Marc Lieb, Neel Jani, and Romain Dumas achieved a dramatic victory for Porsche Team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. With five minutes remaining, it looked like Toyota would achieve its first Le Mans victory before the race-leading Toyota lost power on the penultimate lap.
The victory battle was between the two Toyota Gazoo Racing cars and one Porsche Team car. The first six hours were dominated by the No. 6 Toyota and the No. 1 Porsche. Yet a mechanical failure cost the No. 1 Porsche the victory chance during the night. Once the race entered its final six hours, the top three was the No. 5 and No. 6 Toyotas and the No. 2 Porsche, all within only 40 seconds.
The No. 6 Toyota was the first to fall from the victory contention. Early in 21st hour, Kamui Kobayashi in the No. 6 was charging the second-placed No. 2 Porsche when he spun at the exit of the Michelin Curves and lost almost half a minute. A bigger setback happened an hour later when the car with bodywork damage spent 10 minutes in the garage for repairs, losing three laps.
That left the leading No. 5 Toyota and the No. 2 Porsche as the only cars on lead lap. Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima at the wheel of the leading Toyota were maintaining a lead of about half a minute to Marc Lieb and Neel Jani in the second-placed Porsche. A slow puncture for the second-placed Porsche gave the leading Toyota a lead of over a minute for the last ten minutes.
Then came the heartbreak for Toyota. With Le Mans participation dating back to the 1980s, Kazuki Nakajima was driving the No. 6 towards Toyota’s first victory at Le Mans. Then five minutes before the checkered flag, the car started losing power and halted after the start-finish line with the No. 2 Porsche passing it to start the final lap.
What looked like Toyota’s first Le Mans victory became Porsche’s 18th Le Mans victory. The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid was driven by Marc Lieb, Neel Jani, and Romain Dumas, of which only Dumas had previously won at Le Mans. The No. 5 Toyota failed to complete the final lap within six minutes and was not classified, thus the No. 6 Toyota with Mike Conway, Stéphane Sarrazin, and Kamui Kobayashi was second, three laps behind the winner car. Audi had a difficult Le Mans this year; yet still the No. 8 Audi Sport Team Joest entry finished in third place, though 12 laps down.
The No. 12 Rebellion Racing car was the only privateer LMP1 entry taking the checkered flag, yet it finished 29th overall and 54 laps behind the winner car.
Victorious Le Mans comeback for Ford
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing won the GTE-Pro class in the brand-new Ford GT’s first appearance at Le Mans. The victory came 50 years after Ford’s first Le Mans overall victory in 1966 with the Ford GT40 Mk.II.
The No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari had claimed the GTE-Pro lead in the early morning hours. The No. 68 Ford GT was running in second place when the race entered its final six hours, despite having served a drive-through penalty for engine running during refueling.
In the 20th hour, Matteo Malucelli in the Risi Ferrari was overtaken by Joey Hand in the No. 68 Ford for the lead. After Malucelli’s stint, Toni Vilander took over the Ferrari. Vilander was running faster than Hand and reducing the gap to lead to under five seconds before he spun at the exit of the Michelin Curves. Vilander lost 40 seconds because of the spin and could not anymore get close to the No. 68 Ford during his stint.
With just over two hours to go, Vilander handed the second-placed Risi Ferrari to Giancarlo Fisichella while Hand handed the GTE-Pro leading Ford GT to Dirk Müller for the final stints. Fisichella was unable to catch Müller; the Ford driver instead extended the winning margin to one minute. Thus Ford could celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Le Mans victory with Müller, Hand, and Sébastien Bourdais winning the GTE-Pro class in a Ford GT.
The strong effort of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing was completed by the No. 69 Ford GT in third place, 1 minute, 24 seconds behind the winning car, and the No. 66 Ford GT in fourth place, one lap down.
Signatech Alpine and Scuderia Corsa winners in Pro-Am classes
Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi, and Gustavo Menezes of Signatech Alpine dominated the LMP2 class since the night and the Alpine-badged Oreca-Nissan of the team won with a dominant margin of two minutes, 40 seconds. René Rast, Will Stevens, and Roman Rusinov finished in second place for the No. 26 G-Drive Racing entry, also using an Oreca-Nissan car.
The No. 37 SMP Racing entry with its BR01-Nissan car was the best non-Oreca in third place, already five laps behind the winner.
