• Tim Fullbrook

Le Mans 18 Hours: #8 Toyota leads after #7 stops on track, major incidents in GTE PRO

Jose Maria Lopez forced to stop trackside for a reset, as #64 Corvette crashes out on Mulsanne



The #8 Toyota GR010 driven by Brendon Hartley leads the overall standings following a scare for the sister #7 car saw Jose Maria Lopez stop on the exit of Arnage with just over 8 hours to go.


Instead of accelerating away from a slow zone, the Argentinian driver pulled to driver's right and stopped, completing a full reset of the car before coming to pitlane for a longer reset.


Hartley now leads the race by nearly a lap, but that car too escaped drama as it suffered a right-rear puncture minutes before the #7 hit trouble.


Glickenhaus continue to hold third and fourth, with the #709 SCG007 four laps down but within striking distance should either of the Toyotas hit more prolonged disruptions.


With less than seven hours to go the #36 Alpine A480 suffered front end damage after running through the gravel at Porsche Curves, Andre Negrão attempting to pass the #86 GR Racing Porsche before slipping off the circuit.


JOTA are running 1-3 in class as the #38 continues to lead after a faultless run through the night in the hands of Antonio Felix Da Costa and Will Stevens, both of whom completed quadruple stints under the cover of darkness.


As the race heads into its final six hours the #38 is close to holding a lap over the #9 PREMA Orlen Team, with Louis Deletraz halfway through four stints at the wheel.


Oliver Rasmussen rounds out the podium in the second #28 JOTA ORECA, the Dane attempting to build a big enough gap to clear the #39 GRAFF Racing and #37 COOL Racing cars.




MAJOR INCIDENTS IN GTE PRO SEE #64 CORVETTE CRASH AND #92 PORSCHE DOUBLE BLOWOUT


After 18 hours of racing the complexion of the GTE PRO race has been completely changed following a major crash for the #64 Corvette C8.R of Alex Sims.


Running down the second part of the Mulsanne, Francois Perrodo passing the #45 APR ORECA glanced the front right corner of the #64 with the #83 AF Corse ORECA, sending the American marque spinning into the barrier at high speed.


The incident came just as Corvette were announcing the retirement of the #63 with "significant mechanical damage."

Less than two hours before, class-leading #92 Porsche of Michael Christensen suffered a major tyre blowout after locking up and running on at Mulsanne Corner – this decimated the front end of the 911 RSR-19 and forced the Dane to crawl back to pitlane losing nearly three minutes on track and two complete laps in pitlane.


The bout of incidents since sunrise puts the #51 AF Corse Ferrari in firm contention to score a surprise victory for the Italian marque, leading the class by 20sec over the recovering #91 Porsche.


Aston Martin continued their pace throughout the night, with the #33 TF Sport leading a Vantage 1-2 and the majority of running under the cover of darkness.


Henrique Chaves holds a near lap's advantage over the chasing #98 NorthWest AMR machine with Nicki Thiim on board.


Third place is held by the #79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche of Cooper MacNeil, the American


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