Jose-Maria Lopez (#7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Toyota Gazoo Racing) was leading the race but tripped up while braking at Mulsanne and ended up in the gravel. Just behind in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Kazuki Nakajima seized his chance and moved out front. In third and fourth place, the #11 and #17 SMP Racing BR Engineering cars are both one lap behind the Japanese cars.
With the #8 in the pits, the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid moved back in front and but that only lasted until it made its own pit stop. At around 23:00, the #8 picked up the pace a bit and Kazuki Nakajima gained a 10-second lead on the #7 with Jose-Maria Lopez at the wheel. Both cars went into the pits again and Sébastien Buémi and Mike Conway took over the driving in the #8 and #7 respectively. The gap between the two cars then narrowed to less than a second. Just before midnight, the #8 went in to refuel so returned to second place.
1 - #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Toyota Gazoo Racing - Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose-Maria Lopez
2 - #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Toyota Gazoo Racing - Sébastien Buemi/Kazuki Nakajima/Fernando Alonso
3 - #17 BR Engineering BR1, SMP Racing - Sergey Sirotkin/Egor Orudzhev/Stéphane Sarrazin
In the fight for first place in LMP2, Jean-Eric Vergne in the #26 Aurus 01 for G-Drive Racing got the better of Brazilian driver André Négrao in the #36 Alpine A470 (Signatech Alpine Matmut). Both cars went in to the pits at the same time, along with the #47 Dallara P217 for Cetilar R. Villorba Corse. The Frenchman managed to get a good few seconds ahead of Négrao.
1 - #26 Aurus 01, G-Drive Racing - Job van Uitert/Roman Rusinov/Jean-Eric VERGNE
2 - #36 Alpine A470, Signatech Alpine Matmut - Nicolas Lapierre/André Négrao/Pierre Thiriet
3 - #31 Oreca 07, DragonSpeed - Anthony Davidson/Roberto González/Pastor Maldonado
After a non-stop battle in the first third of the race, there was no let-up in the LMGTE Pro class. The #92 Porsche 911 RSR, currently being driven by Christensen, has a 14-second lead on the #63 Corvette C7.R #63 with Jan Magnussen at the wheel. The AF Corse #51 Ferrari 488 GTE driven by James Calado is in front of Harry Tincknell’s #67 Ford GT #67. The pack behind them comprises the #69 Ford GT driven by Richard Westbrook, the #93 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Pilet and the #71 Ferrari 488 GTE AF Corse with Sam Bird at the wheel.
1 - #92 Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche GT Team - Michael Christensen/Kévin Estre/Laurens Vanthoor
2 - #51 Ferrari 488 GTE, AF Corse - James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi/Daniel Serra
3 - #63 Corvette C7.R, Corvette Racing – GM - Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller
The Keating Motorsports #85 Ford GT driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen consolidates its lead, 42 seconds ahead of the JMW Motorsport #84 Ferrari 488 GTE driven by Wei Lu, who got into a spin at 23:30 but managed to get back on track afterwards. The Team Project 1 #56 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Egidio Perfetti and the TF Sport #90 Aston Martin Vantage driven by Euan Hankey are fighting for third place, ahead of the Dempsey-Proton Racing#77 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Julien Andlauer. The Kessel Racing #83 Ferrari 488 GTE with its all-female driver line-up is enjoying a good race. Manuela Gostner, at the wheel as we moved into Sunday, is currently tenth in class.
1 - #85 Ford GT, Keating Motorsports - Jeroen Bleekemolen/Ben Keating/Felipe Fraga
2- #84 Ferrari 488 GTE, JMW Motorsport - Jeffrey Segal/Rodrigo Baptista/Wei Lu
3 - #56 Porsche 911 RSR, Team Project 1 - Jörg Bergmeister/Patrick Lindsey/Egidio Perfetti