Le Mans test day: Toyota leads Alpine in opening session

Toyota led the way in the opening session of the Le Mans 24 Hours test day in which the three manufacturers in the Hypercar class were covered by less than a second.

Le Mans test day: Toyota leads Alpine in opening session

Brendon Hartley sat at the top of the timesheets after the first four hours of running at the official test, which leads into Le Mans 24 Hours race week, with a 3m31.263s in the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Le Mans Hypercar. 

His time eclipsed the 3m31.519s from Nicolas Lapierre in the Alpine-Gibson A480 grandfathered LMP1 car. 

Mike Conway made a late improvement in the #7 Toyota to go third courtesy of a 3m31.852s. 

Olivier Pla was fourth fastest around the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe in the best of the two Glickenhaus 007 LMHs on a 3m31.920s, which had briefly topped the times. 

The #709 Glickenhaus was only 19th overall, nearly five seconds off the pace and behind 11 LMP2s, after completing 14 laps in the session. 

The fastest times were already close to the 3m30s race lap time target for the LMH category introduced for this year's World Endurance Championship despite a 'green' circuit, which will become quicker in the lead-up to the race next weekend. 

#36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine A480 - Gibson Hypercar, André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

#36 Alpine Elf Matmut Alpine A480 - Gibson Hypercar, André Negrão, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

That partially reflects the increase in power allowed to the cars running in the Hypercar division. The power level for LMH machinery was originally set at 500kW or 670bhp for Le Mans, but 520kW or 697bhp for regular WEC races. 

The increase to the higher level for Le Mans revealed earlier this month reflects a desire by the rule makers, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, to increase the gap between the cars in the Hypercars class and the LMP2 prototypes. 

Best of the LMP2 field was the #23 United Autosports ORECA 07 with Paul di Resta at the wheel. 

His 3m33.038s was nearly five seconds slower than the P2 test day best from 2019 (there was no test day last year), which reflects efforts to slow the class for this season with the arrival of LMH. 

Phil Hanson made it a United 1-2 at the head of the P2 times with a 3m33.428s in the second of the British team's three ORECAs.

The Belgian WRT squad took third position on its first appearance on the Circuit de la Sarthe with a 3m24.167s from Yifei Ye in the quickest of the team's pair of ORECAs.

Oliver Jarvis's 3m34.577s put the Risi Competizione ORECA fourth in P2.

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE Pro, Kevin Estre, Neel Jani, Michael Christensen

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE Pro, Kevin Estre, Neel Jani, Michael Christensen

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

Kevin Estre was quickest for Porsche in GTE Pro with a 3m52.901s aboard the best of the Manthey-run factory 911 RSR-19s, fractionally faster than the sister car of Gianmaria Bruni.

The best of the Ferraris took third in the hands of James Calado with a 3m53.844s.

The best Chevrolet Corvette time was set by Nick Tandy. His 3m55.580s aboard the #64 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R put him fifth in class behind the second of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evos.

Marcos Gomes jumped to the top of the GTE Am times right at the end of the session with a 3m55.710s in the NorthWest AMR Aston Martin Vantage GTE. He pipped Alessio Picariello in the Proton-run Absolute Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 by just over a tenth.

The opening session was interrupted by three short red-flag stoppages. 

Five hours of running concluding at 7:00pm local time are scheduled for the afternoon of the test day. 

shares
comments

Related video

Le Mans Records: Biggest winning margin, most distance & more

Previous article

Le Mans Records: Biggest winning margin, most distance & more

Next article

Le Mans test day: Glickenhaus tops test ahead of Toyota

Le Mans test day: Glickenhaus tops test ahead of Toyota
Load comments
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Plus

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
10 things we've learned from the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours so far Plus

10 things we've learned from the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Autosport picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2021: The team by team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in Le Mans' underrated class Plus

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in Le Mans' underrated class

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Plus

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021