Toyota Gazoo Racing set the fastest timings in the morning and afternoon during the Official Test Day for this year’s third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 HYBRID finished the two sessions with a red flag with just a few minutes remaining on the Rolex time clock above the Le Mans finish line, as the day went by without incident as teams and drivers prepared for competitive action over the next week.
Sunday began with uplifting blue skies, but by mid-morning, this had given place to grey clouds, with the initial air temperature requiring a jacket as teams went through their test day routines. As the first session ran from 9:00 a.m. to 13:00 a.m., the morning proceeded with a few glimpses of blue separated with overcast and a smidgeon of precipitation.
In the Hypercar class, all three manufacturers, Glickenhaus, Alpine, and Toyota, took turns at the top of the class and overall rankings. The #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing was fastest at the luncheon break, clocking in at 3m 31.626secs, a tenth faster than the #708 Glickenhaus 007 LMH.
LMP2 runners emerged as the fastest in the early morning running, with the #38 Jota topping the timesheets from the start and ending the morning as the top LMP2 car with a 1m 33.964s lap, ahead of the #22 United Autosports and then the #13 TDS Racing x Vaillante in the field of Oreca 07-Gibsons, with the lone LMP2 Ligier JSP2
Corvette Racing set the morning pace in LM GTE Pro, with the #64 registering a time of 3m 54.314s, two tenths faster than its sister vehicle, the #63, which was half a second faster than the closest competitor, the #91 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR-19.
In LM GTE Am, the Iron Dames took the lead in their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo in the morning, with the Hardpoint Racing #99 Porsche a tenth behind and the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari third.
Glickenhaus took the early afternoon fight to Toyota with the #708 in the Hypercar class, but the #7 vehicle was not to be denied, with a time of 3m 29.896s making the Japanese marque the only one under 3m 30s for the day.
In LMP2, Jota was beaten by the #31 WRT, which took the lead only for Jota to come back, before United Autosports USA took the lead with the #22 vehicle seizing the lead with a 3m 32.099s to Jota’s 3m 32.382s, with the #23 United Autosports USA car third.
In LM GTE Pro, Corvette remained on top until the final hour, when Ferrari and Porsche attacked, with AF Corse taking the fight to the yellow cars, with the #51 car getting close, then the #52 car besting the Corvette, before the #64 C8.R bounced back to finish the day first with a 3m 54.001s, just 0.036s ahead of the #52 AF Corse Ferrari. Third place was taken by the Porsche #91.
Afternoon’s LM GTE Am race saw a nice mix of competitors, with the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari emerging as the front-runner with over a half-second lead over the #JMW Ferrari, and the #71 Spirit of Race a further half-second behind with the third best time.
The cars are currently resting until track action resumes on Wednesday at 14:00 with the first Free Practice session of the week.