Ferrari wins thrilling 24 Hours of Le Mans

Ferrari driver of no 50 win Le Mans - Photo by Melissa Warren

The No. 50 Ferrari AF Corse 499P Hypercar driven by Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina took victory in changeable conditions to win the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Nielsen drove a superb final triple stint, surviving an issue with his door and an investigation for an unsafe pit stop release, to take Ferrari’s second consecutive victory at the legendary La Sarthe circuit.

In treacherous conditions in the final hours of the race, Nielsen was able to forge to the front and gained a gap over the chasing pack which was bunched up after morning safety cars due to poor weather and various incidents.

Toyota Gazoo Racing with the No.7 GR010 Hybrid Hypercar super-sub Jose-Maria Lopez at the wheel tried to chase down Nielsen in the final exchanges but was unable to do so, meaning he and teammates Kamui Kobayashi and Nyck de Vries finished runner-up.

Lopez had a brief spin in his attempts but was still able to split the factory Ferrari 499Ps as the No.51 car of Antonio Giovinazzi, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado placed third to make it a double podium for the Prancing Horse.

During the penultimate hour, Pier Guidi was in contact with the other Toyota GR010 at Mulsanne Corner, driven by Brendon Hartley, and received a five second penalty for the contact. However, the Italian was also susceptible to a chasing Laurens Vanthoor from Porsche Penske Motorsport in the closing 20 minutes but was able to hold off the flying Belgian who eventually finished fourth.

Those points, however, are enough for Vanthoor and teammates Kevin Estre and Andre Lotterer to keep their WEC Hypercar championship points lead and maintain their 100% podium record in 2024.  Porsche now lead Ferrari by nine points in the overall standings, with Toyota now just three points adrift of Ferrari.

Rounding out the top five in Hypercar at Le Mans was the No.8 Toyota ahead of the No.5 Porsche Penske 963 that finished sixth. The No.2 Cadillac Racing V.Series.R placed seventh as the No.12 Hertz Team JOTA crew clinched eight position after a strong comeback after a full car rebuild following a heavy crash in free practice earlier in the week.

Ninth place went to the sister No.38 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche while securing the final manufacturer point was the No.63 Lamborghini Iron Lynx entry. Hertz Team JOTA also claimed 1-2 in the FIA World Cup for Hypercar Teams’ ahead of the other Porsche customer team Proton Competition.

Peugeot TotalEnergies finished 11th and 12th overall with the No. 94 9X8 heading the sister No.93 car.  Isotta Fraschini ended the race 14th overall, and while unable to rival the class leaders, put in a solid run for the Italian manufacturer on what was the team’s Le Mans debut.

Elsewhere, it was a difficult race for both BMW M Team WRT and Alpine Endurance Team. BMW was not able to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the V12 LMR’s win as the No. 15 M Hybrid V8 was retired following a collision with early race leader, the No. 83 Ferrari 499P Hypercar. Meanwhile, the sister No. 20 car was unable to compete with the front-runners, due to several technical issues.

Home hopes were dashed further on Saturday evening when both Alpine A424s suffered engine failure and retired from the race.

Manthey EMA Porsche 911 RSR 911 LMGT3 of Morris Schuring, Yasser Shahin and Richard Lietz triumph become the first trio to ever win an LMGT3 category race at Le Mans.

Schuring also becomes the second youngest ever category winner at just 19-years-old.

They follow up their Spa success last month after a faultless display which saw a smooth run throughout the entire 24 hours.

Lietz, the most experienced driver among the 186 drivers present at Le Mans with 18 previous starts, crosses the finish line ahead of the No.31 Team WRT BMW of Darren Leung, Augusto Farfus and Sean Gelael.

Completing the podium at Le Mans is the No.88 Proton Competition Ford Mustang LMGT3 entry driven by Dennis Olsen, Giorgio Roda and Mikkel Pedersen. They take the first ever podium position for a Mustang at La Sarthe.

Rounding out the top six in LMGT3 is the fourth-placed No.44 Proton Ford Mustang; fifth was the No.85 Iron Dames Lamborghini and sixth was the No.55 Vista AF Corse Ferrari.

No.22 United Autosports trio of Oliver Jarvis, Nolan Siegel and Bijoy Garg enjoyed strong run to LMP2 victory. It registers United Autosports second LMP2 category win after its first triumph in 2020

Inter Europol Competition Oreca-Gibson in hands of Clement Novalak, Vlad Lomko and Kuba Smiechowski take the runners-up position a year on from the Polish team winning LMP2.

Novalak applies late race pressure on Jarvis but the experienced British driver is able to resist to bring home the victory.

Third in LMP2 was the IDEC Sport Oreca-Gibson entry of Job van Uitert, Paul Lafargue and Reshad de Gerus.

The top six is completed by: 4th AF Corse; 5th Vector Sport; 6th AO by TF Sport. By Melissa Warren

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