Toyota, Porsche pace Le Mans at halfway point

June 16, 2018

Toyota, Porsche pace Le Mans at halfway point

June 16, 2018

We have crossed half distance at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans. All four class leaders have largely dominated.

The No. 7 Toyota (LMP1 and overall), No. 26 G-Drive Oreca (LMP2), No. 92 Porsche (GTE-Pro) and No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche (GTE-Am) continue to lead at Le Mans. There are 12 hours down, and 12 to go.

In the overall battle, Fernando Alonso in the No. 8 Toyota has been closing down roughly two to three seconds per lap on Mike Conway, then Jose Maria Lopez in the No. 7 Toyota the last hour or so. The Spaniard is still over one minute behind, but has been on a charge during the middle stint of the race.

Why has Alonso needed to gain that time back, you ask? When teammate Sebastien Buemi was in the car, the No. 8 car was assessed a stop-and-go plus 60 seconds for speeding in a Slow Zone. That’s made this car need to play catch-up.

G-Drive’s trio of Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Andrea Pizzitola has led nearly the entirety of LMP2. Vergne, the Formula E points leader, threw down some fast laps early on to help this car’s chances. This car has lapped the field in class. Panis-Barthez and IDEC Sport have kept Michelin in contention in LMP2, as Michelin looks to sweep all four class victories at Le Mans.

As noted in the six-hour update, Porsche gained an edge in GTE-Pro thanks to track position on the first Safety Car period of the race with its No. 92 car.

Behind them, only the No. 91 Porsche, No. 68 Ford and No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari remain on the lead lap in class. The Nos. 67 and 69 Ford have run in lockstep most of the race.

Dempsey Proton’s No. 77 Porsche of Christian Ried and young chargers Julian Andlauer and Matt Campbell have dominated GTE-Am. However the two WeatherTech-backed American cars from Keating/Risi and JMW Motorsport are in podium position. Several IMSA drivers of note are part of those entries.

As for Porsche’s IMSA factory GT team, the CORE autosport-operated Nos. 93 and 94 cars, it’s been a tough race.

The No. 94 car has retired with a broken rear suspension. And the No. 93 car was significantly delayed in the garage with an alternator change.

A damper issue halted BMW Team MTEK’s charge with the No. 81 M8 GTE, which ran as high as second.






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