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bmw le mans qualifying hyperpole-001

Le Mans 24 Hour Qualifying: BMW mark return in style, Toyota go AWOL

bmw le mans qualifying hyperpole-001

The tense sixty-minute qualifying session delivered its verdict: 24 cars – top eight from each class will take to the track today (Thursday) at 20:00 for a Hyperpole shootout to decide the sharp end of the grid for the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race.

BMW are back at Le Mans and in style, as they ended Wednesday fastest of all with Dries Vanthoor doing the hot laps. Notably, neither of the Toyota Gazoo cars made it into Hyperpole which was highly unusual for the World Champions and five-time Le Mans winners.

Just eight golden tickets for the Hyperpole grid were up for grabs in each class. The stakes were therefore sky-high as the cars returned to the track for a 60-minute qualifying session.

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Hypercar: BMW on top, Toyota flop

Toyota Gazoo Racing se réveille lors des essais de nuit

A spate of fast early laps by many of the competitors in the top class left the top 12 within the same second. Pressure showed as the clock wound down with Hartley, Bortolotti, Estre and Kobayashi all spinning in their quest to make the eight.

Kobayashi’s mishap two-and-a-half minutes from the end proved fatal to Toyota Gazoo Racing’s hopes of qualifying for Hyperpole. A red flag brought the session to a premature end and the #7 car’s times were subsequently wiped out by the stewards for causing the incident.

As the action hotted up in the final 15 minutes, Vanthoor jumped from outside the Hyperpole places to the top of the standings with a 3:24.465 lap in the #15 BMW M Hybrid V8. He will be joined on the Hyperpole grid by two Cadillacs, two Ferraris, two Porsches and an Alpine.

LMP2 & LMGT3: as close as it gets

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Malthe Jakobsen in the #37 Oreca 07-Gibson fielded by COOL Racing surprised AO by TF racer Louis Delétraz, the #14 car having been the most rapid in the afternoon’s free practice session.  The Dane went round in a time of 3:32.827. United Autosports USA’s #23 Oreca was third fastest.

Ben Barker’s third lap of 3:55.263 was enough to qualify in top spot in LMGT3. The #70 McLaren fielded by Inception Racing is showing a great deal of promise, taking second place in this session after a consistent free practice session earlier today.

The #86 Ferrari 296 LMGT3 of GR Racing was the only one of the 62 competitors not to record a qualifying after spending the session in the garage with an electronic issue suffered in free practice.

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HYPERPOLE QUALIFIERS

HYPERCAR Top 8

  1. #15 BMW M Hybrid V8 – BMW M Team WRT – Dries Vanthoor / Raffaele Marciello / Marco Wittmann – 3:24.465
  2. #3 Cadillac V-Series.R – Cadillac Racing – Sébastien Bourdais / Renger van der Zande / Scott Dixon  +0.177
  3. #50 Ferrari 499P – Ferrari AF Corse – Antonio Fuoco / Miguel Molina / Nicklas Nielsen  +0.266
  4. #35 Alpine A424 – Alpine Endurance Team – Paul-Loup Chatin / Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen / Charles Milesi +0.407
  5. #2 Cadillac V-Series.R #2 Cadillac Racing – Earl Bamber / Alex Lynn / Alex Palou +0.528
  6. #51 Ferrari 499P – Ferrari AF Corse – Alessandro Pier Guidi / James Calado / Antonio Giovinazzi +0.584
  7. #6 Porsche 963 – Porsche Penske Motorsport – Kévin Estre / André Lotterer / Laurens Vanthoor +0.586
  8. #12 Porsche 963 – Hertz Team JOTA – William Stevens / Norman Nato / Callum Ilott +0.680

