Le Mans 24 Hours: 6 Hours Update - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing leads Le Mans

Le Mans 24 Hours: 6 Hours Update - TOYOTA GAZOO Racing leads Le Mans

12.06.2022: TOYOTA GAZOO Racingís two GR010 HYBRID Hypercars were locked in a close battle at the front of the 90th Le Mans 24 Hours after six hours of intense competition at the Circuit de la Sarthe.


TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s two GR010 HYBRID Hypercars were locked in a close battle at the front of the 90th Le Mans 24 Hours after six hours of intense competition at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

 


After a quarter of the race, the #7 GR010 HYBRID of 2021 winners Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López led the race by a slender 8.049secs.
 


The team’s challenge for a fifth consecutive Le Mans win began smoothly, and Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirawaka, in the #8 GR010 HYBRID which started from pole position, was running second after six hours.
 
 
 
Before the race got underway, three-time Le Mans winner Kazuki Nakajima was the centre of attention when he delivered the 2021 winners’ trophy on the TOYOTA TOM’s 85C Group C car, as part of the starting ceremony. Kazuki’s father, Satoru, drove the car in Toyota’s first-ever Le Mans, in 1985, 37 years ago.
 


The two GR010 HYBRIDs led the 62-car field away at the traditional 4pm (local time) start, in front of a big crowd. Sébastien made a clean start and led from Mike in the #7, who closed the gap and pitted first. Sébastien followed a lap later and resumed in second, just behind his team-mate.
 


Mike held the lead for the remainder of his stint, which ended after around two hours when he handed the #7, and the lead of the race, over to José. Sébastien pitted on the following lap and Brendon resumed in the second-placed #8.
 


José built an advantage of around 20 seconds by the start of the fourth hour but that gap was cut due to a combination of Brendon’s pace, which included setting the fastest lap of the race, and an unfortunate slow zone.
 


When José had a trip through the gravel on his out lap, Brendon took the lead and the GR010 HYBRIDs ran nose to tail for several laps before the next driver change, in the fifth hour.
 


Ryo took the wheel of the #8 and led Le Mans for the first time in his career, with Kamui just a second behind, and both having a healthy lead over the third-placed Glickenhaus. But that changed after the next stops, when Kamui edged ahead as Ryo was delayed by a GT car.
 


Traffic was a constant challenge and the gap at the front ebbed and flowed. Kamui entered the seventh hour of the race with a small advantage over Ryo as the sun set at La Sarthe.
 



Le Mans 24 Hours – 6 Hours

1st  #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                                      6 hours         
2nd #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing                                      +8.049secs                
3rd  #708 Glickenhaus Racing (Pla/Dumas/Derani)              +2mins 43.465secs                       
4th  #709 Glickenhaus Racing (Briscoe/Westbrook/Mailleux) +3mins 25.878secs                   
5th  #38 JOTA (Gonzalez/Da Costa/Stevens)                       +2 laps            
6th  #37 COOL Racing (Ye/Taylor/Kruetten)                         +3 laps            
 


Alastair Moffitt, photos Paul Foster


 




Saturday 11th June

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12.06.2022 / MaP

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