Le Mans 24 Hours: Ferrari beats Toyota in race of attrition- Uncover Daily News


Ferrari scored its first outright Le Mans 24 Hours victory in 58 years as Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi beat Toyota in the centenary edition of the race.

On the Italian manufacturer’s return to top-flight competition at the Circuit de la Sarthe with the new 499P Le Mans Hypercar, the #51 crew delivered Ferrari its first outright Le Mans win since Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt took top honours in 1965.

Pier Guidi took the chequered flag one minute and 21 seconds ahead of the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa.

Taking the final spot on the overall podium was the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R shared by Alex Lynn, Earl Bamber and Richard Westbrook, a lap behind the winning Ferrari.

In a race of heavy attrition, the fight for the lead boiled down to a straight fight between the #51 Ferrari and the #8 Toyota, although it was the 499P that appeared to have the advantage on sheer pace for much of the second half of the race.

After suffering an off in the hands of Pier Guidi at the first Mulsanne chicane in the evening hours, the #51 Ferrari was back into the lead and almost a minute clear of the Toyota, but the gap was virtually eradicated when Pier Guidi had to perform a power cycle at a pitstop in the 19th hour.

That brought the Toyota back into contention, with the two leaders circulating just seconds apart at this point of the race, but the Ferrari had already started to assert its advantage when an off for Hirakawa in the penultimate hour defused the battle.

Hirakawa lost it under braking at Arnage, hitting the barriers, but was able to get the damaged #8 car to the pits and was sent on his way without losing a lap.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

There was a minor scare for the #51 car in the closing stages as Pier Guidi had to perform another power cycle with 23 minutes to go, but his advantage over the Toyota was such that he was able to resume in a clear lead before going on to make history for Ferrari.

The third-placed #2 Cadillac enjoyed a largely clean run, save for a spin for Westbrook in the night-time hours, but the sister #3 Chip Ganassi Racing-run car endured a much more eventful time on its way to fourth.

Sebastien Bourdais was rear-ended by a GTE Am car at the Dunlop chicane during an early slow zone, sending the car into the garage for repairs, and there was a similar incident involving Bourdais and one of the WRT cars at Tertre Rouge just as the Frenchman had got back onto the lead lap in the night.

Ultimately, Bourdais and team-mates Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon finished three laps down in fourth, followed home by the #50 Ferrari of Nicklas Nielsen, Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina in fifth.

The pole-winning car had already slipped out of lead contention following an off for Nielsen at the Porsche Curves during one of two heavy rain showers in the evening hours, and then lost multiple laps overnight due to an energy recovery system fluid leak.

The two remaining Hypercar manufacturers, Peugeot and Porsche, endured races to forget.

Peugeot had both of its unconventional 9X8 in the thick of the lead battle early on, but a spin in the wet for Jean-Eric Vergne in the #93 car at Mulsanne corner cost that car two laps, while Gustavo Menezes suffered a crash in the sister #94 machine at the first Mulsanne chicane in the early hours.

Both Peugeots were then taken into the garage for hydraulic issues with the better of the two, the #93 car in which Vergne shared with Paul di Resta and Mikkel Jensen, finishing eighth.

#75 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 of Felipe Nasr, Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy

#75 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 of Felipe Nasr, Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Porsche endured an even more miserable showing with its trio of Penske-entered 963 LMDhs, which all suffered multiple delays.

The third-string #75 Porsche became the first Hypercar retirement with a fuel pressure problem, before a crash at the Porsche Curves for Kevin Estre put the marque’s best-placed car, the #6, out of contention before it lost even more time replacing the hybrid battery.

Porsche’s #5 machine was on course to come home fifth, having suffered delays due to a puncture and a cooling system leak, before finally suffering a driveshaft issue in the final hour that dropped it down to ninth.

The late drama cleared the way for boutique manufacturer Glickenhaus to score an unlikely sixth place in the manufacturer-dominated Hypercar class with the #708 entry shared by Oliver Pla, Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe, ahead of the sister #709 car.

That was despite multiple shunts involving both of the non-hybrid 007 LMHs, including near-identical offs for Pla and Esteban Gutierrez at Indianapolis.

LMP2: Inter Europol scores underdog win

#34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 - Gibson of Jakub Smiechowski, Albert Costa, Fabio Scherer

#34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 – Gibson of Jakub Smiechowski, Albert Costa, Fabio Scherer

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

The LMP2 class was won by the Polish Inter Europol Competition squad with the #34 ORECA shared by Jakub Smiechowski, Albert Costa and Fabio Scherer – who incredibly sustained a suspected broken foot during the race.

Swiss driver Scherer sustained the injury when the Corvette GTE Am car ran over his left foot during a round of pitstops, but that didn’t stop Inter Europol from clinching a first World Endurance Championship win on the biggest stage of all.

Inter Europol had been in command for the final eight hours of the race, surviving multiple investigations for pitstop infringements in the closing stages to beat the #41 Team WRT car of Louis Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Rui Andrade by 21 seconds.

Duqueine took the final spot on the podium with Neel Jani, Rene Binder and Nico Pino, assisted by a late issue for the second of the WRT ORECAs, the #31 car, which was brought into the pits with a suspected suspension issue with 11 minutes to go.

Alpine’s lead contender, the #36 machine of Charles Milesi, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Julien Canal, was promoted to fourth, with the #31 car of Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and Ferdinand Habsburg coming away with fifth after its late dramas.

United Autosports suffered a nightmare race, with both of its ORECAs involved in incidents. Its top finisher was the #23 car in eighth place following a night-time crash for Tom Blomqvist that necessitated a trip to the medical centre as the car’s medical alarm had been triggered.

GTE: Corvette gives C8.R farewell victory

#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone

#33 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Corvette Racing secured a fitting final victory for GTE machinery at Le Mans, before the class bows out in favour of GT3 cars for 2024.

That was an outcome that looked unlikely early in the race as the solo C8.R went into the garage for 10 minutes to replace a front damper, losing two laps, and then failed to get a lap back during an early safety car procedure after some cars were released from the pits early.

However, a smooth run thereafter combined with rapid pace from Nicky Catsburg, Nico Varrone and Ben Keating allowed them to claw back the lost ground, the #33 machine finally getting back on the lead lap by the 16th hour.

By the 21st hour, the Corvette was established in the lead at the expense of the all-female crewed Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy.

Frey was demoted another position by the ORT by TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage, which had lost ground in the night with a puncture and a drive-through penalty awarded for Ahmad Al Harthy passing behind the safety car.

In the final reckoning, the #33 TF Sport car Al Harthy, Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood finished two minutes behind the Corvette, with the GR Racing Porsche denying the Iron Dames car the final spot on the podium in the closing stages.

There was late drama for the ‘Rexy’-liveried AO Racing – Project 1 Porsche, which had been in podium contention but was forced into the garage due to an issue with the right-rear corner.

The Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 NASCAR Cup car, shared by Jimmie Johnson, Jenson Button and Mike Rockenfeller, was classified 38th after a series of delays in the final stages owing to apparent gearbox issues.

A total of 39 cars out of the 62 starters were classified, the lowest figure since the 2015 race.

2023 Le Mans 24 Hours – Results


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