At the quarter distance of the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans there are still 59 of the 60 starters lapping around the Circuit de la Sarthe. Although the class orders seemed to have settled down, with the leaders pulling away from the rest of the pack, we are fast approaching the night time stint of the race where fatigue will start to play a role and low visibility could lead to drivers making mistakes.
Toyota Running Away with LMP1
Toyota Gazoo Racing have a very strong lead in this race with more than a lap over the closest privateer car.
Toyota used this hour to change up the strategies of their two cars, following the previous hour’s safety car period, they staggered the pit stops, bringing Fernando Alonso in the #8 for a driver change first. Kazuki Nakajima would be the next driver up for the #8 car. Jose Maria Lopez came into the pits not long after for fuel only, staying in the car to do an extra stint. At their second pit stop of the hour, Lopez put the #7 into the capable hands of Kamui Kobayashi. Following the pitstops the pair are separated on track by around 2 seconds.
Jenson Button is still pushing hard in the #11 SMP Racing, even though it is 48 laps down on the leaders. Using this track time to get as much experience as he can on the circuit, he is chasing down the unofficially retired #4 ByKolles Racing Team, who crashed out earlier in the race.
LMP2 field Pressuring LMP1 Privateers
The #26 G-Drive Racing crew have a substantial lead on the rest of the class, currently placed sixth in the overall standings. A mistake by Renger van der Zande in the #10 DragonSpeed going across the Dunlop Chicane.
With there being a potential for an LMP2 car to get on the overall podium, should anything happen to a large number of the LMP1s, the G-Drive team are best placed to take advantage of any issues that may fall upon the leading class.
A driver error from Juan Pablo Montoya going into Indianapolis ended up with the Columbian nose first into the tyre barrier. The #32 United Autosports returned to the pitlane for a nosecone change, but it cost Montoya time on the track.
BMW Ones to Watch in GTE Pro
The Balance of Performance hasn’t seemed to make much difference to the competitive order of the Pro class, but BMW Team MTEK are doing their best to prove that statement wrong. Antonio Felix de la Costa pulled an impressive move on two battling Ford Chip Ganassi cars at the top of the hour down the Mulsanne Straight. As the Ford’s battled for position, de la Costa took the opportunity to go three abreast down the straight to overtake them both in the same move. The #82 currently sits sixth in class, chasing down the best placed Ford.
Porsche Leading Am with Ferrari Keeping the Pressure
After the safety car that took up most of the last hour, three cars were penalised for overtaking before the safety car had ended. The #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK, #44 Eurasia Motorsport and the #98 Aston Martin Racing were all handed a drive through penalty, which added insult to injury for the Aston Martin who have been having a tough time.
The Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche‘s have been the ones on top throughout the weekend, and this has continued into the race, with one of them always featuring in the top three. However, the Ferrari-running teams have not allowed the Porsche-running teams to get comfortable, always being on the outskirts with them and keeping them honest as we go further into the 24 hour race.
2018 24 Hours of Le Mans – Standings after 6 Hours
- #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Sébastien Buemi – Kazuki Nakajima – Fernando Alonso
- #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Mike Conway – Kamui Kobayashi – Jose Maria Lopez
- #17 SMP Racing – BR Engineering BR1 – Gibson – Stéphane Sarrazin – Egor Orudzhev – Matevos Isaakyan
- #26 G-Drive Racing – Oreca 07 – Gibson – Roman Rusinov – Andrea Pizzitola – Jean-Eric Vergne
- #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut – Alpine A470 – Gibson – Nicolas Lapierre – Andre Negra0 – Pierre Thiriet
- #23 Panis Barthez Competition – Ligier JSP217 – Gibson – Thimothé Buret – Julien Canal – Will Stevens
- #92 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Michael Christensen – Kevin Estre – Laurens Vanthoor
- #81 BMW Team MTEK – BMW M8 GTE – Martin Tomczyk – Nicky Catsburg – Philipp Eng
- #93 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Patrick Pilet – Nick Tandy – Earl Bamber
- #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Matt Campbell – Christian Ried – Julien Andlauer
- #56 Team Project 1 – Porsche 911 RSR – Jörg Bergmeister – Patrick Lindsey – Egidio Perfetti
- #54 Spirit Of Race – Ferrari 488 GTE – Thomas Flohr – Francesco Castellacci – Giancarlo Fisichella