Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 with Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway started the race from Pole Position, ahead of the sister car #8 with Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, with Alpine Elf Matmut #36 with Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Matthieu Vaxiviere in P3. Glickenhaus Racing was close with their #708, which was only 0,787 second away from Pole Position, while #709 was a bit further behind.
Team WRT #31 with Charles Milesi, Robin Frijns and Ferdinand Habsburg started from LMP2 Pole, in front of United Autosports USA #22 with Filipe Albuquerque, Phil Hanson and Fabio Scherer, while DragonSpeed USA #21 with Ben Hanley, Juan Pablo Montoya and Henrik Hedman would start from third position, as well as Pole amongst the LMP2 Pro/Am cars.
It was a Porsche-Ferrari-Porsche-Ferrari in GTE Pro, with #92 driven by Neel Jani and Kevin Estre on Pole, followed by #51 with Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, #91 with Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz, and #52 with Daniel Serra and Miguel Molina.
Ben Keating, Dylan Pereira and Felipe Fraga started the race from from GTE Am Pole with TF Sport Aston Martin #33, ahead of Cetilar Racing Ferrari #47 with Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Antonio Fuoco, and with Team Project 1 Porsche #56 with Matteo Cairoli, Egidio Perfetti and Riccardo Pera in third.
AF Corse Ferrari #83 with Alessio Rovera, Francois Perrodo and Nicklas Nielsen would originally start from second position, but the car had less than the minimum requirement of 50mm ground clearance. Thus it would start from last.
There should have been 37 cars to start, but Inception Racing Ferrari #71 had to pull away from the weekend due to an accident in free practice, where they couldn’t manage to get the car ready for the race.
The remaining 36 cars drove through Turn 1 at exactly 12 o’clock Monza time
Alpine Elf Matmut #36 got a good start, and was momentarily up to the second place, before Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 overtook them again.
United Autosports USA #22 took the lead in the LMP2 category.
AF Corse Ferrari #83 was in an attacking mood and went several places up on the first lap.
The two Glickenhaus Racing cars swapped places on the track, so now #709 was ahead of #708. At the same time, Pipo Derani reported on the radio about electrical problems. Soon enough, the red and white car slowly but surely lost speed. The problem turned out to be a broken spark plug, which caused the car to only drive on seven cylinders.
AF Corse Ferrari #54 drove past Cetilar Racing Ferrari #47, in the battle for second place.
Aston Martin Racing #98 cut through the chicane, and got told to give the place back.
Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 had to, unfortunately, get back to the garage, since the car still had problems after the accident they had yesterday. The mechanics managed to send it back to the track, but they were many laps behind. On top of that, they also got a drive-through penalty due to Claudio Schiavoni’s involvement in the same accident – which happened in a Slow Zone.
Inter Europol Competition #34 nudged Realteam Racing #70 in the first chicane, so the latter spun out and lost a lot of time before Loic Duval could come back to the track.
Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #88 spun in the gravel in Variante Della Roggia, as Andrew Haryanto lost the car halfway through the chicane. It triggered a Full Course Yellow, so that the Indonesian could get towed free and back to the asphalt.
Several teams used the chance to pit and refuel, and in some cases, also changed drivers.
Inter Europol Competition #34 got a Drive-through for the contact with Realteam Racing #70 in Turn 1.
Porsche #91 got overtaken by AF Corse Ferrari #52 again after having lost P3 not long before.
High Class Racing #20 with Anders Fjordbach had come up to P6 in the LMP2 category, which was also second place in LMP2 Pro/Am.
Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 was back to the pits, where the mechanics went to repair the car straight away. At one time, there was thick steam from the coolant. Which was not a good sign.
Fjordbach had to drive through the run-off area in the first chicane after getting his rear wheels locked under downshifting.
Cetilar Racing Ferrari #47 got a 10-second pitstop penalty due to a mistake under the Full Course Yellow period.
Oliver Webb had good speed in ARC Bratislava #44, where the Englishman could keep some of the LMP2 competitors behind him. At the same time, this would be their last time with the Ligier chassis, since the Slovakian team had bought an ORECA, which they will use at Le Mans and the rest of the FIA WEC season. Webb got, however, attacked by Tatiana Calderon in Richard Mille Racing Team #1, who drove past him in Variante Della Roggia. But she made a little mistake in Lesmo 1, so Webb could overtake her again.
