24h Le Mans
19/06/2016 - 15:00

Porsche victorious in the final minutes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016

What looked set to be a dream race for Toyota turned into the ultimate nightmare on the final lap of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The #5 Toyota TS 050 Hybrid driven by Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima ground to a halt just before the line as it was about to begin its final lap. The #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb naturally overtook and powered on to the chequered flag.
Porsche victorious in the final minutes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2016

As the race entered its final hour, the #5 Toyota TS 050 with Kazuki Nakajima at the wheel had a twenty-second lead on the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. The final pit stop went off without a hitch for both teams, Porsche bringing in the #2 on the 373rd lap for refuelling only. This meant that Neel Jani had kept the same tyres for four stints!

Likewise for the Toyota on lap 374: refuelling but no tyre change. The Japanese car’s tyres were then on their third stint. The pit stop was better handled by the Japanese team who were more than four seconds faster. With just 30 minutes to go, the gap between the two cars widened to 30 seconds.

Disaster struck as the #5 Toyota TS 050 was coming up to its final lap. Kazuki Nakajima slowed down then came to a complete standstill just before the line. Neel Jani, in the #2 919 Hybrid, stormed past for his final lap and clinched the win for Porsche.

In LM P2, the win went to Alpine! The Alpine A460, powered by a Nissan engine and driven by Gustavo Menezes,  Nicolas Lapierre and  Stéphane Richelmi, had been leading since the tenth hour of the race. A fine victory for the French marque that has been competing in endurance for several seasons now and recently announced its commercial revival. Their success harks back to the manufacturer’s overall Le Mans win in 1978 with an Alpine A442B driven by Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi.

Ford clinched the LM GTE Pro class victory 50 years after the triumph of the Ford GT40. The Ford GT was among the leaders in its class throughout the race, in what has turned out to be a flamboyant Le Mans comeback for the manufacturer. Last but not least, Ferrari and Scuderia Corsa top the LM GTE Am class , after leading over the final hours of the race.

LM P1

1 - Porsche Team (#2 Porsche 919 Hybrid) Romain Dumas -  Marc Lieb - Neel Jani
2 - Toyota Gazoo Racing (#6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid) Mike Conway - Kamui Kobayashi - Stéphane Sarrazin
3 - Audi R 18 Team Joest (#8 Audi R 18 Team Joest) Lucas Di Grassi - Loïc Duval - Oliver Jarvis

LM P2

1. Signatech Alpine (#36 Alpine A460-Nissan) Gustavo Menezes - Nicolas Lapierre - Stéphane Richelmi
2. G-Drive Racing (#26 Oreca 05-Nissan) Roman Rusinov -  Will Stevens - René Rast
3. SMP Racing (#37 BR Engineering BR01-Nissan) Vitaly Petrov - Viktor Shaitar - Kirill Ladygin

LM GTE Pro

1 - Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA (#68 Ford GT) Joey Hand - Dirk Müller - Sébastien Bourdais
2 - Risi Competizione (#82 Ferrari 488 GTE) Giancarlo Fisichella - Toni Vilander - Matteo Malucelli
3 - Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA (#69 Ford GT) Ryan Briscoe - Richard Westbrook - Scott Dixon

LM GTE Am

1 - Scuderia Corsa (#62 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2) Bill Sweedler - Townsend Bell - Jeff Segal
2 - AF Corse (#83 Ferrari 458 Italia GT2) François Perrodo - Emmanuel Collard - Rui
3 - Águas Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing (#88 Porsche 911 RSR) Khaled Al Qubaisi - Patrick Long - David Heinemeier Hansson

Photo: in a shock finish, Porsche triumphs as the leading #5 Toyota TS 050 comes to a standstill as it is about to enter the last lap.

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BREAKING NEWS: THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS POSTPONED TO 19–20 SEPTEMBER 2020