24 Hours of Le Mans: #8 Toyota Takes Dominant Win Ahead of Sister Car

June 12, 2022

by Connor Kay

The #8 Toyota of Sebastian Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa claimed victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, defeating the sister #7 car by a margin of over two minutes.

Both Toyota entries showed good pace from the off and quickly establishing a lead over the chasing Glickenhauses and Alpine during the early stints.

The Toyotas’ lead was then further extended when all three chasing hypercars suffered mechanical issues, dropping all three off the lead lap and the #709 Glickenhaus and #36 Alpine to the bottom of the LMP2 field.

While both Toyotas enjoyed stints at the head of the field during the first half of the race, the #8 car eventually established a small but critical lead which it refused to yield right to the chequered flag.

The sister #7 car then dropped further back overnight, as a very long pitstop where the car refused to fire lost the chasing team an entire lap. Despite a commendable effort to chip away at the #8 car’s lead, they fell short, ending up two minutes off the win.

The #709 Glickenhaus ran relatively trouble free after it’s initial sensor issue, and managed to retain 3rd position overall, all be it slipping five laps down on the leader.

The troubled #36 Alpine team’s day refused to get any better as their recovery drive was mired with a number of issues, most noticeably a crash at the Porsche Curves during Sunday morning’s running, leaving them to finish a distant 23rd overall.

The #709 Glickenhaus steadily climbed the LMP2 field throughout the remainder of the race, making it’s way back to 4th overall just before the finish, above all the LMP2 entries.

JOTA enjoyed a fantastic run in LMP2, capitalising on a hectic start to snatch the lead and run away at the front, leading by almost a lap throughout the majority of the race.

Their closest competition came from the Prema car which chased them throughout the race and managed to beat the second JOTA #28 car to second in class.

Behind them the #13 TDS Racing car featuring super-sub Nick de Vries managed to climb from the back of the grid to 4th in class ahead of Penske, #23 United Autosports and Cool Racing, all of whom showed good potential but suffered issues which dropped them out of contention for the win.

The pole-sitting #31 WRT car was making a solid recovery drive after receiving a one minute stop-go penalty for causing the turn one collision, but Rene Rast lost the car at Indianapolis, smacking the barrier and bringing out the only safety car period of the race. As a result the team was forced to retire, with the entire Belgian squad suffering a difficult victory defence, finishing 11th and 17th for the #32 and Realteam cars respectively.

Heartbreak for Corvette will certainly be the story of the GTE Pro class’ last run at Le Mans. The American manufacturer managed to convert their 1-2 qualifying into a strong lead during the first quarter of the race but soon afterwards succumbed to technical difficulties which dropped the #63 car to the back of the field, eventually leading to retirement and the #64 car to a distant 5th in class, almost a lap off the lead.

The #92 Porsche then inherited the lead but suffered damage as a result of a puncture in the morning, dropping them down the order.

This gifted the #51 Ferrari the class lead, but with the #64 Corvette recovering to within a few seconds of the lead by the mid morning, things were looking good for the American manufacturer.

However, while attempting to squeeze between the Corvette and a slow LMP2 the #83 AF Corse LMP2 of Alessio Rovera made contact with the #64, pitching it into the barriers on the Mulsanne and ending the sole remaking Corvette’s run.

The #91 Porsche, which had suffered setbacks earlier in the race, then caught and passed the #51 to claim an unlikely final victory for the 911 RSR at Le Mans, with the pair of AF Corse Ferraris coming home 2nd and 3rd to round out the podium.

The #33 TF Sport Aston Martin steadily climbed the leaderboard over the full 24 hours to take home the class win in GTE Am, 44s ahead of longtime leader Weathertech Racing who fell to 2nd towards the end with a mild excursion in the gravel.

Behind them the Northwest AMR entry came home to finish 3rd after running at the sharp end of the grid all race.

The WEC will return for the 6 Hours of Monza on the 10th July where the long-anticipated Peugeot 9X8 hypercar will make it’s competitive debut.

Photo Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing WEC


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