Inter Europol Competition #34 got called into the pits by the stewards for having a technical defect on the car that had to be solved as soon as possible.
Glickenhaus Racing #709 could keep up with Alpine Elf Matmut #36, where there were only six seconds between the two, after nearly one hour and a half.
Shortly after that, Cetilar Racing Ferrari #47 hit the Tecpro barrier in Lesmo 2, for the second time this weekend, at the exact same corner. Porsche #91 was unlucky to be right behind them and couldn’t avoid the spinning Ferrari. It caused big damage to the front of the Porsche.
Lacorte attempted to roll back to the track, and the race leader allowed him to try before calling for FCY, Slow Zone or Safety Car. He managed to do it, even though he had to very slowly drive back to the pits.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 was in trouble just as Brendon Hartley came out of the pits. He locked the wheels towards the first chicane and the car began to switch to emergency mode, and Hartley could only drive 180 kph. The engineer asked Hartley to switch to another fuel pump, but it did nothing to solve the problem. In the end, he had no choice but to pit after just one lap, driving at a very low speed. When he made it to the pits, the car got pushed back into the garage right away.
Team WRT #31 was back in front in the LMP2 category when United Autosports USA #22 lost fifteen seconds in the pits.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 was back to the track after being in the pits for four and a half minutes, which sent them behind the entire LMP2 and GTE Pro field.
Porsche #92 still kept the lead in GTE Pro, but they were only a few metres away from AF Corse Ferrari #51, who had a good race again towards the end of the second stint. After that it was a battle between the mechanics, of who could refuel and change tires the fastest. And Porsche won the battle – with four seconds.
There was another drama for Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 when Brendon Hartley drove down the end of the straight with pretty much no brake, stormed through the first chicane and towards the grass. Luckily, he could avoid hitting Aston Martin Racing #98. After that, Hartley had to slowly but surely come back to the pits again. There were a lot of metal pieces coming out of the brakes when the mechanics peeled away the left front tire.
ARC Bratislava #44 got a 5-second pitstop penalty as Miro Konopka had taken a shortcut through Variante Della Roggia and didn’t take the right way back to the track.
The lead in GTE Am changed between TF Sport Aston Martin #33 and AF Corse Ferrari #83, depending on when the two cars pitted, since they were both on different strategies.
JOTA #38 had done an overtake on Porsche #91, where Antonio Felix da Costa drove past Richard Lietz outside the track limits. He managed to get away with just a warning this lap, but he shouldn’t test his luck by doing it again.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 came back to the track after almost fifteen minutes in the pits, where the left front corner of the car got changed.
Jan Magnussen took over High Class Racing #20 and began to quickly catch up with the leading LMP2 Pro/Am car, which was Racing Team Nederland #29 with Frits van Eerd behind the wheel. Between the two cars was Risi Competizione with Ryan Cullen, who the Dane should have overtaken first – and thus would get him up in the general LMP2 table. At the same time, Magnussen got overtaken by his son’s teammate from the US, Renger van der Zande, who came flying in his Inter Europol Competition #34 and was a bit more aggressive through the traffic.
After the first two hours, Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 was leading the Hypercar category, Team WRT #31 in LMP2, Racing Team Nederland #29 in LMP2s Pro/Am, Porsche #92 in GTE Pro and TF Sport Aston Martin #33 in GTE Am.
JOTA #38 was centimetres away from hitting their teammates in #28 from behind, when Antonio Felix da Costa braked way too late in Variante Ascari. The Portuguese had to drive over the gravel at high speed, but luckily he came out to the other side without colliding with his teammate Sean Gelael.
There was a huge drama for TF Sport #33 when their left front tire exploded and scattered debris all over the track, on the way to Variante Ascari. Fortunately, the car could continue driving straight, so Ben Keating could avoid hitting the armco. The debris triggered the Safety Car.
It meant the race got reset and Toyota Gazoo Racing #7’s big gap disappeared, so Alpine Elf Matmut #36, and Glickenhaus Racing #709 were much closer to them, though with a few competitors in between the cars.
