Locking out the top three again, Toyota Gazoo Racing topped the time sheets for the final official test session of the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche were unable to break into the domination that Toyota held at the top of the timing board. Signatech Alpine finished fastest in LMP2 again, showing a positive competitiveness ahead of the 24-hour endurance race in a fortnight’s time.
Chevrolet continued the pattern of repetition from the morning session as they too ended the afternoon session back on top of the LM GTE Pro class. However, it was Aston Martin Racing that ended the day with the fastest time in LM GTE Am.
Within the first hour of the session, Kamui Kobayashi had set the staggeringly fast lap time of 3:18.132, a lap time that was a clear 1.5 seconds faster than Neel Jani‘s pole-setting lap time for last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Not even the other Toyotas could get close to Kobayashi’s impressive time, with the rest of the field about two seconds slower than the Japanese driver.
Porsche had no answer for the pace that Toyota set as the benchmark and, once again, settled for fourth and fifth. The #2 Porsche started the session with an engine change that lost them some track time but ultimately came back out with Earl Bamber setting a 3:21.512, six-tenths quicker than Jani’s fastest time in the #1.
Signatech Alpine was the team to beat again this afternoon in LMP2, with Nelson Panciatici continuing the impressive work his team-mate did in the morning session and putting the #35 back on the top of the timing board. He ended the session with a 3:28.146, giving him a seven-tenth advantage over second-placed Jean-Eric Vergne in the #24 CEFC Manor TDS Racing.
Corvette Racing finished the day on top with the #64 in the hands of Oliver Gavin. The #64, alike the #2 Porsche, started the session in the garage undergoing an engine change. Gavin got the car on track and took the fastest time in the LM GTE Pro class in the closing stages of the session. HIs 3:54.701 was just over two-tenths faster than the time set by Frederic Makowiecki in the #91 Porsche GT 911 RSR.
Pedro Lamy came out to take the fastest time of the LM GTE Am cars in the afternoon session. He finished with a 3:58.250 in the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, the fastest lap time an Am car had set all day. It was close at the top of the Am field, however, as the #50 Larbre Competition finished the session just 0.052 off the lap time of Lamy.
The four-hour final session became a three-hour, forty-eight minute session as a red flag for dropped oil on track brought the session to an end twelve minutes early. The World Endurance Championship grid will return to the Circuit de la Sarthe in ten days time for the first practice session of the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans.