The atmosphere was electric as the legendary Le Mans race reached its halfway mark. Four hypercar manufacturers—Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari, and Cadillac—were engaged in an intense battle at the front of the field. Each team took their turn leading the pack, showcasing the relentless pursuit of victory in this momentous centenary event.


One standout performance came from Nico Muller, who completed an epic triple stint in the #94 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 Hypercar. With an impressive display of skill and determination, Muller handed over the reins to Gustavo Menezes, placing the Peugeot at the head of the field.

However, the race took an unexpected turn just after midnight when the #7 Toyota Gazoo GR010 Hybrid Hypercar suffered a demise. This setback allowed the sister #8 car to assume the lead, engaging in a fierce battle with the #2 Cadillac V Series.R and the #51 Ferrari AF Corse.

Ferrari proved to be a formidable contender, with their #50 and #51 499Ps running closely together. Unfortunately, the #50 pole-sitting car encountered a problem and was forced to pit at 01:50, losing five laps in the process. The hopes of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, and Nicklas Nielsen in the Ferrari began to fade as they slipped down the order to 10th position, effectively eliminating them from contention at the front.

At 1:55 am, the top four contenders—Muller, Pier Guidi, Alex Lynn in the #2 Cadillac, and Ryo Hirakawa in the #8 Toyota—were separated by a mere eight seconds. The battle raged on into the darkness, with Muller fiercely defending his lead against his formidable competitors.

In the tenth hour, Alessandro Pier Guidi handed over the #51 Ferrari AF Corse 499 to James Calado, who valiantly attempted to chase down the Toyota driven by Sebastien Buemi. Pit stops became crucial as the drivers fought for any advantage they could gain. Disaster struck the #94 Peugeot 9X8 as Gustavo Menezes crashed at the first Mulsanne Chicane at 03:10 am. Although the car returned to the pits for repairs, it plummeted down the order, diminishing its chances of a strong finish.

By 03:30 am, Calado managed to catch up to Buemi, eventually overtaking him and taking the lead after a series of pit stops. The two drivers traded quick laps, with Buemi relying on his fresher tires to regain the advantage. As the clock struck 4 am, the top three positions were held by the #51 Ferrari (Calado), #8 Toyota (Buemi), and #2 Cadillac (Westbrook).

Calado maintained a 4.2-second advantage over Buemi, with Westbrook trailing by 55 seconds. The #6 Porsche Penske held a solid fourth position, followed by the #3 Cadillac and the #93 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 in fifth and sixth places, respectively. Glickenhaus Racing showcased their strength with the #709 and #708 007 on-Hybrid Hypercars, running seventh and eighth, both on the same lap. The #5 Porsche Penske 963 endured a prolonged pit stop, falling further behind and settling into ninth position in the Hypercar category.

Hertz Team Jota faced challenges, losing additional time due to a lengthy pit stop and placing 12th overall. The #94 Peugeot 9X8, having undergone repairs and recovery, rejoined the race in 11th position, ahead of the Floyd Vanwall and Action Express Cadillac, which had suffered a crash on the first lap.

As the sun began to rise on the legendary Le Mans circuit, the battle for hypercar supremacy continued unabated, with the remaining contenders pushing themselves to the limits in pursuit of victory in this historic race.

In the 16th hour of the hypercar race at Le Mans, a pivotal moment unfolded as the # 51 Ferrari AF Corse took the overall race lead. Alessandro Pier Guidi, who had been piloting the Ferrari 499P with great skill, handed over the car to James Calado, setting the stage for a thrilling continuation.

Meanwhile, the # 8 Toyota Gazoo GR010 Hybrid Hypercar, driven by Ryo Hirakawa, encountered a setback. A slow rear right puncture hampered the car’s performance, allowing Pier Guidi to close in on the # 8. As fate would have it, both cars entered the pits simultaneously, intensifying the battle between them.

