to the GTE-Am race saw the #68 Ford GT drop to eighth in class.
GTE-Am pole-sitter Clearwater Racing has dropped to ninth, with Rob Bell still behind the wheel.
At the front it’s Porsche and Audi, hammer and tongs. Just the way we like it.
*Plays Jaws theme tune*
The #7 Audi is out on track and Benoit Treluyer is behind the wheel. Surely even Audi can’t turn around a six lap deficit at Le Mans?
A few pit stops to talk about in LMP2.
A few pit stops to talk about in LMP2.
Merhi cycles back into the lead of LMP2. Paul-Loup Chatin is currently second for Panis-Barthez Competition but owes us a pit stop.
Loic Duval comes into the pits after an encouraging second stint aboard the #8 Audi. It’s a fuel only stop, as expected.
Duval’s pit stop was a precursor to the other LMP1 hybrids. Brendon Hartley brings the #1 Porsche in for a fuel-only service after 13 laps of running. Mike Conway still leads and is yet to come in.
Ford takes the lead in GTE-Pro as Richard Westbrook gets past the Porsche of Fred Makowiecki.
Leaders at the end of the second hour –
There’s an entertaining dogfight going on for 10th in LMP2 right now. Paul-Loup Chatin is doing his utmost to keep the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier of Andrea Pizzitola behind him.
The lead order is the same, but the gaps have contracted somewhat.
Race leader Brendon Hartley is lapping well in the #1 Porsche, but Mike Conway has just set the quickest final sector of the race and has pushed the deficit down to 2.5 seconds. Will Toyota be leading Le Mans by the end of this lap?
For anyone that has missed the second hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where have you been? But fear not, our Hour 2 update will get you up to speed: https://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2016/06/2016-24-hours-le-mans-hour-2-update/
A ball of GTE traffic catches out Mike Conway, who loses some time to Brendon Hartley in front. That’s allowed Loic Duval to have a sniff at the Toyota.
Duval is now closer to Conway than Conway was to Hartley (if that makes sense…).
The LMP2 pit stops have begun.
Roberto Merhi leads a gaggle of closed and open top cars onto the pit lane for the second green flag service of the race. The Spaniard has impressed during his opening stint, so Manor keeps him in to carry on the good work.
ANOTHER purple sector for Mike Conway.
The #6 Toyota passes through the sector two checkpoint and lights up the timing screen with a 1m 17.320s . Brendon Hartley is continuing to hold his own at the front, though.
The lead gap between Brendon Hartley in the #1 Porsche and Mike Conway in the #6 Toyota is down to 0.992 seconds…
Mike Conway raises the bar a little higher as track conditions continue to improve. The #6 Toyota driver checks in with a 3m 23.010 as he continues to chase Hartley.
A message pops up from race control….
CHANGE OF LEADER:
It’s Ford vs Ferrari for the lead in GTE-Pro – a sight that will evoke memories of those classic battles from the 60s.
There are yellow flags at Arnage because the John Pew driven Michael Shank Racing Ligier had a small moment. There doesn’t look to be any damage though and Pew should be able to drive it away.
At the top of the hour Porsche continue to lead the motor race thanks to Brendan Hartley in the #1 919 Hybrid with the ever-present Mike Conway only six seconds behind for Toyota and Loic Duval’s Audi completing the top three.
In LMP2 Manor continue to lead on their Le Mans debut thanks to Roberto Mehri from Thiriet by TDS Racing and the defending class champions, KCMG.
The GTE Pro field is topped by the #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA car from last years outright winner, Nick Tandy in the #91 Porsche Motorsport car.
In Am, the Porsche domination continues with Abu Dhabi Proton Racing and Patrick Long in the top spot from the KCMG 911 and the Paul Dalla Lana driven Aston Martin Vantage.
The #84 SRT41 by OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan, the car which has been adapted to suit the needs of Frédéric Sausset in the innovative class currently sits in 51st place.
Brendon Hartley has a slim, but comfortable 8.5s cushion as Mike Conway continues to chase in second place.
Loic Duval comes into the pits and receives four tyres to the #8 Audi. Oliver Jarvis is waiting in the wings and jumps in as soon as his team-mate leaves the cockpit.
