Fri. Oct 22nd, 2021

Toyota are Le Mans 24 Hours winners again but it’s a first success for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi; Team WRT win LMP2 but are denied 1-2

Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez can finally call themselves winners of the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time after completing a peerless performance for Toyota to dominate from the first corner to the chequered flag 24 hours later on lap 371.

A fourth consecutive win for Toyota Gazoo Racing, while the first hat-trick were all achieved by the sister #8 car, on this occasion it was the turn of the #7 trio, who after years of desperately bad luck – particularly in 2016 when the car famously stopped in the final minutes – redemption would finally come in fine style.

Indeed, at no point was the entry ever headed, having qualified on pole position, led into Turn 1 and simply clicked off the laps over the next 24 hours. In all, the trio completed 371, 17 less than in 2020 with the faster LMP1 cars.

The victory – a first for all three drivers after several podiums – marks the first in the Hypercar era with Toyota making the most of the thin competition to never look like it needed to chase the limit.

Indeed, the #7 GR010 Hybrid extended its lead metronomically over the course of the race and suffered with nothing more than the odd electrrical gremlin. Similarly, the #8 car ran reliably throughout but saw its victory hopes ultimately dashed just seconds into the race when it was spun around by a Glickenhaus.

Putting the trio of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley on an immediate back foot, the car quickly made it back up to second place but never looked like a threat before Toyota put them under team orders towards the end.

As such, the fight for third place proved the more engaging tussle with Alpine eventually prevailing against a feisty Glickenhaus, which arguably exceeded its own expectations with a reliable and momentum-building performance.

In the end though Alpine – which had hoped to challenge Toyota only to blot its copybook with two costly spins – will be satisfied to have brought the ageing A480 home on the podium ahead of a complete overhaul for 2022.

With the second Glickenhaus battling its way up from earlier dramas to eventually grab fifth, it meant all five Hypercar class cars filled the top positions.

In LMP2, Team WRT suffered a shocking bittersweet tale of joy and woe as it secured victory on its debut but not with the entry it expected to after the #41 car of Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Ye Yifei sensationally stopped at the start of its final revolution.

The car had spent almost 19 hours out front of the class – occasionally trading with the sister #31 car – but couldn’t complete what would have been a 1-2 for the Belgian team, which has this year stepped up from GT racing to LMP2.

Nonetheless, it was still able to celebrate a win with the fortuitous car belonging to Ferdinand Habsburg, Charles Milesi and Robin Frijns snatching the victory at the deathj.

WRT’s misfortune meant every LMP2 runner moved up an unexpected spot, with the #28 Jota of Sean Gelael, Stoffel Vandoorne and Tom Blomqvist completing what had been a methodical rise up the order after spinning in rain early on. They spared the blushes of the British team after the hot favourites of Antonio Felix da Costa, Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez in the sister car crashed early on and never recovered.

Another debutant impressing first time out was Panis Racing, who landed the final podium spot for Will Stevens, James Allen and Julien Canal.

United Autosports ended the race a positive fourth, albeit still smarting from a bizarre incident that saw its other two cars collide at Turn 1 and effectively put each out of the race.

Interpol Competition celebrated its best Le Mans result yet with fifth in class, thanks mostly to the efforts of Alex Brundle who was regularly one of the fastest drivers on the track.

Elsewhere, the all-female Richard Mille Racing team suffered a bizarre exit when Sophia Floersch was first caught up in an accident when a G-Drive spun into her path, only to then be T-boned by a Eurasia India driver seemingly not paying attention in the slow zone.

Indeed, nearly every LMP2 car endured time off circuit over the course of the race, the legacy of intermittent showers throughout the evening and into the night.

In GTE Pro and GTE Am, Ferrari were a double winner in both the GTE class with AF Corse completing victory after holding down the lead for more than half of the entire race.

Initially it seemed the spoils would go to the #52 488 GTE of Sam Bird, Miguel Molina and Daniel Serra before technical issues plummeted it down the order.

Nevertheless, the #51 car driven by James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Come Ledogar would take over at the front and complete a satisfying win in a competitive class that never saw the Corvette Racing car fall more than a lap behind in second.