The # 2 and # 3 Cadillac V Series.R cars held strong in the race, currently running in third and fourth positions. Alex Lynn, at the wheel of the # 3 Cadillac, trailed the second-placed Toyota by just over two minutes, showcasing the fierce competition in the hypercar category. Notably, the local driver Sebastien Bourdais took over the # 3 Cadillac, still holding the fastest laptime of the race with an impressive 3:28.298.

The # 6 Porsche Penske, driven by Kevin Estre, initially held the fifth position. However, a misstep led to an off-track excursion, causing damage to the under-carriage of the Porsche Penske 963. The car had to make a pit stop for repairs, losing valuable time in the process. Adding to their challenges, the # 6 Porsche Penske had received a 5-second penalty in the previous hour due to a pit stop infringement.

As a result, the fifth place was now claimed by the # 93 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 car, skillfully driven by Mikkel Jensen. The Glickenhaus Racing team’s pair of Glickenhaus 007 Hypercars followed closely in sixth and seventh positions, showcasing their strong performance on the iconic Le Mans circuit.

In eighth place, the # 5 Porsche Penske 963 fought hard to regain lost ground after earlier setbacks. It maintained a one-lap advantage over the # 50 AF Corse Ferrari, both teams displaying their resilience in the face of adversity.

Nico Muller, currently behind the wheel of the # 94 Peugeot TotalEnergies, showcased an impressive comeback. The Peugeot 9X8, recovering from a collision in the middle of the night with Gustavo Menzes at the helm, began to claw back time, determined to make up for lost ground.

The Hertz Team JOTA faced its own challenges, losing valuable time due to a long pit stop in the early hours. Despite the setback, they persisted and held the 12th position, displaying unwavering determination.

However, the # 4 Floyd Vanwall Racing Team was forced to retire after completing 165 laps, setting a new record for the team. Tristan Vautier was at the wheel when the Vanwall Vandervell abruptly came to a halt on the track, emitting visible smoke from the rear.

The LMP2 class showcased intense battles and surprising twists as the Le Mans race entered the early morning hours. The #34 Inter Europol Competition continued to lead the pack, with Jakub Smiechowski engaged in a thrilling head-to-head with Rui Andrade in the #41 Team WRT car. The two silver-categorized drivers showcased their skills, pushing each other to the limit.

However, Andrade found himself involved in an incident with Sebastien Bourdais in the #3 Cadillac. Fortunately, both cars emerged undamaged from the encounter, allowing them to continue their pursuit for success.

At 4 am, a surprise leader emerged in the form of the Duqueine Oreca-Gibson, driven by Neel Jani. Jani executed a memorable triple stint, building a 20-second advantage over the #65 Panis Racing Oreca-Gibson, with Job van Uitert at the helm. The #47 Cool Racing car completed an impressive ELMS entered 1-2-3, further highlighting the strength of the LMP2 competition at the halfway mark.

The #41 WRT car held the fourth position, as Louis Deletraz aimed to regain ground and contend for the front of the class. Meanwhile, Inter Europol dropped to fifth place after leading for several hours. Albert Costa took over from Smiechowski in the 12th hour, hoping to maintain a strong position.

The #28 Jota team faced a setback, losing positions due to a collision between Pietro Fittipaldi and Manuel Maldonado in the Panis Racing car. The clash between the South American drivers left Fittipaldi beached in the gravel trap, causing the car to drop to tenth place in the LMP2 category.

The fightback of the #63 Prema car, driven by Daniil Kvyat, came to a dramatic end at the Porsche Curves. Kvyat, a former F1 driver, was involved in a spectacular accident. Thankfully, he emerged unscathed from the crash.

In another unfortunate turn of events, Jan Magnussen crashed heavily in the #32 Inter Europol Competition LMP2 car at the first Mulsanne Chicane. Despite the significant damage, the team made efforts to get the car back into the race, showcasing their determination and resilience.