CHANGE OF LEADER
Catch up with the latest goings on at Le Mans with our three hour report: https://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2016/06/2016-24-hours-le-mans-hour-3-update-toyota-top/
Chris Hoy is racing at Le Mans:
Michael Shank Racing completes a pit stop – serial IMSA pole position taker Oswaldo Negri Jr is in for John Pew as the #49 Ligier-Honda takes four new Dunlop tyres.
The #51 Ferrari has returned to the GTE race, but lost almost 50 minutes.
Lots of cars are being noted for failing to respect track limits at the high-speed Porsche Curves. It seems it will be only a matter of time before someone receives a penalty.
An unfortunate series of events for the Proton Competition crew.
Slow Zone no. 1 comes into effect around the Dunlop Curve as Miller’s car receives attention from the snatch tractor.
We’ve got another car with issues:
Tracy Krohn spins off in the #40 Ligier-Nissan bearing his aviation company’s name.
Oliver Jarvis brings the #8 Audi into the pits for fuel only. He comes out just behind the #5 Toyota, which currently has 2014 world champion Anthony Davidson at the wheel.
CHANGE OF LEADER
#67 Team AII Corvette – Currently running ninth in GTE-Am with Mark Patterson driving.
It’s a three-way fight for first place in GTE-Pro as the #68 and #69 Fords chase the #82 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Toni Vilander.
WATCH THIS SPACE:
We’ve had to close the blinds in the Le Mans media centre because the sun is glaring at us from the west. Never mind, it’ll be gone in a few hours!
Toni Vilander is out-dragged by Joey Hand in the #69 Ford GT as the blue oval moves up to first and second in GTE-Pro. This is the battle we were promised!
While it’s fresh in our mind, here’s the #69 Ford GT in action. Photo courtesy of Craig Robertson/Speed Chills
Mathias Lauda – driving the #98 Aston Martin in GTE-Am – goes off into the gravel and bounces along before rejoining. No harm done (we think).
The #7 Audi is now on the same lap as the seventh-placed #12 Rebellion. Nelson Piquet Jr becomes a 330 km/h sitting duck.
Mark Webber flashes a bit of purple in the first sector of his 71st lap. As temperatures cool, this may become a more familiar sight.
It should be about three laps until the #8 Audi makes its next pit stop.
LMP2 is CLOSE!
Yellow flags at turn three:
Oliver Jarvis pits the #8 Audi after another 13 lap fuel stint. Expect Mark Webber to come in from the lead soon.
…..and like a Japanese commuter train, Webber brings the #1 Porsche into the pits right on cue. It’s a simple fuel top-up.
The sun is setting over the Circuit De La Sarthe now, those headlights are getting slightly brighter as the sun goes down.
The #2 of Marc Lieb pits as well now, that means the #6 of Kamui Kobayashi inherits the lead
Leaders after five hours –
#5 Toyota (Kobayashi)
#2 Porsche (Lieb) +22.063
#1 Porsche (Webber) +26.189
#46 Thiriet by TDS Racing (Hirakawa)
#36 Signatech Alpine (Menezes) +11.652
#47 KCMG (Howson) +38.801
#68 Ford (Hand)
#66 Ford (Mucke) +25.613
#69 Ford (Dixon) +1:28.731
#88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing (Heinemeier Hansson)
#78 KCMG (Camathias) +10.369
#98 Aston Martin Racing (Lauda) +1:52.753
Sir Chris of Hoy comes in and out of the pits in the Algarve Pro Racing Ligier, he was a bit of a way down the order as he came in
It’s still the Ford GTs that lead GTE Pro with the UK entry sandwiched between the USA entries
The LMP2 leader pits now after a heroic spell by Ryo Hirakawa in the Thiriet By TDS Oreca 05
Indeed the Manor and Strakka have also pitted in LMP2
The #57 GTE Am Team AAI Corvette C7.R has gone into the gravel trap at the exit of the Porsche Curves
That incident has brought out the slow zones in the Porsche curves and Karting Corner, where the car did come to rest. Those zones caught out Chris Cummings in the #31 ESM Ligier-Nissan who got quite surprised by the slowing cars and has spun
Oh dear, that spin has damaged the suspension on the #31 ESM, he’s cocking a front-left wheel going through Tertre Rouge
Frederic Sausset is back out in the Garage 56 Morgan-Nissan truegrit
A bit more on Sausset: A quadruple amputee, he’ll be using adapted controls and prosthetics to get the #84 Morgan-Nissan around the track
The #26 G-Drive Oreca is onto pit road now, he’s pitted from second in class
That’s a big mistake by the G-Drive crew, they were running well before that
The #8 pits from fourth now, and Oliver Jarvis steps out of that car after a heroic stint from him
Di Grassi is in the #8 now, as Mark Webber also pits in the #1 and hands over the car to Timo Bernhard
The #6 leads now with Kobayashi behind the wheel, this lead doesn’t want to stay with one car for long at all!