When the race got restarted, there was panic in the middle of the field since some GTE cars wanted to pit and nobody was allowed to overtake before they got past the starting line at the green flag. Amongst others, both Glickenhaus Racing cars got caught and lost almost eighteen seconds to the leading Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 on the first flying lap.
The pointy elbows came out in GTE Pro when AF Corse Ferrari #51 pushed Porsche #92 out to the gravel in the first chicane, and Porsche #91 also drove past.
Glickenhaus Racing #708 was in trouble again as they drove slowly back to the pits, for the second time in the race.
Renger van der Zande in Inter Europol Competition #34 fought tooth and nail and forced JOTA #38 to the gravel, when Antonio Felix da Costa tried to overtake from the outside.
TF Sport Aston Martin #33 came back to the track after almost twenty-seven minutes of repair in the garage. But it wasn’t as long as the time Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 spent in the garage, which was an hour and forty-four minutes, where Andrea Piccini did a single lap before pitting again.
JOTA #38 overtook Inter Europol Competition #34 again without much difficulty.
Alpine Elf Matmut #36 outbraked itself in Variante Della Roggia but didn’t lose much time.
The problems weren’t over for Toyota Gazoo Racing #8, as they once again had to crawl slowly back to the pits. But this time it wasn’t as serious as they only began to drive slowly in the middle of the straight, instead of under braking.
The two Porsche GTE Pro cars came a bit too close to each other in Variante Della Roggia, where Neel Jani in #92 tried to outbrake Richard Lietz in #91 but instead had to cut through the run-off area.
Glickenhaus Racing #708 was again being slow on the track and came back to the pits at reduced speed.
Suddenly, JOTA #38 lost speed in the middle of the track, but Antonio Felix da Costa managed to get the car back to the pits, where it got pushed back into the garage after the refuel.
Risi Competizione #82 got a 20-second pitstop penalty for taking too long time refuelling under the Safety Car earlier. Under the first three laps of SC, you can only refuel for five seconds and have to refuel again when the pits open. The team, who got help from JOTA for their new LMP2 program this weekend as well as Le Mans, broke that rule.
Racing Team Nederland #29 got a Drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
Dennis Andersen in High Class Racing #20 was under pressure by JOTA #28 with Tom Blomqvist, who was on the way forward again. The Dane did really well, until he got a bit slower in Lesmo 2, which allowed the Englishman with a famous Swedish father to drive past.
Glickenhaus Racing #708 had to retire with a broken gearbox, which unfortunately couldn’t be repaired. The team’s second car, however, was still in the race, with only half a minute away from the race leader.
Richard Lietz outbraked himself in Variante Della Roggia in Porsche #91 and pitted shortly afterwards, handing the car over to Gimmi Bruni.
United Autosports #22 had perfect timing during the FCY and SC periods at the start of the race, so they were 48 seconds ahead of Team WRT #31, after doing their sixth pitstop.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 still struggled with problems, and this time it was the fuel pressure.
With two hours left on the clock, Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 was the leader in Hypercar, United Autosports USA #22 in LMP2, Racing Team Nederland #29 in LMP2 Pro/Am, Porsche #92 in GTE Pro, and AF Corse Ferrari #83 in GTE Am.
Suddenly there was a massive drama for the leading Toyota Gazoo Racing #7. Kamui Kobayashi stalled on the back straight, just under the old oval. Glickenhaus Racing #708 was the new leader of the race since Alpine Elf Matmut #36 already did their fifth pitstop, while the American team still needed to refuel.
Kobayashi managed to get #7 back to life after he reset the electronic. But they also need to pit again soon.
After that, there was a problem for Glickenhaus Racing #709 which got pushed back into the garage. They had to change the brakes as the old ones were totally finished.
It meant that United Autosports #22 was up in the general third place, with under two hours left.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 also got hit by a puncture on the left rear tire, but it fitted with their regular pitstop, so they didn’t lose more time.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 came back to the track after being in the garage for nearly fifty minutes.
Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 had to give up as there wasn’t enough time for the car to be repaired in order to be classified.
There was contact between Inter Europol Competition #34 and High Class Racing #20, when Jakub Smiechowski copied his teammate Alex Brundle with a late dive under braking. It took Dennis Andersen about fifteen seconds before he could get back to the track.
