Relive highlights from the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans through a series of tweets published on the official race account.
The start, given by Ferrari President John Elkann, was particularly animated for some of the drivers. Olivier Pla driving the #708 Glickenhaus missed his braking and harpooned the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid driven by Sébastien Buemi. The Japanese Hypercar had difficulty restarting and even stopped in the Mulsanne Straight, but was indeed able to get underway again after a few moments. Buemi then had a dust-up with Racing Team India Eurasia's #74 Ligier JSP217-Gibson.
Drivers were more likely to make mistakes due to the wet track, and Nicolas Lapierre driving Alpine Elf Matmut's #36 Alpine A480-Gibson did just that at the Indianapolis corner.
At 19:14, the race was neutralized following an incident for Marco Gomes in the #98 Aston Martin Vantage AMR at the Indianapolis corner. Medical teams were immediately dispatched to the site, but he was able to exit the car and walk to the ambulance on his own. Gomes was taken directly to the circuit's medical center and checked out. Other precautionary examinations were carried out in the evening at a local hospital, and no serious injuries were detected. Following the crash, the team decided to withdraw the #98 Aston Martin from the race.
LMP2 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans normally provides several breathtaking battles and this year was no exception with 25 cars fielded in the class. United Autosports and G-Drive Racing served up a duel for first place early in the evening on Saturday.
After nightfall, AF Corse's #52 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo and Inception Racing's Ferrari 488 GTE Evo suffered a collision at the Ford chicane. The contact did not prevent either car from making it to the checkered flag, in 37th place for the #52 and 41st for the #71.
At 21:00, the United Autosports team's #23 ORECA 07-Gibson was leading the LMP2 class, but an accident involving two of the outfit's three cars halted the momentum. Manuel Maldonado in the #32 lost control of his car entering the Dunlop curve. He crossed the gravel trap and hit the #23.
Ten minutes later, G-Drive Racing's #26 Aurus 01-Gibson driven by Franco Colapinto collided with Richard Mille Racing's #1 ORECA 07-Gibson entrusted to an all-female crew. Tatiana Calderón, Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser were forced to retire, whereas the #26 was able to restart, losing five laps in its garage for repairs.
Spectators then watched a stunning fight for third place between the #708 Glickenhaus 007 LMH and the #36 Alpine A480-Gibson. The two cars were neck and neck in the middle of the night. An on-board camera in the Alpine showed the battle at more than 300 kph in the Mulsanne Straight. Earlier, at the end of the evening, Matthieu Vaxivière in the Alpine had committed an error in the first Mulsanne chicane and the team was determined to retake the third spot.
Shortly before 03:00, WeatherTech Racing's #79 Porsche 911 RSR-19 left the track at the Ford chicane. Though Cooper MacNeil was able to return his car to pit lane, the damage was too significant and the American team was forced to retire.
At the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the night is special in its own right. The drivers feel more isolated in their cars and form a unique bond with them. Traffic management is less complicated thanks to headlights, and slower competitors can easily perceive faster ones, and vice versa. They also push back their brake points and adjust their driving lines. The track turns into a tunnel enveloped in pitch black. Check out this on-board video from TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid.
On Sunday morning, just before 10:00, the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid slowed after the Mulsanne corner with fuel injection troubles. As a solution, the drivers had to put the car in fault mode at each turn and at each braking to avoid consuming fuel before returning to normal mode to re-accelerate. Otherwise, the mechanics would have been forced to change a component of the tank which would have cost 45 minutes and any chance of a win.
A shocking image of Porsche GT Team's #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 after it went straight in the Ford chicane and lost its rear bumper.
Just as Team WRT's was headed toward a one-two in the LMP2 class, the Belgian team's #41 stopped on the track in its last lap. The car failed to cross the finish line and the #31 sister car driven by Frijns/Habsburg/Milesi snatched the win only seven-tenths of a second ahead of JOTA's #28 ORECA 07-Gibson.
At 16:00, the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid won the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing brilliantly ushered in the Hypercar era at the race with a one-two. The victory put an end to years of misfortune for the drivers of the #7, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López.
The 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans is set for 11-12 June 2022 and will serve as the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.