19th Le Mans victory for Porsche, disappointing end for Toyota
Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber are the winners of the 85th edition of 24 hours of Le Mans, bringing the record 19th victory to Porsche. For Bernhard and Bamber, the victory is second in their careers while Hartley reaches top podium spot for the first time.
The trio in the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid triumphed in one of the most dramatic races in recent years, after all five LMP1 manufacturers’ entries were hit by seriuos troubles, which resulted with retirements of two Toyota TS050 Hybrids and one Porsche 919 Hybrid. The #7 Toyota and #1 Porsche retired while leading the race due to technical problems, the #9 Toyota stopped after being damaged in a contact with another car.
From early problems to glorious victory
Both the #2 Porsche and #8 Toyota had technical problems early in the race but recovered after spending lots of time in garages. The #2 had broken front axle, the #9 had to change a hybrid system. The #7 and #9 Toyotas had no such a luck, the cars retired in the middle of the night within 30 minutes of each other.
The #2 Porsche was 13 laps behind leading #1 Porsche when Andre Lotterer was forced to stop with less than four hours on a clock. The overall lead was inherited by the #38 Oreca LMP2 prototype of Jackie Chan DC Racing. The #38 was in the lead until lap 348, with 66 minutes more to run, when Timo Bernhard overtook Ho-Pin Tung to prevent a sensational win of LMP2 car.
LMP2 crews on the overall podium
Until the end of the race, the #2 Porsche built an advantage of one lap over #38 Oreca. Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent finished the race in a fantastic second place and the best among LMP2 contestants.
In the final hour of the race, three LMP2 cars fought for the third place in the outright standings. The #35 Alpine A470 of Signatech Alpine Matmut, driven by Nelson Panciatici, Pierre Ragues and Andre Negrao, was in the P3 when Negrao went off at Arnage corner. He was pushed out from the gravel trap but lost a time in the pits, dropping to P5.
The #13 Oreca of Vaillante Rebellion, driven by Nelson Piquet Jr, Mathias Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson, grabbed the third place overall, followed closely by #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Oreca, driven by Tristan Gommendy, Alex Brundle and David Cheng.
Aston Martin leads five brands in the GTE Pro Top 5
In the GTE Pro class, we saw a fantastic battle among five manufacturers with multiple lead changes. At the end, all five marques are represented in the top 5, with the #97 Aston Martin Vantage taking a victory for Aston Martin Racing. The drivers were Jonny Adam, Darren Turner and Daniel Serra.
Jonny Adam took the lead in the final lap, battling against Jordan Taylor in the #63 Chevrolet Corvette. Taylor damaged his car in the penultimate lap so he was forced to slow down, losing one more place until the checkered flag. The #67 Ford GT took the second place in the GTE Pro class, driven by Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani. Jordan Taylor’s co-drivers in the #63 Corvette were Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.
The #91 Porsche 911 RSR finished fourth in the class, ahead of #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.
Ferrari crews sweep GTE Am podium
In the GTE Am class, the #84 Ferrari 488 GTE of JMW Motorsport was in the lead for most of the race, comfortably winning a race ahead of two more Ferraris (#55 Spirit of Race and #62 Scuderia Corsa). The victorious trio in the #84 Ferrari are Dries Vanthoor, Will Stevens and Robert Smith.
The second-placed crew are Marco Cioci, Aaron Scott and Duncan Cameron. The third-placed crew are Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Cooper MacNeil.