LMP2 Top 8

  1. #37 Oreca 07-Gibson – Cool Racing – Lorenzo Fluxa / Malthe Jakobsen / Ritomo Miyata – 3:32.827
  2. #14 Oreca 07-Gibson – AO by TF – PJ Hyett / Louis Delétraz / Alex Quinn +0.307
  3. #23 Oreca 07-Gibson – United Autosports USA – Ben Keating / Filipe Albuquerque / Ben Hanley +0.603
  4. #65 Oreca 07-Gibson – Panis Racing – Rodrigo Sales / Mathias Beche / Scott Huffaker  +1.000
  5. #28 Oreca 07-Gibson – IDEC Sport – Paul Lafargue / Job van Uitert / Reshad de Gerus +1.388
  6. #10 Oreca 07-Gibson – Vector Sport – Ryan Cullen / Patrick Pilet / Stéphane Richelmi +1.435
  7. #33 Oreca 07-Gibson – DKR Engineering – Alexander Mattschull / Rene Binder / Laurents Horr +1.503
  8. #22 Oreca 07-Gibson – United Autosports – Oliver Jarvis / Bijoy Garg / Nolan Siegel +1.653

LMGT3 Top 8

  1. #77 Ford Mustang LMGT3 – Proton Competition – Ryan Hardwick / Zacharie Robichon / Benjamin Barker – 3:55.263
  2. #70 McLaren 720S LMGT3 Evo2 – Inception Racing – Brendan Iribe / Ollie Millroy / Frederik Schandorff +0.143
  3. #82 Corvette Z06 LMGT3.R – TF Sport – Hiroshi Koizumi / Sébastien Baud / Daniel Juncadella +0.842
  4. #60 Lamborghini Huracan LMGT3 Evo2 – Iron Lynx – Claudio Schiavoni / Matteo Cressoni / Franck Perera +0.890
  5. #92 Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3 – Manthey PureRxcing – Aliaksandr Malykhin / Joel Sturm / Klaus Bachler +0.926
  6. #27 Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3 – Heart Of Racing – Ian James / Daniel Mancinelli / Alex Riberas +0.980
  7. #66 Ferrari 296 LMGT3 – JMW Motorsport – Giacomo Petrobelli / Larry ten Voorde / Salih Yoluc +1.180
  8. #777 Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3 – D’STATION Racing – Satoshi Hoshino / Erwan Bastard / Marco Sorensen +1.237

What’s Up on Thursday at Le Mans

More Free Practice

Four more hours of track time await the teams entered in the 2024 24 Hours, the final opportunity to optimise car set-ups before the big race. Drivers will cover as many laps as possible to familiarise themseles with the legendary, yet demanding, circuit. The first session is scheduled from 15:00 to 18:00 and the second from 22:00 to 23:00.

Battles for Hyperpole

For the Hyperpole, the 24 cars (eight Hypercars, eight LMP2s and eight LMGT3s) that qualified the day before will go after the perfect lap. The fastest time in each driver line-up will determine the classification. Competitors are prohibited from entering pit lane or refuelling, but are free to choose tyres within their quota for the event. A ceremony with the pole-sitters will be held afterwards in the pit straight. Last year, Ferrari AF Corse’s #50 Ferrari 499P clinched the Hyperpole with a time of 03:22.982.

Thursday 13 June Full Programme

09:00 – 10:00 | Fun Cup – Free Practice 2
09:00 – 17:00 | Arnage in the Race
10:30 – 10:50 | Road to Le Mans – Qualifying 1
11:05 – 11:25 | Road to Le Mans – Qualifying 2
12:00 – 12:45 | Fun Cup – Qualifying
13:15 – 14:00 | Lamborghini Super Trofeo – Race 1
15:00 – 18:00 | 24 Hours of Le Mans – Free Practice 3
18:30 – 19:25 | Road to Le Mans – Race 1
20:00 – 20:30 | 24 Hours of Le Mans – Hyperpole
20:30 – 23:00 | OJOS and Bigflo & Oli Concert
20:35 – 21:15 | 24 Hours of Le Mans – Hyperpole Ceremony
22:00 – 23:00 | 24 Hours of Le Mans – Free Practice 4