Toyota Gazoo Racing have taken their fifth 24 Hours of Le Mans victory with Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.
The last six hours of the race saw the status quo held with the #8 having a faultless run to the finish. The #7 couldn’t do anything to challenge for the lead, but did manage to get back on the lead lap before the chequered flag fell. Glickenhaus Racing #709 recovered from their engine sensor failure to take the bottom step of the overall podium; Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Franck Mailleux bringing home the team’s first Le Mans podium.
The #708 crossed the line fourth, five laps down on the sister car, with the #36 Alpine Elf Team fifth in class, 23rd overall.
In hindsight, it was clear the #38 JOTA had the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the bag from hour three, claiming a dominant victory in the hands of Antonio Felix Da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Will Stevens. It was a great finish for the JOTA team, with the #28 of Oliver Rasmussen, Edward Jones and Jonathan Aberdein making it a double podium, utilising the last quarter of the race to optimise their pit strategy and get ahead of the teams they were fighting with. It wasn’t quite enough for a one-two as the trio of Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Lorenzo Colombo drove spectacularly in the #9 Prema Orlen Team to take second.
Just after the start of the 18th hour, the #31 WRT, that won Le Mans last year, became the sole retirement from the LMP2 class, having an incident on the Mulsanne Straight. Robin Frijns was on board as, in and almost copy-paste-repeat of the #49 Team Project 1 incident, he hit the left hand barrier and pitched the car around. The front damage was too substantial to continue, forcing the car that had been recovering well out of the race.
Nyck De Vries pulled off a fantastic stint at the end of the race to help put the #13 TDS Racing x Vaillante fourth in class, with #5 Team Penske closing out the top five. United Autosports #22 recovered well from their race start incident, giving the team a double points finish in class tenth, the sister #23 up in sixth. The rest of the point scoring positions were claimed by #37 COOL Racing, #48 IDEC Sport and the #1 Richard Mille Racing Team.
Having started right at the back of the 24 Hours of Le Mans grid because they failed to set a time in qualifying, Steven Thomas, James Allen and Rene Binder drove an incredible faultless race to take first in LMP2 Pro/Am with the #45 Algarve Pro Racing. It had looked to be in the hands of the #83 AF Corse but after their tangle with the #64 Corvette they lost a few laps in the pits. #24 Nielsen Racing was second in class, splitting the two.
After the loss of the Corvette Racing entries from the race, it was a clean run for the Porsche GT Team to take class victory. For a little while it looked like the #51 AF Corse might hold them off; Alessandro Pier Guidi making his Ferrari 488 EVO as wide as possible in defending from Frederic Makowieki. But the BoP certainly wasn’t favouring the Italian manufacturer, and Makowieki was past and disappearing down the circuit to cruise to victory with a 42 second buffer.
Although hindered by BoP, Ferrari did have the cleanest race, with none of the three Pro entries disappearing into the garage for any issues. This gave the Italian marque a two-three on the final podium, Porsche #92 fourth after their tyre blow out, and the #74 Riley Motorsport rounding off the class in fifth.
Ben Keating took his first Le Mans victory with Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen in the #33 TF Sport Aston Martin, 44 second ahead of the #79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche. It could have been a closer fight at the end, but with a couple of hours to go the #79 spun off into the gravel, losing time being recovered onto the track. Paul Dalla Lana, David Pittard and Nicki Thiim made it an Aston Martin one-three in their untroubled run with the #98 Northwest Aston Martin Racing.