In GTE-Am, the Ferrari 458 Italia of Scuderia Corsa led most of the second half of the race. The team’s drivers Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler, and Jeff Segal won the race by one lap to François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, and Rui Aguas of the No. 83 AF Corse entry, also using a Ferrari 458 Italia. The No. 88 Porsche of Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing completed the GTE-Am podium.
|1||2||Porsche Team||Romain DUMAS||Neel JANI||Marc LIEB||LMP1||384 Laps|
|2||6||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Stéphane SARRAZIN||Mike CONWAY||Kamui KOBAYASHI||LMP1||3 Laps|
|3||8||Audi Sport Team Joest||Lucas DI GRASSI||Loïc DUVAL||Oliver JARVIS||LMP1||12 Laps|
|4||7||Audi Sport Team Joest||Marcel FÄSSLER||André LOTTERER||Benoît TRÉLUYER||LMP1||17 Laps|
|5||36||Signatech Alpine||Gustavo MENEZES||Nicolas LAPIERRE||Stéphane RICHELMI||LMP2||27 Laps|
|6||26||G-Drive Racing||Roman RUSINOV||Will STEVENS||René RAST||LMP2||27 Laps|
|7||37||SMP Racing||Vitaly PETROV||Victor SHAITAR||Kirill LADYGIN||LMP2||31 Laps|
|8||42||Strakka Racing||Nick LEVENTIS||Danny WATTS||Jonny KANE||LMP2||33 Laps|
|9||33||Eurasia Motorsport||Junjin PU||Tristan GOMMENDY||Nico Pieter DE BRUIJN||LMP2||36 Laps|
|10||41||Greaves Motorsport||Memo ROJAS||Julien CANAL||Nathanaël BERTHON||LMP2||36 Laps|
|11||27||SMP Racing||Nicolas MINASSIAN||Maurizio MEDIANI||Mikhail ALESHIN||LMP2||37 Laps|
|12||23||Panis Barthez Competition||Fabien BARTHEZ||Paul Loup CHATIN||Timothé BURET||LMP2||37 Laps|
|13||1||Porsche Team||Timo BERNHARD||Mark WEBBER||Brendon HARTLEY||LMP1||38 Laps|
|14||49||Michael Shank Racing||John PEW||Oswaldo NEGRI JR||Laurens VANTHOOR||LMP2||39 Laps|
|15||43||RGR Sport by Morand||Ricardo GONZALEZ||Bruno SENNA||Filipe ALBUQUERQUE||LMP2||40 Laps|
|16||30||Extreme Speed Motorsports||Scott SHARP||Ed BROWN||Johannes VAN OVERBEEK||LMP2||43 Laps|
|17||25||Algarve Pro Racing||Michael MUNEMANN||Christopher HOY||Andrea PIZZITOLA||LMP2||43 Laps|
|18||68||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Joey HAND||Dirk MÜLLER||Sébastien BOURDAIS||LMGTE Pro||44 Laps|
|19||82||Risi Competizione||Giancarlo FISICHELLA||Toni VILANDER||Matteo MALUCELLI||LMGTE Pro||44 Laps|
|20||69||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Ryan BRISCOE||Richard WESTBROOK||Scott DIXON||LMGTE Pro||44 Laps|
|21||66||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Olivier PLA||Stefan MÜCKE||Billy JOHNSON||LMGTE Pro||45 Laps|
|22||40||Krohn Racing||Tracy KROHN||Niclas JÖNSSON||João BARBOSA||LMP2||46 Laps|
|23||95||Aston Martin Racing||Nicki THIIM||Marco SØRENSEN||Darren TURNER||LMGTE Pro||46 Laps|
|24||97||Aston Martin Racing||Richie STANAWAY||Fernando REES||Jonathan ADAM||LMGTE Pro||47 Laps|
|25||63||Corvette Racing – GM||Jan MAGNUSSEN||Antonio GARCIA||Ricky TAYLOR||LMGTE Pro||48 Laps|
|26||62||Scuderia Corsa||William SWEEDLER||Townsend BELL||Jeffrey SEGAL||LMGTE Am||53 Laps|
|27||83||AF Corse||François PERRODO||Emmanuel COLLARD||Rui AGUAS||LMGTE Am||53 Laps|
