2018 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans happened this past weekend and there was drama from the very first moments. Before we start our recap of the legendary 24 hour endurance race, there are spoilers below, so we will give you until the count of 3 if you don’t want to know what happened because you are going to watch the race later.
Toyota has tried to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans 20 times. 19 of those attempts did not result in a victory. Famously, in the past few tries Toyota has been very close to winning, but mechanical issues have forced them out of contention. They have even lost dramatically on the last lap to allow the Porsche 919 Hybrid get the victory.
For Toyota the 20th try was the charm. Not only did Toyota manage a victory, but they got a 1, 2 finish at Le Mans. The #8 TS050 HYBRID started in pole position, but two stop-and-go penalties would make a victory difficult. Fernando Alonso piloted the car expertly during the night hours and managed to regain the overall lead.
GTE-Pro Class Winner
In the GTE-Pro Class, Porsche had a good day and in the end everyone could say oink, oink to celebrate. The #92 Porsche 911 RSR wearing the pink pig livery, made famous by the legendary 917, managed the class win. They made it look easy leading for most of competition and controlled the class in the endurance race.
In second place in the class was the #91 Porsche 911 RSR helping Porsche get a 1, 2 class finish. The second place, in class, 911 didn’t have as easy a time as the #92 car. In particular, Frédéric Makowiecki fought off a Ford GT for an hour and a half to manage to get the podium finish.
GTE-AM Class Winner
Porsche continues their great day with a victory in the GTE-AM Class. The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR grabbed the class victory. The young team shows a lot of promise for the future. Driver Julien Andlauer is only 18 years old and is the youngest driver to win a class in the history of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
1. #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing
2. #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing
3. #3 Rebellion Racing
1. #26 G-Drive Racing
2. #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut
3. #39 Graff-S024
1. #92 Porsche GT Team
2. #91 Porsche GT Team
3. #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA
1. #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing
2. #54 Spirit of Race
3. #84 Keating Motorsports
Fernando Alonso (TS050 HYBRID #8): “It has been amazing. We know how important and iconic Le Mans is in the world of motorsport and as a team we achieved an amazing result. Every moment was a reminder of how tough and long this race is, anything can happen so we tried to execute our race and stay calm. Happily everything worked well. The race was hard because the two cars were very close, within one minute after 23 hours, so it was tough competitive but fair and very sporting. We wanted a one-two and we achieved that so I am very happy.”
Mike Conway (TS050 HYBRID #7): “It was an intense, close fight for a long time; we were all nervous watching on TV. We were all out there to do the best we can without taking big risks. It’s been a long race, lots of things changing. It shows that TOYOTA can build two strong cars and we can race hard. Congratulations to car #8, they had a great week and a great race. Our car fell short but it’s a great team result.”
Michael Christensen (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “It was an incredible race, I don’t know what to say. The car was fast right from the start. We had a little luck during a safety car phase and we managed to pull clear of the field a little. From that point on we focussed on extending our lead. In the final third of the race we simply tried to avoid taking any risks and bring the car home safely. This worked perfectly.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “Our car was very fast, but we simply couldn’t keep up with our sister car, which was incredibly consistent. For over an hour I battled hard with a competitor for second place. That makes my job as a race driver really fun, but we couldn’t make up ground in this phase. I’m thrilled for the team with our second place at Le Mans. We’ll be back next year to fight for victory.”
Patrick Dempsey, co-owner Dempsey-Proton Racing: “I’m lost for words. Everyone did a fantastic job, it was a victory for the whole team. The race was incredible, we made no mistakes and our work was rewarded with this great success. I can’t tell you how incredibly proud and happy I am for Porsche, too.”
Julien Andlauer (Porsche 911 RSR #77): “At 18 years of age I was given the chance to contest Le Mans for the first time and then we won. I’m very proud of the whole team and I can’t really believe it yet. Now I’m the youngest Le Mans winner, incredible.”