Marc Lieb pits the #2 now as lots of the GTE Pro entries now, Joey Hand owes a pit stop in the #68 Ford GT but many behind have pitted with Darren Turner taking over the 5th placed #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage
Indeed he must have heard me – Joey Hand is in the pits now! This’ll be the cars sixth pitstop with almost six hours gone
Matteo Malucelli has inherited the lead in GTE Pro in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 because of those Ford GT pitstops
It’s a Ford GT fight for second and third in GTE Pro as Scott Dixon in third harries Sebastien Bourdais who took over the #68 from Joey Hand
Six hours are now in the books, here are your leaders –
The #28 is the barriers! That is the Pegasus Morgan-Nissan with Ines Taittinger behind the wheel. That is in the gravel at Mulsanne Corner
That incident has led to slow zones at the end of the Mulsanne, that has come as some relief to the #82 which is being chased by Bourdais’ Ford GT
But now Bourdais has got past on the run down to Indianapolis! He’s leading in the #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA machine
The #6 still leads at the hands of Stephane Sarrazin even after a pitstop, being able to go one lap longer has allowed him to get in-and-out whilst remaining in the lead
Scott Dixon has got up to second at the Forza Chicane as he relegates Matteo Malucelli’s Ferrari down to third.
Lucas Di Grassi is reporting bad vibrations in the #8 Audi R18, he’s in fourth at the moment but he might be coming into the pits
Fabien Barthez is in the Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier – a safe pair of hands you could say…
We’re now onto lap 100! As the yellow flag comes out, not sure why though…
Ah it’s because Mark Patterson has beached the Team AAI Corvette in the gravel at Karting Corner
The #1 almost misses the start of the slow zone at the Porsche Curves, he has a serious lock-up but avoids hitting the barriers, just.
Porsche #1 pits now, he’ll be pleased the lock-up that buggered those tyres has come the lap before his scheduled pit stop.
But he hasn’t changed his tyres, he’s obviously avoided bad damage to those Michelins
The #44 Manor Oreca 05 is in the garage, Matt Rao brought the car in but mechanics are all over it now, with the engine cover coming off
Hirikawa is doing a monumental stint in the Thiriet by TDS Oreca, he’s still leading from the Signatech Alpine
Beechdean has been beached in the gravel at Porsche Curves. Gary Hirsch had a slide coming into the corner and couldn’t it before the Aston hit the gravel
The #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT is in the barrier at Mulsanne Corner, it looked like it was locking up…
Yep Marino Franchitti has locked a right-front wheel
A note on GTE Am, the Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche is still in the lead with Khaled Al Qubaisi behind the wheel of 911 RSR
Sarrazin still leads in LMP1, his Toyota has done one less pitstop that everyone else in class so far
One of the Alpines gets blocked by a slow LMP2 car and shows his annoyance – a pic from inside the car
The #6 Toyota is in the pits, one lap earlier than expected
After 7 hours your leaders are –
The #6 Toyota exited the pits ahead of the #1 Porsche, thus maintaining their lead
Sarrazin not driving away from the Porsche’s, even losing a second to them in the middle sector. They haven’t got it sewn it up yet.
The #89 Porsche has been classed as the first official retirement. What consistency from all the teams
Frustratingly, the #47 KCMG is seen limping down the Mulsanne Straight
He’s now pulled off the track just before the hairpin
In LMP2; the leader, #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing pitted gifting the lead to Stephane Richelmi in the #36 Signatech
GT Am has now spiced up with the #62 Scuderia Corsa up to third, only 21 seconds behind the leader.
