Portimao WEC: #8 Toyota takes victory after team orders call
Toyota celebrated its 100th world championship endurance race with victory at the World Endurance Championship Portimao 8 Hours for the #8 entry of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley.
Buemi brought the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid car to the finish at the Algarve International Circuit narrowly ahead of the #7 Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez after a confusing double team order call, with Buemi briefly being ordered to let Lopez past before being handed the lead once again.
Alpine's grandfathered LMP1 chassis proved to be a match for the Toyota Hypercars after the World Endurance Championship's latest Balance of Performance tweaks ahead of Portugal's second round of the season.
Polesitter Nicolas Lapierre led the early stages of the race in the #38 Alpine A480-Gibson with what appeared to be a slight pace advantage on both Toyotas, but the LMP1 car's pace didn't prove sufficient to offset its shorter stint lengths, with the Toyota pair managing to make fewer pitstops.
Toyota and Alpine traded the lead on the rhythm of their pitstop cycles until the race was effectively reset with 2 hours and 30 minutes to go due to a safety car, coming out for Miro Konopka's stranded ARC Bratislava LMP2 car.
In the #7 Toyota Kobayashi held the lead at the restart ahead of Nakajima and Lapierre. While Kobayashi stormed off, Nakajima and Lapierre tussled for second, with Lapierre passing the Toyota into Turn 1.
In the final segment of the race Alpine again had to make an extra pitstop for fuel, which dropped it back to third.
Lopez passed Buemi in the seventh hour, but Buemi was told his team-mate would need an extra splash of fuel at the end.
Indeed, Lopez brought the #7 in with 1h06m minutes to go, guaranteeing an extra pitstop in the final hour, while Buemi carried on for another nine minutes and managed to make the car's seventh pitstop its last.
But with Lopez making his splash under a full-course yellow, he came out right behind Buemi.
Toyota decided to swap positions to let Lopez show if he had pace in hand, but when Buemi managed to keep up with the sister car the Cologne team reversed its decision and allowed Buemi to retake the lead until the finish.
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Meanwhile Andre Negrao, who shared the Alpine with Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere, took third over one minute behind the Toyotas.
The solo Glickenhaus 007 LMH, which made its racing debut in Portimao, managed to see the chequered flag on its debut, albeit 54 laps down on the leaders.
The car fell behind after Ryan Briscoe got caught up in a melee with two GTE Am cars, the #777 D’station Racing Aston Martin and #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, which resulted in a lengthy trip to the garage to repair the damage.
The Glickenhaus had already been off the pace and it went a lap down on its fellow Hypercar runners in the opening hour, with starting driver Richard Westbrook reporting severe tyre wear.
As is often the case, LMP2 was the class to watch in Portimao with a four-way battle for the win that raged until the end.
The early stages were characterised by a battle between Giedo van der Garde in the #29 Racing Team Nederland ORECA and the #31 WRT ORECA of Robin Frijns, with the latter team taking the advantage when gentleman racer Frits van Eerd took over the '29 RTN car.
But a pair of drivethrough penalties set back WRT, one for speeding in the pits as Frijns came in to hand over to Habsburg, and another for not respecting blue flags.
That handed the net lead to the #22 United Autosports car, the title-winning entry which also won Spa's opening round.
United's main competition came from the JOTA’s pair of ORECA 07-Gibsons, despite the polesitting #28 car of Tom Blomqvist being spun around at the start by Antonio Felix da Costa in the #38 sister car.
The Konopka-triggered safety car also tightened the LMP2 lead battle between United, WRT and the two JOTAs.
Soon after the restart Wayne Boyd brought in the #22, releasing JOTA's Stoffel Vandoorne and WRT's Charles Milesi, who had been involved in an exciting duel before the full-course yellow.
After the next pitstop sequence Vandoorne retained a healthy buffer on Phil Hanson in the #22, with Milesi in the #31 WRT car further behind.
In the #38 JOTA of Anthony Davidson charged to third after a brilliant door to door fight with the Milesi. The #38 car also got ahead of the United entry to make it a JOTA one-two.
In sharp contrast to Toyota's controlling measures, both JOTA cars fought for the win until the final minutes, with Da Costa finally getting the better of Blomqvist to take a popular home victory with Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.
#38 JOTA Oreca 07 - Gibson: Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Anthony Davidson
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Blomqvist settled for second in the #28 car he shares with Vandoorne and Sean Gelael, with United Autosports beating the WRT squad to third.
Racing Team Nederland dropped out of contention after contact with a GT car by Job van Uitert, which helped the #20 High Class Racing ORECA to a comfortable lead in the Por-Am subclass.
But after stopping on the track in the final hour the Danish trio Jan Magnussen, Anders Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen ceded the win to the #70 Realteam ORECA of Esteban Garcia, Norman Nato and Mathias Beche.
Ferrari commanded the GTE Pro class, with Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado establishing a dominant lead in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo after polesitter Kevin Estre had led the first hour in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19.
Estre's team-mate Michael Christensen was then passed by the second #71 Ferrari of Miguel Molina in the fourth hour to make it a one-two for the Prancing Horse.
The #51 Ferrari's lead never seemed in significant danger and it survived the safety car interruption to take a clear win.
#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
The battle for second place did rage on and was settled in the final hour when the #52 Ferrari managed to make its final stop under a full-course yellow, Molina and Daniel Serra securing the position ahead of the #92 Porsche of Estre, Christensen and Neel Jani.
The #91 sister Porsche of Gianmaria Bruno, Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz was fourth and last in class.
