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ferrari le mans winners 2024

Trackside at Le Mans 24 Hour: Ferrari win an astounding race

ferrari le mans winners 2024

Ferrari won its second straight Le Mans 24 Hour since returning to the classic race. Nicklas Nielsen drove an economy run to squeeze home on empty tanks as he took the Ferrari AF Corse 499P he shared with Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina to victory in what can only be described as an epic race.

The Italian team‘s trio best survived the odds of a treacherous challenge that tested every competitor to the very limit and beyond, with nine Hypercars on the lead lap when the chequered flag fdropped to end the 92nd edition of the great race.

It would also be safe to say that no car of the 63 car grid had anything close a clean run. The record 23-strong Hypercar field however thrilled the record, closing on 400,000 fans that gathered from around the world at the Sarthe circuit for a superbly run event, to an incredible spectacle.

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On the track, former 5-time winners Gazoo Toyota Racing had to make do with second once again, as Nyck de Vries, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez followed the winning 50 Ferrari home in the number 7 GR010 Hybrid. 2023 winners, Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi rounded out the podium in the second 51 Ferrari.

Ferrari’s 12th Le Mans 24 Hour Win

Trackside at Le Mans 24 Hour: Ferrari win an astounding race

They held Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor’s Penske Porsche off by just a second. Sebastien Buemi, Ben Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa followed in the second Toyota with Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen and Fred Makowiecki sixth in the second Porsche.

Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Alex Palou followed in seventh for Cadillac, ahead of the two JOTA 963s making it five Porsches in the top ten, and Lamborghini’s new Hypercar in tenth. Two Peugeots, the second Lambo followed from the Isotta Fraschini in 14th. It was however a race of intrigue, and eventually attrition and survival through changeable conditions, if somewhat marred by many hours of ongoing safety car woes.

Ferrari went onto the attack from the get-go, with the 50 jumping up to second behind Kevin Estre’s pole-stealing Porsche and soon moving ahead. The 51 Ferrari was soon up to second from Estre, the yellow AF Corse 83 Ferrari and the 8 Toyota. There was little drama for the first two stints, but the rain started to fall around the third pit stops, causing several cars to switch to wet tyres in spite of most of the track remaining dry.

Rain, Fog and Drama Throughout an Epic Race

le mans toyota leads

That proved the wrong decision. Ferrari duo, Robert Kubica in the yellow car and the 50 proved as much by staying out on slicks to establish a healthy lead, which they maintained for a few hours. The lead on track however ebbed and flowed as the chasing pack that had switched back to dry rubber, sat out of sync with the ideal strategy and went ahead every time the nett leaders pitted. And it reverted again a few laps later.

Sporadic light showers failed to affect the running as the status quo remained up front with the yellow and red 50 Ferraris up front into the evening. The complexion of the race however transformed as night fell. Kubica in the leafing yellow Ferrari clipped the 20 BMW he was lapping, turning the hapless Robin Frijns hard into the barriers at the end of the Mulsanne straight.

The Safety Car was despatched and stayed out for two hours as Le Mans officials repaired the barriers until just past midnight. And when racing resumed, Kubica was slapped with a 30-second penalty for his part in the BMW’s demise. That left the yellow Ferrari to chase a spectacular dice for the lead between the Toyotas, the faster Porsches and the red Ferraris up front. Then heavy rain and thick fog caused the safety car to return for a prolonged period until dawn.

Ferrari, Toyota, Porsches & Cadillacs all led the race

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It finally went green again at first light, from where the lead changed perpetually as the rain came and went. Different strategies, caused mostly by some misfortune causing cars to pit out of sync, played out, leaving the final quarter of the race to prove pivotal as the various Ferraris, Toyotas, Porsches and Cadillacs took turns in the lead.

Once that all settled down, Toyota seemed to enjoy an advantage. Until a collision between the 8 and the 51 Ferrari saw the Ferrari serve a 5-second penalty. The other two Ferraris meanwhile had issues of their own. The yellow car retired in hour 20, before the 50 was called in to secure a loose door. Ferrari also took the opportunity to fuel the car at that point,.

That would later prove a quirk of fate, as the 50 Ferrari would only need to refuel once more. Its situation was simplified by stand-in driver Lopez spinning the lead Toyota with an hour to run. So Nielsen emerged from the pits in the lead following his final out of sync stop. But he had to economise to make the finish. Which he did very well, to bring his 499P home to a 17 second victory despite only 2% energy remaining!

Le Mans Proved a Tale of Woe for Some

alpine le mans schumacher

That handed Ferrari its 12th Le Mans 24 Hour victory, and its second on the trot since its return from a 50 year hiatus in 2023. In so doing Ferrari prevented Gazoo Toyota from taking a Le Mans sixth win. and pre-race favourites Porsche from claiming a 20th victory. Cadillac impressed again as it stayed in contention for victory throughout. Nine cars, two Ferraris, two Toyotas, five Porsches and a Cadillac finished on the lead lap.

Of the rest, Lamborghini emerged best of the 2024 newcomers in tenth and thirteenth, Under pressure Peugeot endured a Le Mans to forget as the meat in the Lambo sandwich. Will it this third generation team survive to race again? Underdogs Isotta Fraschini soldiered on to finish.

It was a weekend to forget for the BMWs. Both initially survived, but eventually succumbed to a series of crashes. The fragile Alpines may have looked good early on. But both broke engines before dark. Back to the drawing board. Two of the three Cadillacs retired, one crashed, the other was beset with technical issues. Early leader, the yellow Ferrari also found technical trouble, and the sixth Porsche crashed out.

Le Mans Leaves Title Fight on Knife’s Edge

2024_24hLeMans_lm_06453-min_0959bba4-c3ce-46b4-9654-Trackside at Le Mans 24 Hour: Ferrari win an astounding race

All of that now leaves the 2024 World Endurance Championship title fight balanced on a knife’s edge. Porsche still leads the way on 108 points. But only 9 clear of Ferrari on 99, with multiple reigning champions Toyota just three points further back in third. The balance of this year’s WEC should now prove just as epic as the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hour.

Now significantly off the Hypercar pace, Oliver Jarvis, Bijoy Garg and Nolan Siegel took LMP2 honours for United Autosports. 2023 winners, InterEuropol crew Clemen Novalak, Jakub Smieschowski and Vladislav Lomko ended second from IDEC Sport trio de Gurus, Job and van Uitert.

Porsche may not have won overall, but its 911 took yet another Le Mans GT win in the new for ’24 LMGT3 class. Richard Lietz, Yasser Shahin and Morris Schuring took the Manthey EMA 911 GT3 R to victory after a close fight with Augusto Farfus, Sean Gelael and Darren Leung. Two Ford Mustangs ended third and fourth on their Le Mans debut.

A race of epic proportions in every possible respect, a record 2024 Le Mans 24 Hour grid delivered astounding racing and a result that most of the close to 400,000 crowd will be happy with in the end. Perhaps the most significant motor race on the modern calendar, the countdown now starts for the 2025 race, on the never-ending Road to Le Mans. (Michele Lupini Reporting from Le Mans)