The #8 Toyota took the win in FIA WEC 6 Hours of Portimao in Hypercar class, as #23 United Autosports had the win in LMP2 category.
Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa celebrated a conclusive victory in the 6 Hours of Portimao and vault to the top of the 2023 WEC Hypercar points table. The podium saw three different manufacturers (Toyota, Ferrari and Porsche) represented on the podium for the first time this season.
Buemi, who started the race in the No.8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar dropped to third at the start but soon fought back and got on terms with stablemate Mike Conway in the No.7 Toyota. From that point on the No.8 was never headed, and when Conway was forced to pit after a torque sensor alert forced an unscheduled pit-stop for a driveshaft and corner assembly change, Ryo Hirakawa and then Hartley then cruised to victory.
The No. 50 Ferrari 499P of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen secured Ferrari AF Corse’s best ever WEC result in its second appearance. The No. 6 Porsche 963 of Andre Lotterer, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor claimed third and the first WEC podium for the Porsche Penske Motorsport squad.
This was achieved despite a late fuel stop for Lotterer, who was able to re-join just ahead of Alex Lynn in the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R Hypercar. Lynn came home in fourth position sharing the car with Richard Westbrook and Earl Bamber in the designs first appearance on European soil.
The No. 51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi had looked to be in position to fight for the podium but a brake problem and a switch off of its hybrid system saw them fall back to sixth position at the chequered flag. Those dramas allowed a fifth place finish for the No. 94 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 Hypercar of Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes and Nico Mueller.
The sister No. 93 Peugeot 9X8 finished seventh after starting from the pit lane due to a pre-race change in its steering mechanism. The Glickenhaus 007 of Romain Dumas, Ryan Briscoe and Olivier Pla took eighth, while the delayed No.7 Toyota of Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez placed ninth.
The Floyd Vanwall Hypercar retired after Jacques Villeneuve spun into the Turn 10 barriers after a suspected brake failure. This triggered the race’s only safety car period. The No. 5 Porsche Penske 963 was classified in 10th place overall in Hypercar after power steering issues saw the car sent to the team garage for the final hour.
United Autosports took a much needed 1-2 victory in LMP2 to banish the memory of a difficult Sebring for the No.23 Oreca-Gibson. Oliver Jarvis, Giedo van der Garde and Josh Pierson win headed the No.22 car of Phil Hanson, Frederick Lubin and Ben Hanley to take the win by just 0.684s.
The No.41 Team WRT car of Rui Andrade, Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz rounded out the podium in third after thrilling racing punctuated the last hour after the Villeneuve triggered safety car. Prema’s No.63 crew of Mirko Bortolotti , Doriane Pin and Daniil Kvyat, finished fourth after leading in the final hours before the final round of pit-stops.
Ex F1 driver Kvyat, who was passed by Deletraz to lose out on the final podium position, was involved in some frenetic and exciting racing throughout the final two hours. Hertz Team Jota completed the top five with the No. 48 car as David Beckmann and Yifei Ye raced with local hero Antonio Felix da Costa. He took part in his last LMP2 race before switching to a Hypercar Porsche 963 at Spa later this month.
LMGTE AM –
Back-to-back race wins for the No. 33 Corvette Racing entry driven by Ben Keating, Nicolas Varrone and Nicky Catsburg has seen the trio extend its lead at the top of the LMGTE Am points table. The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari crew put in a valiant effort to try and snatch the win as Alessio Rovera chased Catsburg in the final lap in a grandstand finish which saw the top two cars separated by just 0.260s.
Rovera was joined by Lilou Wadoux and Luis Perez Companc in the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo. The Iron Dames all-female crew of Michelle Gatting, Rahel Frey and Sarah Bovy took their first podium of the season in the Porsche 911 RSR – 19 to make it three manufacturers in the top three. The trio of females led for 22 laps in the race in the earlier stages.
Four females on the overall podium in the GTE Am category breaks the record for the highest number of women on a podium of an FIA World Championship. Fourth and fifth in class were the AF Corse Ferrari No. 21 and No. 58 crews with Simon Mann, Ulysee de Pauw and Diego Alessi finishing 10s ahead of the 488 GTE Evo driven by Thomas Flohr, Davide Rigon and Francesco Castellachi.
In the overall FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am Teams, Corvette Racing lead the charge with a total of 64 points. Dempsey-Proton Racing are second with 33 points, while the No. 21 and No. 54 AF Corse crews leave Portimao with 28 and 27 points respectively.
Here’s WEC 6 Hours of Portimao results: http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com/
[Note: The story is as per press release]