Pre-race favourites Porsche had to make do with third and fourth with its factory cars, but the pole sitting Hub Auto Porsche was forced to retire.

GTE AM went down to the wire before the AF Corse Ferrari trio of Francois Perrodo, Alessio Rovera and Niklas Nielsen emerged on top, ahead of the TF Sport Aston Martin driven by Ben Barker, Dylan Pereira and Ben Keating.

2021 LE MANS 24 HOURS – FINAL OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER 24H OF 24H

POS.TEAMDRIVER #1DRIVER #2DRIVER #3CARNAT.CLASSLAPS
1Toyota Gazoo RacingMike ConwayKamui KobayashiJose Maria-LopezToyota TS050 HybridJAPHypercar H371
2Toyota Gazoo RacingSebastien BuemiBrendon HartleyKazuki NakajimaToyota TS050 HybridJAPHypercar H369
3Alpine Elf MatmutNicolas LapierreAndre NegraoMatthieu VaxiviereAlpine A480-GibsonFRAHypercar367
4Glickenhaus RacingPipo DeraniFranck MailleuxOlivier PlaGlickenhaus 007 LMHUSAHypercar367
5Glickenhaus RacingRyan BriscoeRomain DumasRichard WestbrookGlickenhaus 007 LMHUSAHypercar364
6Team WRTRobin FrijnsFerdinand von HabsburgCharles MilesiOreca 07 GibsonBELLMP2363
7JotaTom BlomqvistSean GelaelStoffel VandoorneOreca 07 GibsonGBRLMP2363
8Panis RacingJames AllenJulien CanalWill StevensOreca 07 GibsonFRALMP2362
9United Autosports Paul Di RestaAlex LynnWayne BoydOreca 07 GibsonGBRLMP2361
10Inter Europol CompetitionAlex BrundleJakub SmiechowskiRenger van der ZandeOreca 07 GibsonPOLLMP2360
11IDEC SportPaul-Loup ChatinPaul LafarguePatrick PiletOreca 07 GibsonFRALMP2359
12G-Drive RacingFranco ColapintoRoman RusinovNyck de VriesAurus 01 GibsonRAFLMP2358
13JotaAntonio Felix da CostaAnthony DavidsonRoberto GonzalezOreca 07 GibsonGBRLMP2357
14Duqueine TeamRene BinderTristan GommendyMemo RojasOreca 07 GibsonFRALMP2356
15DragonSpeed RacingHenrik HedmanBen HanleyJuan Pablo MontoyaOreca 07 GibsonUSALMP2356
16Racing Team NederlandFrits van EerdGiedo van der GardeJov van UitertOreca 07 GibsonNEDLMP2356
17Realteam RacingLoic DuvalEsteban GarciaNorman NatoOreca 07 GibsonSUILMP2352
18High Class RacingDennis AndersenMarco SorensenRicky TaylorOreca 07 GibsonDENLMP2345
19SO24-DIROB by GraffVincent CapillaireArnold RobinMaxime RobinOreca 07 GibsonFRALMP2345
20AF CorseJames CaladoAlessandro Pier GuidiCome LedogarFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Pro345
21Corvette RacingNicky CatsburgAntonio GarciaJordan TaylorChevrolet Corvette C8.RUSAGTE Pro345
22Porsche GT TeamMichael ChristensenKevin EstreNeel JaniPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Pro344
23Porsche GT TeamGianmaria BruniRichard LietzFrederic MakowieckiPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Pro343
24ARC BratislavaMatej KonopkaMiro KonopkaOliver WebbOreca 07 GibsonSVKLMP2342
25AF CorseNickles NielsenFrancois PerrodoAlessio RoveraFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Am340
26TF SportFelipe FragaBen KeatingDylan PereiraAston Martin Vantage AMRGBRGTE Am339
27Iron LynxMatteo CressoniCallum IlottRino MastronardiFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Am338
28Racing Team India EurasiaTom CloetJohn CorbettJames WinslowLigier JS P217-GibsonINDLMP2338
29Sashi-High Class RacingAnders FjordbachJan MagnussenKevin MagnussenOreca 07 GibsonDENLMP2336
