2024 24 Hours of Le Mans: A Very Wet Overnight Report

Le Mans 2024

Currently, the #8 Toyota is in the lead while the cars are sluggishly following the safety car. Credit goes to Mike Widdowson from MJW Media.

Le Mans 2024 - Figure 1
Photo The Checkered Flag

In the early morning of Sunday, the Circuit de la Sarthe is starting to light up, and Toyota Gazoo Racing is leading the pack in the Hypercar competition for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans. This marks the fourth round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship and it has been an extremely thrilling race. Nevertheless, due to the heavy rainfall since the halfway point, the cars have been following behind safety cars for over three hours. Even all three safety cars had to take a pit stop due to running low on fuel.

To access our summary of the initial six hours of the competition, follow this link.

Race Results: 9 Hours Of Competition

After the rain stopped, the #83 AF Corse Ferrari stayed in the lead of Hypercar due to the pit stop cycle. The #50 Ferrari AF Corse was pushed back to second place, with the #5 Porsche Penske Motorsport and #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing trailing behind. An intense moment occurred around the 6:30:00 mark when the #83 Ferrari collided with the #15 BMW M Team WRT at full speed, causing the BMW to crash and withdraw from the race. The BMW was quick in qualifying, but became the third Hypercar to retire following the Alpine Endurance Team's two retirements within the first six hours. This incident also signaled the first safety car appearance of the race.

Le Mans 2024 - Figure 2
Photo The Checkered Flag

The race was interrupted for 90 minutes due to repairs being carried out on the Mulsanne straight barrier. When the race resumed, the weather was extremely cold and wet. Almost all of the remaining 58 cars in the race went to the pit lane for wet tyres, except for two cars: the #5 Porsche and the #311 Whelen Cadillac Racing car. The #83 Ferrari overtook the #5 Porsche at 8:20:00 into the race. The Porsche team had hoped the track would dry out and give them an advantage, but unfortunately, this didn't happen and they ended up dropping out of the top 10.

The #83 Ferrari received a 30 second stop and go penalty for colliding with the #15 BMW. After serving the penalty, the Ferrari returned in 6th place and the #8 Toyota took the lead. At 8:42:00, the #46 Team WRT BMW, driven by Ahmed Al Harthy, spun under the Dunlop bridge. Although the spin appeared simple, it caused a major water leak and damaged the radiator, forcing the car out of the competitive race. By the beginning of the 10th hour, the track was dry, and all cars had switched to slick tires. Toyota benefited the most from this change, with the #8 car leading, the #7 car in 3rd place, and the #6 Porsche making a great recovery and regaining 2nd place after a difficult first third of the race.

Le Mans 2024 - Figure 3
Photo The Checkered Flag

During the LMGT3 race, it seemed like Porsche had the upper hand. Manthey PureRxing, who was leading the championship, was in the first position followed by Manthey EMA in second place. Both were driving Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3s. Ian James occupied the third position driving the Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3. The Iron Dames, who had a challenging race until then, were in the fourth position right behind the top three.

During the 10th hour of the Hypercar race, Earl Bamber driving the #2 Cadillac and Antonio Fuoco steering the #50 Ferrari were in a fierce battle for 4th place. They kept switching positions and both cars were showing great speed, indicating they could both achieve high rankings by morning.

There was some excitement in the LMP2 race when the Duqueine Team experienced a major technical failure on its 112th lap. A fire could be seen near the driver cockpit, causing quite a spectacle. Meanwhile, the #183 AF Corse car was leading the pack, followed by the #22 United Autosports car driven by Nolan Siegel. The COOL Racing #37 car was in third place, with the #34 Inter Europol Competition car in fourth. Although the category will no longer be part of WEC in 2024, it still created some great racing moments at Le Mans.

Le Mans 2024 - Figure 4
Photo The Checkered Flag

At approximately 2:30 in the morning according to the Greenwich Mean Time, a heavy downpour began to pour down on the track, as the predicted storm finally occurred. Mike Widdowson, a photographer located in Le Mans, confirmed that the situation had worsened significantly due to the weather. At 2:44 GMT, a second safety car was activated, and it remained operational for a longer period compared to the first. The track conditions were very dangerous and made it impossible for the race to continue. It was risky for vehicles of different types to cross each other's path, let alone compete fiercely against one another.

The rain is still pouring heavily at 6am and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop anytime soon. The safety car has been out for a while now and it doesn't look like it's going to exit the track anytime soon. All three of the safety cars have gone back to the pit to get some fuel. With this situation, everyone, including teams, drivers, and fans are preparing themselves for a long and challenging race ahead.

The next race update from The Checkered Flag will be available at 12:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time.

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