2018 24 Hours of Le Mans – Hour 13 Update – ‘Flying Fernando’ Steals the Show


Credit: Craig Robertson

Class orders, as they have been for the last few hours, have remained the same during the 13th hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The leaders in class are being chased down by those following them, but with advantages of over a minute in each class it will be a few hours before any of them are in any position to attack.

‘Flying Fernando’: the Star of LMP1

Fernando Alonso has been on a mission this hour to regain the time lost on the sister car when the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing picked up a stop / go penalty. He has been setting rapid lap times, closing in on Jose Maria Lopez as the hour has ticked by. The Spaniard has taken out around a minute on the #7 during his night session in the car.

But Alonso seems to be very happy to be racing in the middle of the night, telling the team that he is happy to go onto a fifth stint if they would like him to on this set of tyres. He came in at the end of the hour, handing the car to Kazuki Nakajima.

G-Drive Closer to Overall Podium

Jean Eric Vergne has continued the #26 G-Drive Racing‘s impressive work of holding onto the lead of LMP2, with over a lap lead on the second-placed car at the end of the hour. The #3 Rebellion Racing had an issue with the mounting of the rear plank, which forced them into the pits. The rear plank prevents the car from bottoming out, and the team found that it was hanging off the back of the car.

They only lost around a lap in the garage repairing the rear plank, but this stop brought the G-Drive car ever closer to the overall podium. Just five laps separate them from the overall podium, which is around 20 minutes.

Credit: Craig Robertson

At the end of the hour, the #40 G-Drive had an off at Porsche Curves, taking a heavy hit into the tyre barrier. Jose Gutierrez got out of the car and taken straight to the medical centre for a standard check, but it means that the #40 joins the #17 SMP Racing as being officially announced as retired in this hour. We have lost seven cars this race.

A Quiet Hour in Pro

The two Porsche GT Team cars still command the Pro class as they continue to lap with an impressive lead over the rest of the field. Third-placed Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA #68 is pushing hard to close in on the Porsches, but remains around 50 seconds behind them.

The BMW Team MTEK #82 had a longer pit stop this hour as the team changed the brakes. As the BMW has dry brakes, they are able to simply take the brake discs off the car and put on the new ones without having the bleed the brakes. This makes the change much faster and more efficient in the middle of the race.

Ferrari Surge in Am

The Ferrari-running Am cars looked to pull an advantage in the cooler temperatures of the night stint. During hour 13, Keating Motorsport and Spirit of Race #54 were able to take second and third respectively behind dominant class leader, #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing.

The second Dempsey Porsche seems to have had a difficult hour as they have now fallen down to P6 in class. Running 20 seconds off the back of the next car up the road – #99 Proton Competition – the team will need to push hard in hour 14 to get back up to the speed of the front runners.

Credit: Craig Robertson

2018 24 Hours of Le Mans – Standings after 13 hours

LMP1

  1. #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Mike Conway – Kamui Kobayashi – Jose Maria Lopez
  2. #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Sébastien Buemi – Kazuki Nakajima – Fernando Alonso
  3. #1 Rebellion Racing – Rebellion R13  – Gibson – André Lotterer – Neel Jani – Bruno Senna

LMP2

  1. #26 G-Drive Racing – Oreca 07 – Gibson – Roman Rusinov – Andrea Pizzitola – Jean-Eric Vergne
  2. #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut – Alpine A470 – Gibson – Nicolas Lapierre – Andre Negrao – Pierre Thriet
  3. #23 Panis Barthez Competition – Ligier JSP217 – Gibson – Thimothé Buret – Julien Canal – Will Stevens

GTE Pro

  1. #92 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Michael Christensen – Kevin Estre – Laurens Vanthoor
  2. #91 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Richard Lietz – Gianmaria Bruni – Frédéric Makowiecki
  3. #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA – Ford GT – Joey Hand – Dirk Müller – Sébastien Bourdais

GTE Am

  1. #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Matt Campbell – Christian Ried – Julien Andlauer
  2. #85 Keating Motorsports – Ferrari 488 GTE – Ben Keating – Jeroen Bleekemolen – Luca Stolz
  3. #54 Spirit Of Race – Ferrari 488 GTE – Thomas Flohr – Francesco Castellacci – Giancarlo Fisichella