Le Mans 24 Hours: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night falls

Toyota's Jose Maria Lopez leads into the night after eight hours of racing at the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours, as the second Toyota lost a lap due to brake issues

Le Mans 24 Hours: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night falls

The 88th edition of the race was interrupted after 5 hours 45 minutes when Alexander West lost control of his GTE Am #52 AF Corse Ferrari and hit the outside wall in Porsche Curves. The incident prompted a prolonged safety car period, in which the pack was split into three different trains.

The 30-minute safety car period brought the two leading Toyotas back together, the #8 Toyota TS050 of Kazuki Nakajima leading the #7 machine of Jose Maria Lopez at the restart by nine seconds and the privateer Rebellion car one lap down.

In the LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am classes the top three cars were separated from the rest of the field because they caught a different safety car train. That proved particularly costly for the #95 GTE Pro Aston Martin, which lost 1m30s on its #87 sister car and both AF Corse Ferraris.

The safety cars were soon sent onto the Circuit de la Sarthe a second time following a big crash for Tristan Gommendy in the #30 Duqueine ORECA at the first Mulsanne chicane, and then a third time to allow the marshals at the site of the crash to safely return to their posts.

Toyota used the lengthy barrier repairs to bring in its #8 Toyota TS050 for a full front-right brake change. The car driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley had been suffering from overheating brakes for much of the race, but efforts to clean the brake ducts hadn't solved the issue.

Nakajima was sent back out again in third place, closely behind the #1 Rebellion and a full lap plus two minutes behind the leading #7 sister of Jose Maria Lopez, who shares the car with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway.

A pitstop for Rebellion's Norman Nato released Nakajima into second place, but the #8 crew still faces a large task to bridge the six-minute gap to the leader.

The second #3 Rebellion followed another lap behind with Louis Deletraz at the wheel. The #4 ByKolles was stuck in the pits for repairs after its rear wing fell off in the Esses when Bruno Spengler was in the car, with the Canadian making contact with the wall.

In LMP2 erstwhile leader Gabriel Aubry was one of several drivers hitting trouble during the interruptions, grinding to a halt at Porsche Curves in his #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA. Aubry ultimately managed to limp back to the pits, but the entry is now out of contention for the class win.

United Autosports led the way in the #32 ORECA driven by Alex Brundle, which was driven to the front earlier by his team-mate Job van Uitert.

Brundle led the #26 G-Drive ORECA of Jean-Eric Vergne by a second at the eight-hour mark, with the second #22 United Autosports car of Filipe Albuquerque and the #38 Jota ORECA of Anthony Davidson jostling for third position.

James Allen managed to drag the #39 Graff Oreca back up to fifth after an off for team-mate Vincent Capillaire.

Alex Lynn headed the GTE Pro field in the #97 Aston Martin, defending a slender lead on the #51 AF Corse of Alessandro Pier Guidi.

The #71 AF Corse lost a minute during the second safety car period and sits in third in the hands of Miguel Molina, with the second Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim a further 1m30s in arrears.

Porsche was left baffled by a lack of pace which meant it is not a factor at the front in this year's race. The #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Richard Lietz is seventh in class, only ahead of the #92 sister car which lost over 12 laps due to a power steering failure.

In GTE Am the leading #75 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Andrea Piccini also suffered a power steering issues and was stuck in the garage at the eight-hour mark.

Nicklas Nielsen inherited the class lead in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari, closely followed by Charlie Eastwood in the #90 TF Sport Aston, Ross Gunn in the #98 Aston and Matteo Cairoli in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche.

