It has been a super dramatic 24 hours of Le Mans so far.
The legendary race is always full of surprises, and this year’s race is not an exception.
A lot of things happened in the race, which we will talk about in our in-depth report later, but here is a little summary of the cars that had to retire, until now with four hours left of the race.
On the first lap Toyota Gazoo Racing #9, driven by Nico Lapierre, collided with ByKolles Racing Team #4. It caused a damaged front for the Toyota, but they could continue until their next pitstop. The ByKolles car, however, with Oliver Webb behind the wheel, got a puncture and had to limp almost a whole lap before they could change the tire as well as the front of the car.
Seven laps later, ByKolles had to drive to the pits again, with an overheated engine, and unfortunately they couldn’t continue the race.
About an hour into the race, G-Drive Racing #26 collided with Proton Competition #88 in the Porsche curves. Both cars managed to come back to the pits, but later they had to retire because the damages were too big, and they couldn’t repair the cars.
Into the evening, TDS Racing #28 and Risi Competizione #82 clashed with high speed on the way into the first chicane on the Mulsanne straight. It wrecked the Ferrari completely, and TDS Racing #28 got a 7-minuttes stop and go penalty, since it was them who cut in front of the Ferrari under an overtaking attempt.
Toyota #7 retired just before two o’clock, because they had problems with the clutch. Kamui Kobayashi tried to get the car back on the battery, but he ran out of power on the hybrid part at the start of the Porsche Curves.
Around two o’clock Toyota Gazoo Racing #9, again with Lapierre behind the wheel, collided with CEFC Manor TRS Racing #25. It gave the Toyota a puncture on the left-rear tire, and in an attempt to come back to the pits, Lapierre drove way too fast and ended up tearing the rear part of the car. He lost the hydraulic for the gear change, and he was stuck in gear. An oil leak also gave a minor fire at back of the car, but it was quickly extinguished. Lapierre tried to come back to the pits on pure battery power, but he ran out of power on the hybrid part just a few hundred metres from the pits. The car then had to retire.
Simon Trummer was the other person that got involved in the incident. Although it wasn’t shown on TV, we could see from the Toyota’s onboard camera that he just overtook #25. After that we were shown a wrecked manor in the middle of the gravel trap. The tire tracks on the gravel trap indicated that the car didn’t drive off there but rolled instead. Though none of the incident was shown on TV.
Michael Christensen had to retire, after he went off on the exit of the Ford chicane and landed so hard that the car was damaged. He couldn’t even drive the car back to the pits, so it was more or less retired on the spot.
TDS Racing #28 with Emmanuel Collard went off on the Porsche Curves, which sent the car to the barrier. It got so badly damaged that they couldn’t continue the race.
With four hours to go, Porsche #1 lost the oil pressure on the engine and was forced to try switching back to the hybrid part. Andre Lotterer, however, had to park the car halfway through the lap and drove back to the pits with an alternative transportation.
Panis Barthez Competition #23 stopped on the track with three hours to go, and they never manage to drive again.
Apart from that, a lot of cars got punctures – like Corvette Racing #63, Aston Martin Racing #98, and AMR #95 among others.
At the moment Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 is leading both overall and the LMP2 class. Both Porsche #2 and Toyota #8 have had problems with their hybrid part, which cost them more than an hour in the pits for reparations. But Porsche #2 is still chasing the lead, and they have a little over a lap distance from the overall race leader.
Signatech Alpine Matmut #35 is currently second in the LMP2 class and third overall, while Vaillante Rebellion #13 with David Heinemeier Hansson is currently third/fourth. But they have problems to get the car started after pitstops. So far they could solve it with a little fiddling, but they can’t afford to have more problems.
Corvette Racing #63 with Jan Magnussen is currently leading the GTE Pro class, but they are battling relentlessly with Porsche #91 and AMR #97 for the lead – and Ford and Ferrari aren’t too far from the podium spots either, with #67 and #71 respectively.
In GTE Am it’s JMW Ferrari #84 who leads with two laps, in front of Scuderia Corsa Ferrari #62, followed by Beechdean AMR #99 one minute further behind.