Three-quarters of the way through the race, Porsche is well-positioned to win, although nothing can be taken for granted given the issues encountered by the LMP1 hybrids this year. Fans are keeping a close eye on the LMP2 and LM GTE Pro classes, where there is everything still to play for!
The sun has risen over the Le Mans circuit and the grandstands are filling up again as the fans who got some sleep are waking up and taking up their trackside places again, ready for the day’s action. Those who stopped following around midnight will be discovering with surprise this morning that, of the Toyotas they left in 1st, 3rd and 4th, only one remains in the race, in 15th place, 27 laps behind the #1 Porsche in P1. The #8 encountered problems with its hybrid system, the #7 had an irreparable clutch issue and the #9 retired after going off. With six hours to go, Anthony Davidson is pulling out all the stops to get the remaining Japanese car in a podium place, but it seems to be a lost cause. In front, Jani/Lotterer/Tandy are playing safe, lapping on 3:26. The #2 sister car which stopped for over an hour in the early stages of the race, is in tenth place, 18 laps behind. Bamber, Bernhard and Hartley are doing their best to make it a one-two for Porsche but on paper it looks unlikely that they will be able to overtake the fastest LMP2s.
Two LMP2s on the podium? Who would have thought it? With five of the six LMP1s encountering issues, the “little” prototypes are the sensation of the morning. The race is still wide open, with less than two laps between the top seven cars. For the moment, the leader is the #38 Oreca 07 - Gibson of Jackie Chan DC Racing driven by Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent. The latter, only 19 years old, is the only Frenchman with a chance of shaking up the champagne later today.
In GTE Pro, the battle is still raging between Porsche, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford and Aston Martin. The five constructors have at least one car in a position to win as the top seven have only one lap between them. At 09:00, Frédéric Makowiecki’s #91 Porsche leads the class, ahead of Jonny Adam in the #97 Aston Martin who has just taken the second place from Jordan Taylor in the #63 Corvette.
LM GTE Am
Three Ferraris occupy the first three places: JMW Motorsport (#84), Spirit of Race (#55) and Scuderia Corsa (#62).
Photo: The sun has risen over the Le Mans circuit.