There’s a spin for an LMP2 at the Dunlop chicane, more to follow
After struggling earlier, Sarrazin in the #6 Toyota has found his pace, keeping the Porsche’s at bay for now
10 seconds seperate second place Timo Bernhard and fourth place Kazuki Nakajima
To the surprise of many, the #8 Audi Sport Joest is now only a minute behind fourth place Nakajima
There’s a change of the lead in GT-Am
Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin Racing has taken the #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing
Back at Porsche in LMP1, Neel Jani in the #2 has caught his team mate and looks like he’ll take second any moment now
Drive through for #23 Panis-Barthez Campetition after speeding through a slow zone
The #7 Audi Sport Team Joest is back in the garage
Both Audi’s appear to have the same issue, but the #8 continues for now
A new nose section is being prepared for the the #8 Audi with the team testing options on the #7
124 laps complete, the #6 Toyota pits. Back out safely
The gaps in LMP2 are spreading out with the #46 Thiriet leading by over a minute
The battle for first is heating up in GT Am as the #98 leads by 9 seconds
The night is now upon us, and its spectacular action with the lights shining, especially down the Mulsanne Straight!
Despite its most recent trip to the pit garage, the #7 Audi is now only a lap adrift of moving up to sixth place, which is currently being held by the #13 Rebellion. Benoit Treluyer is currently behind the wheel of the Audi, Alexandre Imperatori is in the Rebellion.
Unfortunately for the #7, there is then a four-lap gap between sixth and fifth, currently being held by the sister #8 car after its own visit to the garage. Loic Duval is in the #8 at present having taken over from Lucas di Grassi.
1) #6 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Sarrazin
2) #2 Porsche Team – Jani
3) #1 Porsche Team – Bernhard
1) #46 Thiriet By TDS Racing – Thiriet
2) #36 Signatech Alpine – Lappierre
3) #26 G-Drive Racing – Rast
1) #68 Ford Chip Ganassi – Muller
2) #82 Risi Competizione – Fisichella
3) #66 Ford Chip Ganassi – Pla
1) #98 Aston Martin Racing – Lamy
2) #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing – Long
3) #62 Scuderia Corsa – Segal
The #1 Porsche is heading to pit lane, with Timo Bernhard stepping out of the car, with Brendon Hartley taking over for his second stint of the race.
Just the solitary retirement from the race so far, with the #89 Proton Competition having crashed out earlier after hitting some fluid that was left by another one of the Porsches.
The third placed LMGTE AM Porsche is in to the pits for another stop, Patrick Long is currently behind the wheel.
The #1 Porsche back into the pits after the stewards requested them to ensure the number panel on the side of their car was illuminated. The car is dragged into the pits, with the #2 also set to suffer the same fate.
With their better fuel efficiency, and with the troubles for Audi and now Porsche, this is all playing nicely into the hands of Toyota, who continue to lead with the #6.
Brendon Hartley gets out of the car as the car is raised high on its jacks so the issue can be repaired.
Stephane Sarrazin and the #6 Toyota now leads by over a minute from the #2 Porsche, with the #5 Toyota third, a further 28 seconds behind. The trio are now the only cars on the lead lap as we tick towards eight hours 20 minutes of the race.
Although on different pit strategies, the battle for LMP2 honours is back on, with the #36 Signatech Alpine now ahead of the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing by less than two seconds.
Indeed, the #36 Signatech Alpine now hits the pits.
Paul Dalla Lana has hit the gravel trap in the Porsche curves in the #98 Aston Martin. Yellow flags are out.
Dalla Lana had just taken over the car, and was running in third in the LMGTE Am class.
The #83 Ferrari has locked up and hit the gravel trap at the end of the Mulsanne Straight, bringing out more yellow flags.
Francois Perrodo was behind the wheel of the #83 when it hit the gravel trap, and now there are two slow zones on track to recover both the Ferrari and the #98 Aston Martin.
Replays show the #98 hit the barrier on the opposite side of the circuit before crossing over the road and ending up in the gravel. The car is now being attended to by a tractor.
The safety car has been deployed.
This is to enable the safe recovery of the Dalla Lana Aston Martin, and probably to ensure the barriers are still secure after the hit. There is also debris on the circuit that needs clearing.
The #44 Manor is back into the garage. The car had been leading the LMP2 class early in the race but had lost a lot of time and laps with an earlier pit stop.
The #66 is told by the race director to speed up as it is now a safety car rather than a slow zone… ironic as he was going through the crash zone at the time.
The #98 is back in the pits having been recovered from its crash in the Porsche curves.
Looks like the #1 car has more problems than first thought, with the engine now off the back of the car.
24 minute pit stop already for the #1, its hopes of claiming victory all but gone, a high water pressure problem being mentioned by the team.
