Despite an almost assured victory of the two Toyota, being the only LMP1 hybrid (the FIA rules benefiting them), it was worth going to this incredible race which is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Text & Photos : Thomas Z. ©
Before the Race
As the Warm-Up is from 9 am to 9.45 am and the race start at 3 pm, the ACO has organised different events to stall the spectators. Two races took places: ‘Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival’ which was followed by the ‘Road to Le Mans’. The first race was a good opportunity to discover the Vulcan as a race car (as it was it race debut for that occasion) and the second one is always lot of fun to see the LMP3 and GT3 compete together. Common point between the two race ? Crash in the first lap at the Dunlop Corner followed by at least a third of race by a safety car. Nevertheless, a good way to wait for the beginning of the 24 Hours race. As usual the spectators could see the ‘Patrouille de France’ jets drawing the French flag in the sky.
As mentioned earlier, the main drawback of this year race was the gap of power between the LMP1 hybrid and non-hybrid (thanks to the FIA regulation), the Toyota were so much quicker that all the other competitor had to bet on their reliability to hope to win. But Le Mans is not only about the LMP1, the 3 others categories offered actions and suspense, keeping the race alive. An other positive point for this edition was the presence of a lot of new comers, ByKolles Racing on a Enso CLM P1/01-Nismo , CEFC Manor TRS Racing on two Ginetta G60-LT-P1-Mecachrome, DragonSpeed on a BR Engineering BR1-Gibson and SMP Racing on two BR Engineering BR1-AER, increasing the number of LMP1 to 10 ! In GTE, BMW as joined the race with the new M8 GTE and Porsche celebrated their 70th anniversary with two famous livery: the Pink Pig (also known as the “Big Berta” or “Truffle Hunter”) and the Rothmans paintwork (which can be seen on the 956 that Porsche bring to their showroom).
Results and Conclusion
As predicted the Toyota won the race, first place for the #8 and second place for the #7, proving they were able to produce a reliable car for Le Mans and beat the ‘curse’ they were facing the past years, congratulation to them! It also the first time Toyota ever win the 24 Hours of Le Mans after 20 participation. In the LMP2 category, it is not decided yet who is the winner, the G-Drive Racing #26 was the first to cross the line but was disqualified after fuel rig investigation. As this case is not closed, we will show you the temporary ranking which is the following:
Winner of the category Lmp1: #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing BUEMI/ ALONSO/ NAKAJIMA Toyota TS050 Hybrid (First in the overall ranking)
Winner of the category Lmp2 (?): #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut LAPIERRE/ THIRIET/ NEGRÃO Alpine A570(5th in the overall ranking)
Winner of the category GTE-PRO: #92 Porsche GT Team CHRISTENSEN/ ESTRE/VANTHOOR Porsche 911 RSR (15th in the overall ranking)
Winner of the category GTE-AM: #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing CAMPBELL/ RIED/ANDLAUER Porsche 911 RSR (25th in the overall ranking)
Full ranking : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/24_Heures_du_Mans_2018
Despite a lack of suspense in the LMP1 category (and therefore winner of the race), this year was worth watching for the other categories. We can only hope new comers for the LMP1 (hybrid) category and/or that the FIA will allow non-hybrid car to have more power/or to be lighter in order to reduce the gap of performance between them. As always we will also hope for new comers in the 4 category and may be an outsider like the Nissan ZEOD RC in 2014. Finally it was a long and exhausting weekend, but filled with good memories. Thank you Le Mans.
Feel free to go on page 2 of this article for the full gallery.