The phrase ‘Spirit of Le Mans’ was truly on display today, with the #2 Porsche Team having been virtually last in the opening stages, fighting back to take a spectacular win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It was delight for Timo Bernhard, who just 12 months ago had experienced similar problems destroying his chances. Teammate Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley celebrated in the garage, as all their LMP1 rivals fell by the wayside.
In LMP2, it had been a fine challenge from Jackie Chan DC Racing for the overall win, but ultimately, took a comfortable class victory. Elsewhere, in GTE Pro, the Aston Martin Racing took a dramatic last lap victory, while the #84 JMW Motorsport took the GTE Am win.
1st (WINNER) – #2 Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Hartley/Bernhard/Bamber
2nd – #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima
It had been a race of attrition for the top class in endurance racing, as all six cars had run into problems. The #2 Porsche, who lost axledrive in the first four hours had slowly worked his way back to the front, with Bernhard staying in the car for the final stint.
As for the Toyota’s, the #8 was the only car still running, eventually catching the LMP2 class, but only managing ninth overall
1st – #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing – Oreca 07-Gibson – Tung/Laurent/Jarvis
2nd – #13 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Piquet Jr/Heinemeier Hansson/Beche
3rd – #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing – Oreca 07-Gibson – Cheng/Gommendy/Brundle
The #24 Manor car stopped in the pitlane with an hour to go, seeing it drop back from the fight for sixth in class. Though it would be a more a bitter loss for the #35 Signatech Alpine car as Andre Negrao experienced a technical problem, running into the barrier and being dragged into the pits from second in class.
Vaillante Rebellion thus took an overall podium and second in class with the second DC Racing car just 40 seconds behind during the final stint.
1st – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Turner/Adam/Serra
2nd – #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK – Ford GT – Priaulx/Tinknell/Derani
3rd – #63 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette C7.R – Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor
With the drama up front, many would be amiss to forget about the Pro battle as five cars finished on the lead lap. Having been unchallenged in the opening two thirds Aston Martin Racing seemed to finally have some competition at the hands of Jordan Taylor in the #63 Corvette.
The Chevrolet Corvette C7.R led the pair out of the pits in the final stop and looked to hold off the challenge from the Aston, until it ran wide at the second chicane and picked up a puncture on the final lap. Aston took a dramatic victory.
Behind them, the #91 Porsche GT Team threw away a podium spot with a late pitstop to change tyres with only 15 minutes to run. This handed Harry Tinknell in the #67 Ford GT second as Taylor limped home in the final sector.
1st – #84 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari 488 GTE – Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor
2nd – #55 Spirit of Race – Ferrari 488 GTE – Cameron/Scott/Cioci
3rd – #62 Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari 488 GTE – MacNeil/Sweedler/Bell
The early dream from Aston Martin and Chevrolet had long been shattered as JMW Motorsport took a comfortable win in the Am category. The podium had seen fairly set for some time, with Marco Cioci’s #55 Spirit of Race a lap behind the leader and in front of the #62 Scuderia Corsa.