While the safety car out, lets take a look at the class leaders.
#6 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Sarrazin
#46 Thiriet By TDS Racing – Thiriet
#68 Ford Chip Ganassi – Muller
#88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing – Long
Perhaps the feel good story of the race is that of the #84 SRT41 by Oak Racing entry, currently being driven by quadruple amputee Frederic Sausset. The team current run in P39.
Ryan Dalziel has revealed the reason why the #31 Extreme Speed Motorsports machine lost a lot of time earlier in the race after running inside the top five…
This is a cruel race. We had a suspension failure while running 5th. Now 12th with 15hrs remaining. Keep pushing. pic.twitter.com/3FrPgFNt0V
— Ryan Dalziel (@ryan_dalziel) June 18, 2016
The #5 Toyota has made a trip to the pits from third place, Sebastien Buemi is now behind the wheel.
Mike Conway looks ready to take over the race leading #6 Toyota in the next stop in the next few moments.
The race director has announced the reasons for the safety car, with barrier repairs being made and a clean up of gravel off the circuit, and racing is set to resume shortly.
The #1 remains in the pits, and now has lost it’s fifth place to the #13 Rebellion
We are back racing again! And the #6 Toyota and the #2 Porsche battling for the lead down the Mulsanne Straight, with the Porsche of Neel Jani assuming the lead.
Another hour has passed, so let’s take a look at the top three in each class!
1) #2 Porsche Team – Jani
2) #6 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Conway
3) #5 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Buemi
1) #46 Thiriet By TDS Racing – Thiriet
2) #36 Signatech Alpine – Lapierre
3) #26 G-Drive Racing – Rast
1) #68 Ford Chip Ganassi – Muller
2) #82 Risi Competizione – Vilander
3) #69 Ford Chip Ganassi – Westbrook
1) #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing – Long
2) #62 Scuderia Corsa – Sweedler
3) #55 AF Corse – Cameron
The #1 Porsche remains in the pits, and is down to seventh in class, with the #12 Rebellion eight laps behind but closing the gap with every second the Porsche sits in the garage.
It is a water pump problem for the Porsche, with the car now having lost an hour in the pits.
The LMP2 battle seems to have been divided by the safety car, with the Thiriet by TDS Racing entry, currently in the hands of Pierre Thiriet, nearly three minutes clear of the #36 Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre.
The #28 Pegasus Racing Morgan is off at Arnage, with Remy Striebig behind the wheel, but luckily he stayed out of the gravel.
The #40 Krohn Racing entry is running slowly through the Porsche Curves, with team owner Tracy Krohn looking to get the car back to the pits.
The #42 Strakka Racing entry has pitted from sixth in the LMP2 class, while the race leading #2 Porsche is set to hit pit lane as well.
Tracy Krohn has managed to get the #40 car back to the pits, where it is pulled into the garage.
Neel Jani has indeed hit the pit lane, with Romain Dumas now behind the wheel. The #6 Toyota is back in the lead.
143 laps in the books now for the leaders of LMP1, 133 for the LMP2 leaders, 127 for the LMGTE Pro leaders and 124 for the LMGTE Am leaders.
Incidentally the #84 SRT41 by Oak Racing entry of quadruple amputee Frederic Sausset has completed 123 laps.
The #1 Porsche looks set to return to the track.
The #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing entry has also made a pit stop, and Mathias Beche has taken the wheel for the next stint. The car still leads by over a minute from Nicolas Lapierre and the #36 Signatech Alpine.
Beche is currently leading LMP2, and is seventh overall after the #1 Porsche problems.
The #98 Aston Martin has gone off again at Arnage, hitting the barrier on the left hand side after losing control under braking, but luckily avoiding the gravel trap. Paul Dalla Lana is still behind the wheel.
The #7 Audi has made a pit stop for fuel only and returns to the track.
The #1 Porsche has returned to the track, but it is running extremely slowly down the Mulsanne Straight.
The car is pulling off at the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight, and has been asked to recycle the car to see if the can get running up to speed again. Brendon Hartley is behind the wheel and sounds like he is running only on electrical power.
The #47 KCMG car is off the track, and is in a dangerous place in the Porsche curves. Richard Bradley has jumped out of the car to safety for now.
We now have a slow zone in place while the #47 car is recovered.
The #1 Porsche has made it back to the pits again, and Brendon Hartley looks really disappointed behind the wheel.