In GTE Am the #98 NorthWest Aston Martin initially led the way, ahead of the #47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari and the #54 AF Corse machine, but a second-half of the race off by Paul Dalla Lana dropped the car back, with the Cetilar Ferrari of Antonio Fuoco, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Robert Lacorte taking the lead.
In the final two hours Sernagiotto was passed for the lead by Ricardo Pera in the #56 Project 1 Porsche, but a time penalty for Pera - for tagging the #70 Realteam LMP2 car - handed the class win back to Cetilar.
Pera took second with Matteo Cairoli and Egidio Perfetti, while the #54 Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci took third in class.
Watch all World Endurance Championship races live on our OTT platform Motorsport.tv. The next race is scheduled at Monza on 18 July.
WEC Portimao 8 Hours results:
|1||8|| Sébastien Buemi
|Toyota GR010 - Hybrid||HYPERCAR||300||-|
|2||7|| Mike Conway
Jose Maria Lopez
|Toyota GR010 - Hybrid||HYPERCAR||300||1.800||1.800|
|3||36|| Andre Negrao
|4||38|| Roberto Gonzalez
Antonio Felix da Costa
|Oreca 07||LMP2||296||0.007||4 Laps|
|5||28|| Sean Gelael
|Oreca 07||LMP2||296||4.689||4 Laps|
|6||22|| Philip Hanson
Paul di Resta
|Oreca 07||LMP2||295||5 laps|
|7||31|| Robin Frijns
|Oreca 07||LMP2||295||30.195||5 Laps|
|8||34|| Jakub Smiechowski
|Oreca 07||LMP2||293||7 laps|
|9||1|| Tatiana Calderon
|Oreca 07||LMP2||290||10 laps|
|10||70|| Esteban Garcia
|Oreca 07||LMP2||290||38.451||10 Laps|
|11||21|| Henrik Hedman
Juan Pablo Montoya
|Oreca 07||LMP2||288||12 laps|
|12||20|| Jan Magnussen
|Oreca 07||LMP2||285||15 laps|
|13||29|| Frits van Eerd
Giedo van der Garde
Job Van Uitert
|Oreca 07||LMP2||280||0.676||20 Laps|
|14||51|| Alessandro Pier Guidi
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE PRO||279||21 laps|
|15||52|| Daniel Serra
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE PRO||279||25.066||21 Laps|
|16||92|| Kevin Estre
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE PRO||279||45.043||21 Laps|
|17||91|| Gianmaria Bruni
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE PRO||278||22 laps|
|18||47|| Roberto Lacorte
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||274||26 laps|
|19||56|| Egidio Perfetti
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||274||5.830||26 Laps|
|20||54|| Thomas Flohr
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||274||51.233||26 Laps|
|21||98|| Paul Dalla Lana
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||274||1'18.720||26 Laps|
|22||57|| Takeshi Kimura
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||274||1'32.830||26 Laps|
|23||60|| Claudio Schiavoni
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||273||27 laps|
|24||85|| Rahel Frey
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||273||1'12.854||27 Laps|
|25||33|| Ben Keating
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||272||28 laps|
|26||86|| Michael Wainwright
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||271||29 laps|
|27||88|| Dominique Bastien
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||269||31 laps|
|28||83|| François Perrodo
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||267||33 laps|
|29||44|| Miro Konopka
|Ligier JSP 217||LMP2||261||39 laps|
|30||709|| Ryan Briscoe
|Glickenhaus 007 LMH||HYPERCAR||246||54 laps|
|31||77|| Christian Ried
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||88||211 laps|
|32||777|| Satoshi Hoshino
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||69||230 laps|
|View full results|
F1 champion Verstappen says 'Alonso only wants to return to Le Mans if it's with me'
F1 champion Verstappen says 'Alonso only wants to return to Le Mans if it's with me' F1 champion Verstappen says 'Alonso only wants to return to Le Mans if it's with me'
Wayne Taylor Racing will be “stronger” with second GTP car in IMSA 2024
Wayne Taylor Racing will be “stronger” with second GTP car in IMSA 2024 Wayne Taylor Racing will be “stronger” with second GTP car in IMSA 2024
Sauber breaks tradition by revealing 2024 UK F1 launch
Sauber breaks tradition by revealing 2024 UK F1 launch Sauber breaks tradition by revealing 2024 UK F1 launch
The Marquez problem Yamaha is about to face with its MotoGP superstar
The Marquez problem Yamaha is about to face with its MotoGP superstar The Marquez problem Yamaha is about to face with its MotoGP superstar
Why Ferrari's Le Mans glory proved an outlier as Toyota dominated the WEC
Why Ferrari's Le Mans glory proved an outlier as Toyota dominated the WEC Why Ferrari's Le Mans glory proved an outlier as Toyota dominated the WEC
The "intense" issues Toyota navigated for WEC title glory in Bahrain
The "intense" issues Toyota navigated for WEC title glory in Bahrain The "intense" issues Toyota navigated for WEC title glory in Bahrain
Why the stars have aligned to bring Aston Martin back to the top class at Le Mans
Why the stars have aligned to bring Aston Martin back to the top class at Le Mans Why the stars have aligned to bring Aston Martin back to the top class at Le Mans
How Porsche ensured Toyota's WEC homecoming was anything but straightforward
How Porsche ensured Toyota's WEC homecoming was anything but straightforward How Porsche ensured Toyota's WEC homecoming was anything but straightforward
Subscribe and access Autosport.com with your ad-blocker.
From Formula 1 to MotoGP we report straight from the paddock because we love our sport, just like you. In order to keep delivering our expert journalism, our website uses advertising. Still, we want to give you the opportunity to enjoy an ad-free and tracker-free website and to continue using your adblocker.