Le Mans Finish: Toyota win for fifth consecutive year, Porsche claim final GTE PRO victory
The #8 GR010 Hybrid running relatively trouble-free to keep Japanese marque's streak alive
Toyota have won the 24H Le Mans for a fifth consecutive year as the #8 GR010 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa steer clear of any major drama to top the overall standings.
They head a Toyota 1-2, the #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez finishing over two minutes behind the sister car after stopping out on track briefly on Sunday morning. The #8 crew's win came after an incident-free run to the checkered flag, only having to negotiate a slow puncture within the final eight hours minutes before inheriting the lead from the sister car.
Glickenhaus completed the overall podium, their maiden visit to the Le Mans rostrum, with the #709 SCG007 of Ryan Briscoe, Franck Mallieux and Richard Westbrook recovering from an early sensor change to finish five laps down on the winning car.
Off the class podium the #708 Glickenhaus fell out down the order after an overnight problem for Olivier Pla forced a lengthy stint in pitlane. Similarly the #36 Alpine A480 was unable to execute a clean race – electronic clutch issues in the fourth hour sent the home team tumbling down the order.
Another lengthy visit to pitlane with exhaust problems was compounded by an accident for Matthieu Vaxivierre at the Porsche Curves.
LMP2 was dominated by the #38 JOTA ORECA 07, Antonio Felix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalex and Will Stevens going unchallenged for the majority of the 24 hours.
Da Costa stretched a half-minute lead during his race-opening stints, setting the tone for a fast, but vitally mistake and incident-free, race for the crew.
The #9 PREMA Orlen Team ORECA was finished second on the road, over two minutes behind the #38, but was able to stop a 1-3 for the Kent-based team.
PORSCHE SURVIVE DESTRUCTIVE MORNING TO CLAIM LAST GTE PRO WIN AT LE MANS
Porsche return to the top step of the GTE PRO class for the first time since 2018, as the #91 911 RSR-19 of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Leitz, and Fred Makowiecki out-lasted the competition to win what is the final appearance of the category at Le Mans.
The #91 avoided a fate that befell the sister #92 which, whilst leading the race on Sunday morning, suffered a puncture at speed on the run out of Mulsanne Corner. Michael Christensen was able to limp back to pitlane but the damage was already done, dropping off the lead lap and out of contention. Minutes later the recovering #64 Corvette of Alexander Sims would crash out of the race in a high speed incident exiting the Daytona Chicane. The pole-sitting C8.R would join the #63 in retirement after the latter was deemed to be carrying significant mechanical damage after a left-front suspension failure inside the first six hours.
That paved the way for Ferrari to score a double podium finish, the #51 AF Corse of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra finishing second – forced to abandon any hopes of a victory following a puncture whilst battling for the lead inside the final five hours.
Eventually the car finished 42sec behind the winning Porsche but a lap ahead of the sister #52 488 GTE Evo of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, and Davide Rigon.
GTE AM honours went the way of TF Sport for the second time in three years. The #33 Aston Martin Vantage climbed the order in the late evening and overnight to assert itself as the out-and-out race leader come Sunday morning.
Aston Martin factory driver Marco Sorensen was instrumental in the victory, with fan-favourite Ben Keating securing class honours after having his 2019 GTE AM win stripped post-race. Enrique Chaves claimed Le Mans victory on debut at La Sarthe, in only his second outing for the British team.
WeatherTech Racing finished over 44sec behind, the #79 Porsche in contention for the win early on thanks to a stellar opening stint from 2018 class-winner Julien Andlauer. Cooper MacNeil and rookie Thomas Merrill were able to keep the Proton-run car in contention despite a lucky escape from a high-speed spin at the Porsche Curves.
Third place was filled by the #99 Hardpoint Motorsports Porsche, Andrew Haryanto, Alessio Picariello and Martin Rump finishing on the class podium despite needing to be recovered from the Dunlop Chicane gravel trap within the final two hours.