Dennis Andersen fought an unequal battle against Juan Pablo Montoya in DragonSpeed USA #21, who drove past on the way to Turn 1. It was super hard for a bronze-rated driver to fight against a former Formula 1 driver, Indycar champion, and Indy 500 winner.
Glickenhaus Racing #709 came back after an eight-minute repair in the pits, where the brakes got changed.
Dennis Andersen handed over High Class Racing #20 to Anders Fjordback, who would drive the last two stints. He should try to get forward in the LMP2 category again, and back to the podium in LMP2 Pro/Am. A lot of it would depend on the pit strategy in the remainder of the race.
The third position in GTE Pro changed again when AF Corse Ferrari #52 overtook Porsche #91. Porsche, however, had a good slipstream down the straight and could drive past again, under braking in the first chicane.
High Class Racing #20 got a Drive-through for ignoring the blue flag, which ended with the contact with Inter Europol Competition #34.
JOTA #38’s mechanics breathed life into the car again – only for Anthony Davidson to drive very slowly on the track. The car came back to the pits, where it got pushed into the garage.
Porsche #91 and AF Corse Ferrari #51 pitted at the same time, where the teams opted to only change the left side tires. It was the side that got strained most through Turn 2, the Lesmo corners, and Parabolica.
Aston Martin Racing #98 and Team Project 1 Porsche #56 had an intense duel for third place, with an hour left on the clock.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 made a little driver’s error, where Mike Conway outbraked himself in the first chicane. Wasn’t it the first sign of the problem that the sister car had struggled with?
There was a Full Course Yellow with half an hour left of the race when a curb had gone loose. It must first be removed and then make sure there weren’t any sharp bolts or anything that could damage the cars. The teams, who still had one more pitstop to do, used the chance to pit.
When the race got restarted, there was an intense battle between Team WRT #31 and Glickenhaus Racing #709, for general fourth place. #709 came out on top, with just nineteen minutes left.
The last pitstop for Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 got investigated since one of the mechanics hadn’t been standing on the correct side of the line, before the car got released. The team was lucky they got away with only a warning.
AF Corse Ferrari #51 had to pit with two minutes left, and thus it was final that they would finish second.
Nothing was decided in GTE Am, where Aston Martin Racing #98 with Augusto Farfus had caught up with D’Station Racing Aston Martin #777 with Tomonobu Fuji. The two of them battled through several laps before Farfus drove past and thus crossed the finish line in P2.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 with Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi won the race in Hypercar, ahead of Alpine Elf Matmut #36 with Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere, while Glickenhaus Racing #709 with Romain Dumas, Franck Mailleux and Richard Westbrook finished third. Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 also crossed the line, but many laps behind.
United Autosports USA #22 with Phil Hanson, Fabio Scherer and Filipe Albuquerque won the LMP2 category, with almost one minute down to Team WRT #31 with Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi, while Racing Team Nederland #29 with Frits van Eerd, Nyck de Vries and Paul Loup Chatin finished in P3, and at the same time as the best LMP2 Pro/Am team.
DragonSpeed USA #21 with Henrik Hedman, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ben Hanley finished second in LMP2 Pro/Am, while Realteam Racing #70 with Esteban Garcia, Loic Duval and Norman Nato was in third place.
Besides winning the LMP2 category, United Autosports USA #22 also finished third overall, half a minute ahead of Glickenhaus Racing #709.
The GTE Pro category was won by Porsche #92 with Kevin Estre and Neel Jani, followed by AF Corse Ferrari #51 with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, while Porsche #91 with Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz finished third. AF Corse Ferrari #52 with Daniel Serra and Miguel Molina finished in fourth place. All four cars were within 55 seconds of each other.
AF Corse Ferrari #83 with Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Alessio Rovera secured their second win of the season, ahead of Aston Martin Racing #98 with Paul Dalla Lana, Augusto Farfus and Marcos Gomes, while D’Station Racing Aston Martin #777 with Tomonobu Fuji, Satoshi Hoshino and Andrew Watson finished third.
The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be the 24-Hour of Le Mans, on 21 -22 August 2021.