Six hours is a long time in motorsport – especially in a 24 hour race. But this year’s 24 Hour of Le Mans has a couple of upsets looming which few predicted prior to the green flag.
In the Prototype ranks, Porsche has dominated in recent times – winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Audi has been the kings of Le Mans since taking their first victory here in 2000 – failing to win on only three occasions and two of those years it was still “in the family” with Bentley and Porsche taking the top spot.
Toyota have had the pace here in the past, but not the reliability. Last year both Toyotas fell out early – they had neither the pace nor the reliability.
But in 2016, the Japanese manufacturer seems to have that perfect balance. At the six hours to go mark the No.5 Toyota Hybrid of
“We have been plugging away and putting in consistent lap times through the night, without taking unnecessary risks,” Anthony Davison said.
“It’s a long race and we’ve got to stay in the fight all the way to the end. Everyone has done a good job so far; we’ll keep pushing.”
In fact, the No.6 machine has lead the great majority of the race. For both Porsche and Audi – both have had at least one car eachsuffer reliability issues and are several laps adrift of the leaders.
“My stint in the night was pretty difficult. There’s a lot of traffic out there and I had a small contact with a GT car,” Kamui Kobayashi said.
“It was a pity to lose a bit of time there, but the car balance felt good. There is still a long way to go and we have to do our best for the rest of the race.”
In GTE-Pro, the Ferrari of Risi Competizione continues to be a thorn in the side of the Ford juggernaut.
The Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Matteo Malucelli hold a 30 second lead over the leading Ford which has pole winner Dirk Mueller at the wheel.
Other class leaders at the 3/4 race distance include the No.36 Signatech Alpine in LMP2 and the US GTE-Am entry of Scurderia Corsa and its American squad of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Jeff Segal.