The #40 Krohn Racing entry was hit from behind by the #41 Greaves Motorsport, which was the reason why it came back to the pits slowly.
— Krohn Racing (@KrohnRacing) June 18, 2016
Incidentally the #13 Rebellion and the #7 Audi are now on the same lap, and while the #1 Porsche remains in the pits once more, it is set to lose eighth place in class to the #12 Rebellion.
The leading #6 Toyota is on pit lane, no driver change, just fuel for Mike Conway.
The #27 SMP Racing has been handed a drive through penalty for overtaking behind the safety car. Nicolas Minassian is behind the wheel at present, although he may not have been the guilty driver!
Having been in the lead of LMP2 by almost three minutes about half hour ago, the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing now find themselves down in third behind the #36 Signatech Alpine and the #26 G-Drive Racing.
Less than 19 seconds cover the top two in LMGTE Pro, with the #66 Ford ahead of the #82 Risi Competizione.
The usual challenge of the #51 & #71 AF Corse’s in LMGTE Pro has not materialised, with the #71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon two laps down and tenth in class, with the sister #51 Ferrari of James Calado thirteen laps down in P12.
The gap at the head of the LMGTE Pro field is back over a minute after a pit stop for the #82 Risi Competizione of Toni Vilander.
The gap between the race leading #6 Toyota and the second placed #2 Porsche is less than four seconds, but we have another safety car intervention.
The safety car looks like its been deployed due to oil on the track as the #91 has had an engine failure in the Porsche Curves.
The #25 Algarve Racing has hit the barriers, Andrea Pizzitola is currently behind the wheel of the Ligier.
The #91 has stopped on track, with the problem seemingly terminal, with flames having been seen coming from beneath the car.
As we hit the ten hour mark, we are two hours away from half distance…
let’s look at the top three of the four respective classes.
1) #6 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Conway
2) #2 Porsche Team – Dumas
3) #5 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Buemi
1) #36 Signatech Alpine – Lapierre
2) #26 G-Drive Racing – Rast
3) #46 Thiriet By TDS Racing – Beche
1) #68 Ford Chip Ganassi – Muller
2) #82 Risi Competizione – Vilander
3) #69 Ford Chip Ganassi – Westbrook
1) #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing – Heinemeier-Hansson
2) #62 Scuderia Corsa – Sweedler
3) #61 Clearwater Racing – Bell
The LMP2 class leading #36 Signatech Alpine comes in to the pits after a short eight lap stint. Gustavo Menezes gets in and has lost the lead to G-Drive’s Rene Rast.
The #68 Ford is still in the garage, but is still third in class (at the moment).
Rain is currently falling at Arnage/Porsche Curves – that’ll keep the drivers busy during the night…
While we’re under safety car conditions, let’s have a check up on the retirements so far:
#89 Proton Competition/Alex Job Porsche – hit the barrier under braking for Dunlop chicane. Front-end damage too severe to continue (lap 50).
#47 KCMG ORECA-Nissan – Stopped with Richard Bradley at the wheel in the tenth hour (lap116).
That’s all, folks!
GREEN FLAG! The safety cars are released and we are back under way at La Sarthe.
Mathias Beche comes in for a pit stop in the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA-Nissan. The Swiss driver gets fuel only, and is passed by Gustavo Menezes (#36 Signatech Alpine) and Rene Rast (#26 G-Drive).
We’re expecting him quite soon!
Morning! Just been woken up to get ready for my 2nd round of driving. Feeling sleepy…but 330kph+ in my TS050 should sort that out!
— Anthony Davidson (@antdavidson) June 18, 2016
The #71 GTE-Pro Ferrari is off the track at the esses. That’s Davide Rigon behind the wheel.
Anthony Davidson is ready to do the anchor leg for the #5 Toyota. Sebastien Buemi did an extra lap (total of 15) on that last stint after saving fuel during the Safety Car.
Despite being stone cold last, Harry Tincknell is putting on a show in the #67 Ford GT. The British driver just set his car’s quickest first sector and was on the pace in sector two. Encouraging stuff for a team that has struggled since the start.
Race leader Mike Conway trundles down an empty pit lane on lap 167. That’s the 12th stop for the #6 Toyota, and he comes out in front of Romain Dumas’ Porsche.
Crucial, because Dumas is nearing the end of his stint.
