24 Hours of Le Mans: #8 Toyota Leads Sister Car at Halfway Stage


June 12, 2022

by Connor Kay

The #8 Toyota leads the 90th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the clock ticks past 4AM, signalling the halfway stage of the race.

Despite a chaotic start in LMP2 that left a number of victory contenders such as United Autosports and WRT on the back foot, the track has remained green and dry throughout the first 12 hours of racing, with local yellows and slow zones enough to cover the plethora of minor incidents and excursions.

Overall the #8 Toyota, currently driven by Ryo Hirakawa, leads it’s sister car by a margin of 20 seconds, establishing a handy lead after the pair swapped the lead multiple times during the early stints of the race.

Both Toyotas had the pace to pull away from the pair of chasing Glickenhauses and the Alpine, although further mechanical setbacks for all three cars dropped them well off the lead lap. The #709 Glickenhaus, which suffered a sensor issue early on, is the highest placed of the trio in 3rd overall, two laps off the lead. The Alpine and #708 suffered more time consuming setbacks leaving them 22nd and 6th overall respectively.

After the dramatic start, which saw the #23 United Autosports in the gravel before turn 1, the #38 JOTA car quickly established a lead and has grown that over the 12 hours to almost a lap over the Prema car which briefly led at the start and now occupies 2nd.

The #31 WRT machine was deemed to be responsible for the turn 1 collision and was handed a 1 minute stop-go penalty, dropping it to the back of the LMP2 order, where it has so far recovered to 4th in class.

The other teams still in with a reasonable shot at the class podium are the second JOTA entry, which currently occupies third position, with Team Penske, Cool Racing, Panis Racing and the recovering #23 United Autosports car all in close company.

Corvette were enjoying a nigh-on perfect run until the 6 hour mark, where both their entries ,who were previously running a comfortable 1-2 ,suffered issues knocking the #63 car out of contention to 59th position and the #64 down to a distant 5th in class.

Despite the setback, the sole remaining Corvette in the hunt has fought back to regain second position, all be it over 1:30s behind Kevin Estre in the leading #92 Porsche. The #51 Ferrari sits in 3rd with the #91 Porsche dropping off the lead lap.

Weathertech Racing have run a very strong race so far, leading the GTE Am class for the majority of the running. Hardpoint Motors currently sits in 2nd, 8 seconds off the lead, while the pair of Aston Martins from Northwest AMR and TF Sport have risen up the leaderboard, currently placed 3rd and 4th in class respectively.

Photo Credit: Toyota GAZOO Racing WEC

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