Friday, July 19, 2024
Home IMSA Ferrari defends title as 499P hypercar wins 24 Hours of Le Mans

Ferrari defends title as 499P hypercar wins 24 Hours of Le Mans

71
0

Ferrari won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second year in a row on Sunday after a battle with Toyota to the finish of the 92nd edition of the endurance race.

Almost out of fuel and on a wet track, Denmark’s Nicklas Nielsen took the checkered flag in the 499P hypercar shared with Italian Antonio Fuoco and Spaniard Miguel Molina over 311 laps of the Sarthe circuit.

The Toyota GR010 hybrid driven by Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Nyck de Vries finished 14.221 seconds behind after starting 23rd.

Nielsen, Fuoco and Molina were all first-time overall winners, but the outcome remained open right to the end in a race with a safety car period lasting more than four hours during the night.

The car’s fuel gauge was registering around 2% at the finish.

“The worst for me was when they asked me to go slower because that’s usually where the mistakes happen,” Nielsen said about saving fuel to the finish. “The last lap was so long. They kept me updated on the gap … so it was just about managing the gap to the car in P2 [second]. … But we did it.”

There was drama with more than an hour remaining when the car’s right-side door flapped open, forcing a pit stop, which later played into Ferrari’s hands with the car now on a different fuel strategy to rivals.

The Toyota GR010 hybrid driven by Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Nyck de Vries finished 14.221 seconds behind after starting 23rd.

Ferrari’s winning crew from a year ago — Alessandro Pier Guidi, Antonio Giovinazzi and James Calado — finished third on a day of drizzle and overcast skies.

Toyota’s challenge was slowed by Lopez spinning at the Dunlop Curve, losing precious time. With 30 minutes remaining, and a 30-second gap to the leader, Toyota effectively conceded defeat and told Lopez to bring the car home in second place.

Ferrari had looked good from the start, with the two factory cars joined by the AF Corse customer team entry driven by Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman and Yifei Ye. That entry, which had led on Saturday, retired four hours from the end with technical issues.

Porsche Penske finished fourth with the pole-sitting car driven by Laurens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre and Andre Lotterer.

Two-time IndyCar champion Alex Palou finished seventh in a Cadillac.

BMW and Renault-owned Alpine were out of the running by midnight, with Renault’s entry catching fire at Arnage after nearly five hours of racing. The BMW retired with engine trouble.

The United Autosports Oreca entry of Britain’s Oliver Jarvis with Americans Bijoy Garg and Nolan Siegel won the second-tier LMP2 category.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here