They’re giving out free coca cola in the media centre.
It’s the little things.
A few cars with slow zone speeds under investigation…..one of those is the LMP2 second placed #26 G-Drive. Watch this space.
Let’s have a look at the class leaders as we enter the twelfth hour of racing –
#6 Toyota (Conway) – 170 laps
#2 Porsche (Dumas)
#5 Toyota (Buemi)
#26 G-Drive Racing ORECA-Nissan (Rast) – 157 laps
#46 Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA-Nissan (Beche)
#36 Signatech Alpine (Menezes)
#82 Risi Competizione Ferrari (Vilander) – 151 laps
#69 Ford GT (Westbrook)
#68 Ford GT (Muller)
#88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche (Heinemeier Hansson) – 147 laps
#62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari (T. Bell)
#61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari (R. Bell)
Romain Dumas completes his expected stop from second place in the #2 Porsche.
Mathias Beche might be starting to take a few more glances in his rear-view mirrors. The LMP2 class leader is just six seconds ahead of Gustavo Menezes of Signatech Alpine..
The LMP2 leader Beche now makes a pit stop, handing the lead back to Menezes and Signatech Alpine.
Brendon Hartley is back out on track in the #1 Porsche, but the car is 38 laps down on the race leader and P52 overall. But he is the fastest driver on track.
We only have two official retirements in the form of the LMP2 #47 KCMG and the LMGTE AM #89 Proton Competition Porsche, but the LMGTE Pro #91 Porsche is also unlikely to return to the track after its early engine failure.
Just over a minute between the race leading #6 Toyota of Mike Conway and the second placed #2 Porsche of Romain Dumas, with the former having made one less stop.
An issue with the #92 LMGTE Pro Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, with smoke coming from the car, although it does not look like the same kind of smoke that came from the sister #91 car. Possible suspension issue?
The #5 Toyota pits from second position, as does the #7 Audi from P5.
Anthony Davidson has jumped into the #5 in place of Sebastien Buemi.
The much troubled #1 Porsche is setting competitive lap times as it tries to make as much progress up the order as possible. They are one lap behind the #71 AF Corse LMGTE Pro car, and five laps behind the #99 LMGTE Am Aston Martin.
The LMGTE Am class leading Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche of David Heinemeier Hansson has pitted and handed over to Khaled Al Qubaisi.
Mike Conway has brought the race leading #6 Toyota into the pits and handed over to former Formula 1 driver Kamui Kobayashi.
The #71 has become the latest retirement…
Guys we are out 😢 a rim exploded while davide was driving. Thanks to everyone for there support. We will fight on at the next race.
— sam bird (@sambirdracing) June 19, 2016
I tell you what, watching a LMP1 car going through the Porsche Curves is such an amazing sight… Especially at night!
The #34 Race Performance is off the track at Arnage. Nicolas Leutwiler is behind the wheel, and this is likely to cause a slow zone.
Indeed we do have another slow zone at Arnage, which has been a trouble spot for many in the first twelve hours of this race.
The #7 Audi has stopped on track at the Dunlop Curves. The engine is running but Marcel Fassler is not going anywhere.
The #2 Porsche is in the pits, just as the #7 Audi finds some drive and moves away, albeit very slowly.
Fassler is still running slowly down the Mulsanne Straight. Where he stopped was quite possibly the worst place for him with so much of the lap remaining. He will take a long time to get back to the pits.
This has handed the fifth place on the track back to the #13 Rebellion.
And Frederic Sausset has got back into the #84 SRT41 by Oak Racing entry in place of Christophe Tinseau. Still an amazing story for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
We are now at halfway in this amazing 24 Hours of Le Mans. Here is the top three in each class as we head into hour thirteen.
1) #6 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Kobayashi
2) #2 Porsche Team – Dumas
3) #5 Toyota GAZOO Racing – Davidson
1) #36 Signatech Alpine – Menezes
2) #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing – Hirakawa
3) #26 G-Drive Racing – Stevens
1) #82 Risi Competizione – Malucelli
2) #69 Ford Chip Ganassi – Briscoe
3) #68 Ford Chip Ganassi – Hand
1) #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing – Al Qubaisi
2) #62 Scuderia Corsa – Bell
3) #61 Clearwater Racing – Sawa
Please now click this link to follow the second half of the 24 Hours of Le Mans! Thank you for keeping up with us up to now!