Blancpain GT Paul Ricard: Costa grabs Lexus's first win on last lap

A Lexus won a Blancpain GT Series race for the first time after Albert Costa claimed the lead on the final lap of an incredible Paul Ricard Endurance Cup race

Blancpain GT Paul Ricard: Costa grabs Lexus's first win on last lap

The Bentley Continental crew of Jordan Pepper, Steven Kane and Jules Gounon - which qualified down in 18th place - claimed the lead with 40 minutes of the six-hour contest remaining when the SMP Racing Ferrari 488 of Miguel Molina lost a wheel.

But after a late full course yellow for a damaged kerb, the Emil Frey Lexus RC F of Marco Seefried, Christian Klien and Costa closed right in before Costa pounced with three corners to go.

For the first five hours, the race was controlled by the Garage 59 McLaren 650S of Ben Barnicoat, Andrew Watson and Come Ledogar.

They had built a 20-second advantage until two consecutive safety cars bunched the pack up and erased their lead.

The Ferrari crew then used its shorter joker pitstop to grab first place after the final round of stops - with more woe following for the Garage 59 McLaren car, which received a drivethrough penalty for having two mechanics in the working area of the pitlane when the car departed.

Despite this, Barnicoat, Watson and Ledogar still took third behind the Bentley.

A number of other early season frontrunners also dropped out in the first half of a frenetic race.

The WRT Audi of Dries Vanthoor, Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies retired with two hours gone with a starter motor issue when running third.

"I gave it all I had in my stint and I was thinking about not doing anything stupid for the championship," said a devastated Vanthoor, who was leading the standings after winning the opening round at Monza.

"We were in a good position and to have a problem like this - I don't know what to say."

Barnicoat had grabbed the lead at the start after the polesitting R-Motorsport Aston Martin of Jake Dennis had a "bit of a disaster" as the race began, with the Briton losing power and plummeting down the order.

"It didn't exactly go to plan!" said Dennis, who won the previous Endurance contest at Silverstone. "I honestly have no idea what happened.

"I lost all power as it went to green. I pulled every paddle to try and give me the grunt I needed."

Dennis did eventually get going and, after surviving contact in the early skirmishes, worked his way his way back into contention during the opening stint.

But there was then more woe as a left-front suspension failure while Nicki Thiim was at the wheel dropped them towards the rear of the field.

Further back, there was some success for McLaren as Alexander West, Chris Harris and Chris Goodwin won the Am class.

The Barwell Lamborghini of Michele Beretta, Sandy Mitchell and Martin Kodric won the Silver Cup, while the AF Corse Ferrari of Duncan Cameron, Gianluca de Lorenzi and Matt Griffin took Pro-Am honours.

shares
comments
Le Mans winner Smith plans to keep racing after factory Bentley exit
Previous article

Le Mans winner Smith plans to keep racing after factory Bentley exit

Next article

Ferrari to Suzuka 10 Hours with factory support, Le Mans drivers

Ferrari to Suzuka 10 Hours with factory support, Le Mans drivers
How to get the best out of amateur racers Plus

How to get the best out of amateur racers

Pro-Am GT racing is booming. But how should drivers approach working with an amateur? Autosport sought out a panel of experts to explain the pitfalls amateur drivers should avoid and how professionals can help them to achieve their goals

GT
Apr 3, 2022
The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics Plus

The remarkable career of a 'classy' champion who rejected politics

Over two decades as a factory driver with Audi and BMW, Martin Tomczyk earned the respect of team-mates and rivals as a hard but fair racer. After calling time on his racing career, the 2011 DTM champion sat down with Autosport to look back

GT
Mar 5, 2022
The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership Plus

The ex-IndyCar racer in "uncharted territory" of British GT team ownership

This weekend’s British GT finale will be a tense title showdown for some but, for those not in the championship fight, it’s a chance to end a challenging year on a high. In the latter camp is Paddock Motorsport's team owner Martin Plowman, whose 2021 season has been a rollercoaster ride of non-stop learning

National
Oct 15, 2021
The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion Plus

The unpopular BMW stalwart built for the big occasion

It has won most of the big prizes in endurance racing across its six years in service, but the BMW M6 GT3's key weaknesses meant only a devoted few teams persisted with running it. As it prepares to bow out at season's end, the teams and drivers involved in its story share the secrets of an unpopular winner

GT
Oct 7, 2021
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021