The opening 4 hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is delivering edge-of-the-seat action with intense competition across all classes. In the Hypercar category, Laurens Vanthoor’s initial lead for Porsche Penske was quickly taken by the Ferrari AF Corse duo, Nicklas Nielsen and Antonio Giovinazzi. 



The drama unfolded right from the start when Laurens Vanthoor, in the No.6 Porsche Penske 963, lost his pole position advantage to a fierce challenge from Ferrari AF Corse’s duo, Nicklas Nielsen in No.50 and Antonio Giovinazzi in No.51.

The Ferraris’ dominance was briefly interrupted by penalties – No.51’s pre-race setback and No.50’s pit-release mishap – allowing Vanthoor a momentary lead reclaim. However, Nielsen and Giovinazzi were undeterred, swiftly regaining their top spots in a formidable 1-2 formation.

As the race hit the 1hr 35min mark, rain began to play its tricks on the track, prompting most drivers to err on the side of caution with wet weather tyres. Yet, the rain was capricious, affecting only parts of the circuit and leaving slicks as the superior choice. Amidst this meteorological mayhem, Nielsen and Robert Kubica in No.83 battled fiercely for supremacy.

Kubica’s strategic handover to Shwartzman coincided with a slow zone period, allowing No.83 to stretch its lead over rivals like the No.5 Porsche Penske (Michael Christensen) and No.50 Ferrari, now with Antonio Fuoco at the helm followed by Miguel Molina.

Meanwhile, Will Stevens in the rebuilt Hertz Team JOTA Porsche 963 showcased his prowess in the slippery conditions, climbing to third on slicks before receding to eighth as hour five approached.

Sebastien Buemi in the No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR 010 Hybrid Hypercar initially lost ground due to an early switch to wet tyres but clawed back impressively to lead during pit rotations. Brendon Hartley continued Buemi’s charge, placing second and closing in on Shwartzman’s leading Ferrari as hour five loomed.

Pit stop strategies saw Porsche Penske cars occupy third and fourth places after four hours of racing, with No.5 ahead of No.6. The top six was rounded out by Hartley’s No.8 Toyota in fifth and No.38 Hertz Team Jota Porsche in sixth.

Cadillac Racing faced an uphill battle from the start, with their No.2 and No.3 Chip Ganassi vehicles falling behind to 11th and 19th places respectively, while their Action Express V-Series.R lagged at 14th.

The race was not without its share of tribulations; BMW M Team V8’s No.20 suffered a significant setback when Robin Frijns collided with barriers at Ford Chicane during hour three, necessitating a prolonged pit stop for repairs.

Proton Competition also grappled with recurring issues as their driver hatch door malfunctioned yet again, relegating them to the back of the hypercar field.

In this high-octane saga of endurance racing, every team faced their own battles against time, weather, and fate – but it was Shwartzman’s steely resolve that steered No.83 Ferrari to lead the pack.


The Inception Racing McLaren, with Frederik Schandorff at the helm, set a blistering pace from pole position in the early stages of the race. However, Ben Barker in the No.77 Proton Competition Ford Mustang was hot on his heels, applying relentless pressure.

As the teams completed their second pit stops, a new leader emerged. JMW Motorsport surged to the front, with Larry Ten Voorde piloting the British-run Ferrari 296 LMGT3, closely tailed by Dennis Olsen in the No.88 Proton Ford Mustang.

The lead continued to change hands when Morris Schuring, a Le Mans rookie driving the Manthey EMA Porsche 911 RSR, executed a masterful strategy to take the top spot. The young Dutchman led ahead of Ahmed Al Harthy in the No.46 Team WRT BMW and Salih Yoluc in the JMW Ferrari.

In a dramatic turn of events during the fourth hour, Al Harthy seized control, propelling BMW into a commanding lead. Sharing his ride with Maxime Martin and the legendary Valentino Rossi, Al Harthy set a formidable pace.

As Rossi took over just before the four-hour mark, he quickly made his presence felt by taking the lead in the LMGT3 class. Yoluc in the JMW Ferrari was hot on his trail, just seven seconds adrift, with Yasser Shahin in the Manthey EMA Porsche holding third after his victory at Spa.

The rest of the LMGT3 field, making their debut at Le Mans, saw Iron Dame Lamborghini in fourth; GR Racing Ferrari in fifth; and former frontrunner Akkodis ASP Lexus in sixth with Takeshi Kimura behind the wheel.

One of the early casualties of the race was Thomas Flohr who lost control of his No.54 VISTA AF Corse Ferrari 296 LMGT3 at Dunlop Chicane in the third of the race. The crash caused extensive damage to the rear of his car, marking it as the first retirement of this grueling race.


The race began with Louis Deletraz setting a rapid pace as the polesitter, but the weather had other plans. As rain began to fall, Malthe Jakobsen in the No.37 Cool Racing Oreca-Gibson swiftly took the lead, showcasing his skill in the challenging conditions.

However, it was the Vector Sports team that truly capitalized on the inclement weather. Patrick Pilet and Ryan Cullen demonstrated strategic brilliance by sticking with slick tyres while others opted for wets, propelling them to the front of the pack.

By the four-hour mark, Vector Sports, with Cullen at the wheel, had carved out a substantial 38-second lead over Ritomo Miyata’s No.37 Cool Racing car.

The No.22 United Autosports entry, driven by Oliver Jarvis, had shown promise from the onset but faced a setback when Nolan Siegel collided with Rene Binder’s DKR Engineering car at Dunlop Chicane as the fifth hour approached.

Rounding out the top six were Kyffin Simpson in the Nielsen Racing car, Francois Perrodo in the AF Corse Oreca-Gibson, and Alex Quinn driving the early leader ‘Spike’ AO by TF Sport car.

Meanwhile, United Autosports’ sister car No.23 faced a series of misfortunes. Ben Keating’s early spin at Dunlop Chicane led to a gravel trap delay, followed by an alternator issue in hour four and further spins for the reigning LMGTE Am champion.

Adding to the day’s drama was the No.47 Cool Racing car, which languished at the back after an extended pit stop to repair a radiator punctured by a stone on the race’s very first lap.


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