The battle in the LMP2 class intensified as the #34 Inter Europol Competition team experienced a driver change, with Albert Costa handing over to Fabio Scherer. Scherer, despite being in pain from a foot injury sustained during an earlier pit stop, displayed a heroic effort to defend their position. The Swiss driver faced fierce competition from fellow Polish driver Robert Kubica in the # 41 WRT car, who briefly took the lead before Scherer reclaimed it in the race’s 16th hour.

Currently, less than seven seconds separated the top two cars in the LMP2 category, making for a nail-biting competition. The Duqueine Oreca-Gibson, with Rene Binder at the wheel, held the third position, closely followed by the # 48 IDEC Racing car in fourth place. The #65 Panis Racing entry rounded out the top five, trailing 34 seconds behind Paul Lafargue in fourth.

Meanwhile, the # 36 Alpine Elf Team, driven by Charles Milesi, secured the sixth position, with a one-lap advantage over Robin Frijns in the second WRT entry.

Unfortunately, the #47 Cool Racing team faced a major setback when their car crashed heavily at the Porsche Curves at 04:30 am. Reshad de Gerus hit the wall, causing severe damage to the car shared with Simon Pagenaud and Vlad Lomko.

In the race’s 15th hour, another incident occurred as the # 80 AF Corse, driven by Ben Barnicoat, crashed at the Porsche Curves. The damage sustained forced the team to retire from the race, ending their Le Mans campaign prematurely.

In the LMGTE AM category, the Project 1 AO Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 held the lead during the early morning hours. However, they faced mounting pressure from the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo. Eventually, Daniel Serra made a decisive move for the lead at 03:30 am and began to pull away. Following pit stops, the Project 1 AO Racing Porsche cycled back to the front, ahead of the Kessel Ferrari.

The Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 secured the third position, with Rahel Frey skillfully driving and staying in touch with the leading pair. The #54 AF Corse Ferrari remained in contention, with Thomas Flohr getting his second stint behind the wheel.

The #33 points-leading Corvette Racing entry, with Ben Keating, Nicky Catsburg, and Nicolas Varrone, faced challenges and dropped to ninth place due to damper issues in the first half of the race.

The battle for the overall win in the race intensified between Antonio Giovinazzi in the #51 Ferrari and Sebastien Buemi in the #8 Peugeot. The time gap between them remained relatively constant at around one minute. Richard Westbrook in the #2 Cadillac held the third position but trailed by over three minutes. However, the possibility of a safety car introduction loomed, which could shake up the entire race.

Amidst the intense competition, Antonio Felix Da Costa in the #38 Jota-Porsche encountered the barriers at the Indianapolis curve, visibly damaging the car. Despite the setback, he managed to nurse the car back to the pit box. To ensure safety and clear debris from the track, a slow zone was implemented.

Teams had different strategies during the slow zone, with some opting to make a pit stop while others speculated on the potential for a safety car. The #51 Ferrari decided to make a driver change, bringing in Alessandro Pier Guidi to take the wheel. However, the team faced issues that caused a delay in the pit stop. The #8 Toyota team saw an opportunity and capitalized on it. They mirrored the Ferrari’s pit stop and managed to overtake them in the pit lane. When the Ferrari eventually resumed, they trailed the Toyota by just under six seconds.

As the race continued, Alessandro Pier Guidi in the Ferrari closed in on the Toyota, gradually closing the gap. He made a decisive move on the Hunaudieres straight, accelerating past Buemi’s Toyota. Buemi sensibly approached the corner cautiously to avoid contact and potential damage to the car. The Ferrari showcased superior pace, and now it was up to Toyota to outsmart them with their strategy. Buemi attempted to fight back, but the Ferrari emerged victorious as they braked into the chicane.

The battle between the Ferrari and the Toyota intensified, with both teams showcasing their skills and determination. It remained to be seen which team would come out on top, with strategy playing a crucial role in the outcome of the race.


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