Night has turned into day at the Le Mans 24 Hours. At the front, Toyota has everything well under control with the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López still in the lead with the end in sight. The track is currently under Safety Car conditions following a crash by Nyck de Vries in the Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217 at the fast Indianapolis corner.
3:34 hours to go | 326 laps complete | 11:26 local time
LMP1 | #7 TOYOTA GAZZO RACING / KAMUI KOBAYASHI
Toyota’s #7 hybrid has created a fairly large margin during the morning hours. The #8 sister Toyota (Fernando Alonso/Sébastien Buemi/Kazuki Nakajima) is now over 2 minutes back and doesn’t seem to have an answer, losing bits of time every lap.
More movement has been taking place for the final podium position, with the #3 Rebellion Racing R13-Gibson (Nathanaël Berthon/Thomas Laurent/Gustavo Menezes) suffering a setback when it lost third place in a 3-minute stop-and-go penalty for a tyre violation — the team gave the officials the wrong serial numbers for the tyres — and then was beached in the gravel at the Porsche Curves, followed by brake issues. SMP Racing’s #11 BR Engineering (Mikhail Aleshin/Vitaly Petrov/Stoffel Vandoorne) runs third, several laps in front of the #1 Rebellion Racing (Neel Jani/André Lotterer/Bruno Senna) and a few more to the #3 Rebellion that are both running in respectively fourth and fifth.
LMP2 | #36 SIGNATECH ALPINE MATMUT / NICOLAS LAPIERRE
G-Drive Racing (Roman Rusinov/Job van Uitert/Jean-Éric Vergne) led for most of the night but has dropped back a handful of laps behind the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut ( Nicolas Lapierre/André Negrão/Pierre Thiriet) with 5:30 hours to go after the Aurus 01 failed to fire up after a pitstop. The Russian team now finds itself in seventh place. G-Drive’s problems moved the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 (Gabriel Aubry/Stéphane Richelmi/Ho-Pin Tung) up to second and the #28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 (Loïc Duval/François Perrodo/Matthieu Vaxiviere) to third. Signatech Alpine versus Jackie Chan DC Racing isn’t solely a fight for Le Mans victory: The FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 is on the line as well for both teams, with Signatech Alpine having the upperhand as things stand. Whoever wins the race, wins the title.
DragonSpeed says goodbye to the FIA World Endurance Championship with a double retirement: The #10 DragonSpeed BR Engineering BR1-Gibson LMP1 (Ben Hanley/Henrik Hedman/Renger van der Zande) crew called it a day after persisting electrical problems that led to gearbox failure, while the LMP2-classed #31 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 (Anthony Davidson/Roberto González/Pastor Maldonado) retired on Sunday morning with a crash at Tertre Rouge by Pastor Maldonado.
GTE-PRO | LEADER: #51 AF CORSE / JAMES CALADO
Kévin Estre, leading the class in the #92 Porsche 991 RSR (Michael Christensen/Kévin Estre/Laurens Vanthoor) in the early night hours, was forced to bring the Porsche into the pits to repair a broken exhaust just after the mid-race point was reached. During the lengthy repair the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo (James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi/Daniel Serra) jumped into the lead and this time staying there for the rest of the morning. The #63 Corvette C7.R (Antonio García/Jan Magnussen/Mike Rockenfeller) and #91 Porsche 991 RSR (Gianmaria Bruni/Richard Lietz/Fred Makowiecki) run second and third, getting a taste of the lead while the frontrunners cycle through their pitstops.
The #92 Porsche rejoined the race after 21 minutes in the garage in 12th position and – due to the competitive nature of the class – has been there ever since.
GTE-AM | LEADER: #85 KEATING MOTORSPORTS / FELIPE FRAGA
Keating Motorsports is the class of the field in GTE-Am. Aside from the excellent lap times posted by all three drivers, it’s mainly a flawless performance that has kept the privateer Ford GT team at the head of the field.
Behind the Ford GT driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen, Felipe Fraga and Ben Keating, the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche 991 RSR (Jörg Bergmeister/Patrick Lindsey/Egidio Perfetti) and #84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE (Rodrigo Baptista/Wei Lu/Jeff Segal) run second and third separated by a minute.