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24 Hours of Le Mans

Ferrari claim famous victory in jaw-dropping Le Mans 24 Hours

Ferrari car edged Toyota to win the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Ferrari 50 II
To news overview © XPBimages

Ferrari has secured back-to-back Le Mans 24 Hours victories after narrowly defeating Toyota in a jaw-dropping finish. 

Whilst it was the #51 car on top in 2023, it was the #50 which came out of the continuous rain showers as the victor, with the car having been shared by Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen.  

The #50 started the race in fourth at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but it very quickly became clear that qualifying was irrelevant. This is due to rain having started just a couple of hours into the race, which led to several varied strategies. 

Finishing second was the #7 Toyota driven by Nyck de Vries, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, which started the Hypercar category in last. It was not just victory for Ferrari it was a one-three, as the #51 car secured third place. 

In the other classes, the LMP2 class was won by the #22 United Autosports car, with the podium in the middle category having been completed by the #34 Inter Europol Competition car and the #28 IDEC Sport car.

The LMGT3 category was an epic battle won in the end by the #91 Manthey EMA car, whilst the class' podium was completed by the #31 Team WRT car and the #88 Proton Competition car. 

15 cars retired from one of the most difficult Le Mans 24 Hours in its history.

Horrific weather

The entire race was tormented by cold weather and rain, which was at its heaviest during the night. As a result of intense rain and poo visibility during the night, a four-hour safety car period took place. 

This finally ended in the early hours of the morning, with the Toyota #8 having led the field at the time. Several cars, including both Alpine Hypercars, retired during the night. A notable retiree was the #46 Team WRT LMGT3 car, whose line-up included motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi. 

Every team had a constant battle between switching between wets and slicks, due to rain showers having featured almost every couple of hours. 

When the rain did stop, the racing line dried quickly, although this caused issues when slower cars had to peel off the racing line to allow others past. 

The #27 Heart of Racing Team car found this out on Sunday morning at Indianapolis, with it having flipped over in dramatic fashion after a heavy hit with the barrier

It span after moving onto the wet part of the circuit, to let a Hypercar past. Moments before, the #4 Porsche Penske also crashed there. 

A key figure in the race was the #83 AF Corse Ferrari, which led a significant part of the first half of the race, despite serving a 30-second stop/go penalty. Unfortunately, it retired in the closing hours due to a mechanical problem.

Dramatic finish

It was not until after the final pit stops that the true running order was discovered, due to the huge variation in strategies. There was controversy prior to this though, as the #8 Toyota which looked like a serious victory contender was spun by last season's winner, the #51 Ferrari. 

The #8 car simply lost too much time, whilst the five-second time penalty presented to the #51 Ferrari car ended its hopes too of victory. 

Because of this, it turned into a straight fight between the #50 Ferrari and the #7 Toyota, which crucially spun at the second corner which saw it lose a position to the #50 Ferrari. 

Whilst this looked to secure Ferrari back-to-back victories, the #50 car completed its final pit-stop significantly earlier than its rivals, raising doubts over whether it would make the finish. 

To the relief of the Scuderia, the #50 Ferrari AF Corse made the finish in the lead, securing Ferrari a second consecutive Le Mans 24 Hours victory.

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