Le Mans 24 Hours - positions after 8 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 123
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Hartley 121 + 2 Laps
3 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Senna, Nato, Menezes 121 + 28.938s
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Dumas, Berthon, Deletraz 120 + 3 Laps
5 LMP2 #32 Oreca Owen, Brundle, Van Uitert 117 + 6 Laps
6 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Vergne, Jensen 117 + 0.390s
7 LMP2 #38 Oreca Davidson, Da Costa, Gonzalez 116 + 7 Laps
8 LMP2 #22 Oreca Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 116 + 0.225s
9 LMP2 #31 Oreca Jamin, Canal, Vaxiviere 116 + 3m15.755s
10 LMP2 #39 Oreca Allen, Capillaire, Milesi 115 + 8 Laps
11 LMP2 #50 Oreca Calderon, Florsch, Visser 115 + 1m31.105s
12 LMP2 #27 Oreca Hedman, Hanley, Van der Zande 115 + 1m33.468s
13 LMP2 #21 Oreca Montoya, Buret, Rojas 115 + 3m16.600s
14 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Belicchi, Sernagiotto 114 + 9 Laps
15 LMP2 #28 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Bradley 114 + 15.014s
16 LMP2 #17 Oreca Pilet, Tilley, Kennard 114 + 1m33.760s
17 LMP2 #36 Alpine Negrao, Ragues, Laurent 114 + 1m43.221s
18 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Binder, Isaakyan 114 + 1m47.663s
19 LMP2 #25 Oreca Falb, Trummer, McMurry 114 + 1m52.427s
20 LMP2 #42 Oreca Lapierre, Borga, Coigny 114 + 2m43.687s
21 LMP2 #29 Oreca Van Eerd, Van der Garde, De Vries 113 + 10 Laps
22 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Tincknell 109 + 14 Laps
23 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 109 + 1.595s
24 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Molina, Bird 109 + 1m11.866s
25 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Westbrook 109 + 2m42.013s
26 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Pla, Bourdais, Gounon 108 + 15 Laps
27 LMP2 #24 Oreca Grist, Kapadia, Wells 108 + 22.416s
28 GTE Pro #63 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Segal 108 + 56.879s
29 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Bruni, Lietz, Makowiecki 108 + 57.532s
30 LMP2 #35 Ligier Yamanaka, Foster, Merhi 107 + 16 Laps
31 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Nielsen 107 + 2m14.784s
32 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Eastwood, Adam 107 + 2m21.734s
33 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Gunn, Farfus 107 + 2m23.275s
34 GTE Am #56 Porsche Perfetti, Ten Voorde, Cairoli 107 + 2m24.504s
35 GTE Am #77 Porsche Ried, Pera, Campbell 106 + 17 Laps
36 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Piovanetti, Negri Jr., Ledogar 106 + 30.465s
37 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Heistand, Root, Magnussen 106 + 1m42.720s
38 GTE Am #99 Porsche Inthraphuvasak, Legeret, Andlauer 106 + 1m53.546s
39 LMP2 #16 Aurus Cullen, Jarvis, Tandy 105 + 18 Laps
40 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Watson 105 + 14m19.161s
41 GTE Am #78 Porsche Felbermayr, Beretta, Van Splunteren 105 + 15m35.770s
42 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 105 + 17m13.777s
43 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Chen, Blomqvist, Gomes 104 + 19 Laps
44 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Ruberti 104 + 29.985s
45 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Grimes, Mowlem, Hollings 104 + 3m21.307s
46 GTE Am #89 Porsche Brooks, Piguet, Laskaratos 104 + 3m36.402s
47 LMP2 #37 Oreca Tung, Aubry, Stevens 103 + 20 Laps
48 GTE Am #75 Ferrari Mastronardi, Cressoni, Piccini 103 + 29m24.896s
49 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 103 + 48m23.735s
50 GTE Am #57 Porsche Keating, Fraga, Bleekemolen 102 + 21 Laps
51 LMP2 #30 Oreca Hirschi, Tereschenko, Gommendy 100 + 23 Laps
52 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Kimura, Abril, Cozzolino 99 + 24 Laps
53 LMP1 #4 ENSO Dillmann, Spengler, Webb 97 + 26 Laps
54 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 97 + 1h08m50.363s
55 LMP2 #33 Oreca Yamashita, Patterson, Fjordbach 84 + 39 Laps
56 GTE Am #52 Ferrari Ulrich, Gorig, West 80 + 43 Laps
57 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Scott, Griffin 78 + 45 Laps
58 GTE Am #88 Porsche Preining, Bastien, De Leener 47 + 76 Laps
59 LMP2 #11 Ligier Tambay, Maris, D'Ansembourg 26 + 97 Laps
shares
comments
Le Mans 24 Hours: #8 Toyota loses lap to #7 car after brake change
Previous article

Le Mans 24 Hours: #8 Toyota loses lap to #7 car after brake change

Next article

Le Mans 24 Hours: #8 Toyota takes lead at half-distance, #7 gets turbo issue

Le Mans 24 Hours: #8 Toyota takes lead at half-distance, #7 gets turbo issue
Load comments
Why an F1-snubbed British world champion has no regrets in retirement Plus

Why an F1-snubbed British world champion has no regrets in retirement

He may not have won the Le Mans 24 Hours - falling agonisingly short in 2016 - and didn't get the opportunities in Formula 1 his talents merited. But after calling time on his professional career last month, Anthony Davidson says his pride in his performances with Peugeot and Toyota in LMP1 mean more than the results he achieved

WEC
Dec 17, 2021
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Plus

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Autosport recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Plus

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Plus

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Plus

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title Plus

How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title

In the penultimate round of the 2021 World Endurance Championship, a better run of tyre wear for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi brought the Toyota trio its third win from five events, as the #7 squad put one hand on the title. Here's how the first of the WEC's two Bahrain enduros played out

WEC
Nov 1, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
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