Porsche has taken the top spot at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race from the Circuit de la Sarthe in a dramatic finish. It was an exciting race that ended with an LMP1 car on top and two non-LMP1 cars on the podium thanks to a number of issues in the six-car LMP1 field.
The No. 1 Porsche car led for much of the race but suffered a loss of oil pressure in the 21st hour, leading to a retirement from the race. The No. 2 Porsche lost over an hour in the garage during an MGU change, which led it to the back of the field.
But a nearly flawless race after getting back onto the track allowed the No. 2 Porsche to cut through the LMP2 field and retake the lead in the 23rd hour of the race. The Porsche was running 10 to 15 seconds per lap faster than the No. 39 Oreca, the LMP2 car that was poised to take the win when the No. 1 Porsche went out of the race.
The No. 39 Jackie Chan DC Oreca took first in the LMP2 field and second overall. Jonathan Adam drove the No. 97 Aston Martin home to win the GTE Pro field as well. The No. 84 JMW Ferrari came home to win the GTE Am field.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is contested with four different classifications of cars on the track at one time: LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am. So the LMP1 Porsche was always supposed to outclass the cars in the other classes. But after an hour in the garage, getting even a podium finish seemed out of the question. Now they have the win.
Unfortunately, reliability issues surfaced once again for the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, which had three of the TS050 Hybrid cars in the race, more than any other team in LMP1. Porsche LMP Team had two cars, and the privateer team of ByKolles Racing had the ENSO CLM P1/01-Nismo in the field of just six cars.
The ByKolles Racing car had to stop not long into the race, with the No. 8 Toyota the first from that team to stop and spend two hours in the pit undergoing motor maintenance. Unfortunately, it didn’t end there, as the No. 7 Toyota, driven by Kamui Kobayashi, one of the best drivers in the world, suffered a power issue and came to a stop.
That left the No. 9 Toyota in second place. But less than 20 minutes later, the No. 9 car sustained a left-rear puncture that may have occurred after contact with an LMP2 car on the main straight. Previously, Toyota had the race lead but quickly gave it up to Nick Tandy driving the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
The GTE Pro class came down to the final lap. Jordan Taylor, driving the No. 63 Corvette, pulled some beautiful moves to keep his lead over the Aston Martin GTE, but he suffered a puncture with just about a lap to go and was denied glory for the American team. As mentioned, Adam was the driver at the helm of the Aston Martin.