|28||88||Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing||Khaled AL QUBAISI||David HEINEMEIER HANSSON||Patrick LONG||LMGTE Am||54 Laps|
|29||12||Rebellion Racing||Nicolas PROST||Nick HEIDFELD||Nelson PIQUET JR||LMP1||54 Laps|
|30||61||Clearwater Racing||Weng MOK||Keita SAWA||Robert BELL||LMGTE Am||55 Laps|
|31||77||Dempsey – Proton Racing||Richard LIETZ||Michael CHRISTENSEN||Philipp ENG||LMGTE Pro||55 Laps|
|32||22||SO24 ! By Lombard Racing||Vincent CAPILLAIRE||Erik MARIS||Jonathan COLEMAN||LMP2||56 Laps|
|33||86||Gulf Racing||Michael WAINWRIGHT||Adam CARROLL||Ben BARKER||LMGTE Am||56 Laps|
|34||48||Murphy Prototypes||Ben KEATING||Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN||Marc GOOSSENS||LMP2||61 Laps|
|35||60||Formula Racing||Johnny LAURSEN||Mikkel MAC||Christina NIELSEN||LMGTE Am||65 Laps|
|36||99||Aston Martin Racing||Andrew HOWARD||Liam GRIFFIN||Gary HIRSCH||LMGTE Am||66 Laps|
|37||50||Larbre Competition||Yutaka YAMAGISHI||Pierre RAGUES||Jean-Philippe BELLOC||LMGTE Am||68 Laps|
|38||84||SRT41 By OAK Racing||Frédéric SAUSSET||Christophe TINSEAU||Jean Bernard BOUVET||CDNT||69 Laps|
|39||57||Team AAI||Johnny O’CONNEL||Oliver BRYANT||Mark PATTERSON||LMGTE Am||78 Laps|
|40||67||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Marino FRANCHITTI||Andy PRIAULX||Harry TINCKNELL||LMGTE Pro||78 Laps|
|41||78||KCMG||Christian RIED||Wolf HENZLER||Joël CAMATHIAS||LMGTE Am||84 Laps|
|42||31||Extreme Speed Motorsports||Ryan DALZIEL||Luis Felipe DERANI||Chris CUMMING||LMP2||87 Laps|
|43||34||Race Performance||Nicolas LEUTWILER||Shinji NAKANO||James WINSLOW||LMP2||87 Laps|
|44||55||AF Corse||Duncan CAMERON||Matt GRIFFIN||Aaron SCOTT||LMGTE Am||95 Laps|
|45||5||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Anthony DAVIDSON||Sébastien BUEMI||Kazuki NAKAJIMA||LMP1||7’48.375|
|46||28||Pegasus Racing||Inès TAITTINGER||Rémy STRIEBIG||Léo ROUSSEL||LMP2||92 Laps|
|47||98||Aston Martin Racing||Paul DALLA LANA||Pedro LAMY||Mathias LAUDA||LMGTE Am||103 Laps|
|48||38||G-Drive Racing||Simon DOLAN||Jake DENNIS||Giedo VAN DER GARDE||LMP2||162 Laps|
|49||13||Rebellion Racing||Mathéo TUSCHER||Alexandre IMPERATORI||Dominik KRAIHAMER||LMP1||184 Laps|
|50||44||Manor||Tor GRAVES||Matthew RAO||Roberto MERHI||LMP2||101 Laps|
|51||46||Thiriet By Tds Racing||Pierre THIRIET||Mathias BECHE||Ryo HIRAKAWA||LMP2||143 Laps|
|52||35||Baxi DC Racing Alpine||David CHENG||Ho-Pin TUNG||Nelson PANCIATICI||LMP2||150 Laps|
|53||64||Corvette Racing – GM||Oliver GAVIN||Tommy MILNER||Jordan TAYLOR||LMGTE Pro||165 Laps|
|54||4||Bykolles Racing Team||Simon TRUMMER||Oliver WEBB||Pierre KAFFER||LMP1||178 Laps|
|55||51||AF Corse||Gianmaria BRUNI||James CALADO||Alessandro PIER GUIDI||LMGTE Pro||205 Laps|
|56||71||AF Corse||Davide RIGON||Sam BIRD||Andrea BERTOLINI||LMGTE Pro||241 Laps|
|57||92||Porsche Motorsport||Frédéric MAKOWIECKI||Earl BAMBER||Jörg BERGMEISTER||LMGTE Pro||244 Laps|
|58||91||Porsche Motorsport||Patrick PILET||Kevin ESTRE||Nick TANDY||LMGTE Pro||249 Laps|
|59||47||KCMG||Tsugio MATSUDA||Matthew HOWSON||Richard BRADLEY||LMP2||268 Laps|
|60||89||Proton Competition||Cooper MACNEIL||Lehman KEEN||Marc MILLER||LMGTE Am||334 Laps|