30Iron LynxRaffaele GianmariaPaolo RubertiClaudio SchiavoniFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Am335
31Dempsey Proton RacingMatt CampbellJaxon EvansChristian ReidPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Am335
32Association SRT41Takuma AokiNigel BaillyMatthieu LahayeOreca 07 GibsonFRAINV334
33D’Station RacingTomonobu FujiiSatoshi HoshinoAndrew WatsonAston Martin Vantage AMRJPNGTE Am333
34Absolute RacingAndrew HaryantoAlessio PicarielloMarco SeefriedPorsche 911 RSR-19CHNGTE Am332
35TF SportRoss GunnOllie HancockJohn HatshorneAston Martin Vantage AMRGBRGTE Am332
36Iron LynxSarah BovyRahel FreyMichelle GattingFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Am332
37AF CorseSam BirdMiguel MolinaDaniel SerraFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Pro331
38Herberth MotorsportRalf BohnRolf IneichenRobert RenauerPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Am330
39AF CorseFrancesco CastellacciGIancarlo FisichellaThomas FlohrFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Am329
40United Autosports USAFilipe AlbuquerquePhilip HansonFabio SchererOreca 07 GibsonGBRLMP2328
41Inception RacingBen BarnicoatBrendan IribeOllie MillroyFerrari 488 GTE EvoGBRGTE Am327
42Dempsey Proton RacingJulien AndlauerLance David ArnoldDominique BastienPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Am327
43GR RacingBen BarkerTom GambleMichael WainwrightPorsche 911 RSR-19GBRGTE Am322
44Corvette RacingTommy MilnerAlexander SimsNick TandyChevrolet Corvette C8.RUSAGTE Pro313
RETRisi CompetizioneRyan CullenOliver JarvisFelipe NasrOreca 07 GibsonUSALMP2362
RETRinaldi RacingJeroen BleekemolenPierre EhretChristian HookFerrari 488 GTE EvoGERGTE Am275
RETPR1 Motorsport MathiasenGabriel AubryPatrick KellySimon TrummerOreca 07 GibsonUSALMP2271
RETWeatherTech RacingEarl BamberCooper MacNeilLaurens VanthoorPorsche 911 RSR-19USAGTE Pro261
RETTeam WRTLouis DeletrazRobert KubicaYe YifeiOreca 07 GibsonBELLMP2362
RETTeam Project 1Anders BuchardtRobby FoleyDennis OlsenPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Am188
RETKessel RacingScott AndrewsMikkel JansenTakeshi KimuraFerrari 488 GTE EvoSUIGTE Am138
RETJMW MotorsportJody FanninThomas NeubauerRodrigo SalesFerrari 488 GTE EvoGBRGTE Am128
RETSpirit of RaceDuncan CameronMatt GriffinDaniel PerelFerrari 488 GTE EvoSUIGTE Am117
RETG-Drive RacingRui AndradeJohn FalbRoberto MerhiAurus 01 GibsonRAFLMP2118
RETCetilar RacingAntonio FuocoRoberto LacorteGiorgio SemagiottoFerrari 488 GTE EvoITAGTE Am108
RETTeam Project 1Matteo CairoliRiccardo PeraEgidio PerfettiPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Am106
RETUnited AutosportsJonathan AberdeinNico JaminManuel MaldonadoOreca 07 GibsonGBRLMP290
RETRichard Mille RacingTatiana CalderonSophia FlorschBeitske VisserOreca 07 GibsonFRALMP284
RETHub Auto RacingMaxime MartinAlvaro ParenteDries VanthoorPorsche 911 RSR-19TAIGTE Pro227
RETProton CompetitionVuttikhorn InthraphuvasakFlorian LatorreHarry TincknellPorsche 911 RSR-19GERGTE Am66
RETAston Martin RacingMarcos GomesPaul Dalla LanaNicki ThiimAston Martin Vantage AMRGBRGTE Am45
RETIDEC SportRyan DalzielThomas LaurentDwight MerrimanOreca 07 GibsonFRALMP2WDN

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