Winners and losers from Le Mans’s record 2024 Hypercar fight –


Records were broken at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans as nine cars finished on the first lap.

That was partly circumstantial given the safety cars were involved for more than a quarter of the race – including a back-to-back for more than four hours overnight due to incredibly heavy rain – but it was still indicative of a fierce battle for front honours.

Although this has developed into a battle between the same two manufacturers that battled it out for victory last year, there is still prestige to be fought for.

Who came out excelling and who didn’t live up to expectations? Here are our picks for the Hypercar class winners and losers from the centerpiece of the World Endurance Championship.

Winner: Ferrari

Not only did Ferrari defend its 24 Hours of Le Mans win, but the way it did so was impressive.

Yes, each of the nine standard cars that finished the first lap had problems during the race; It wasn’t as if the No. 50 car was alone in experiencing some of its own. When has a 24 Hours of Le Mans winner not suffered a setback of any kind?

What separates her from her rivals is the nature and timing of the setback she suffered – a loose door forced her to stop, knocking her out of the sequence with her rivals to take the win over the final two hours.

When Nicklas Nielsen stopped with more than 50 minutes left in the match, it seemed unlikely that he would be able to reach the finish line without one final stop.

That’s how it seemed to the outside world, anyway – but Ferrari was confident in its estimates and couldn’t have asked for a smarter driver behind the wheel. Nielsen was apparently the coolest figure at Le Mans as he assured Ferrari that their energy conservation goals were under control.

Crucially, while last year’s win had a tremendous balance of star performances, Nielsen’s win this time around alongside Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco has no such caveats.

Furthermore, Ferrari took its second manufacturer car to the podium as well.

Loser: #83 Ferrari

What a rollercoaster it has been for the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari crew of Robert Kubica, Robert Schwartzman and Yifei Yi.

Kubica had something of a Jekyll and Hyde race, working his way from 12th at the start to the lead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, only to come into contact with Dries Vanthoor on the night – while the car remained in front – with disastrous consequences for the BMW driver.

Even after the 30-second penalty, the No. 83 fought its way back into the fray for victory. After driving the car for more than 80 laps, it was cruel for its mission to end in the pitlane with smoke billowing from the front of the car as the race entered its final hours.

Winner: #7 Toyota

If the phrase “If they don’t have bad luck, they don’t have any luck at all” was applied to anyone at Le Mans it would certainly be the No. 7 Toyota crew.

Of course, sometimes luck is of your own making. After all, it was Kamui Kobayashi’s spin in qualifying that prevented the car from advancing to the Hyperpole session and made it last in the 23-car Hypercar field at the start. Although Nyck de Vries was not at fault for his collision with the No. 78 Lexus during warm-up, it could have been avoided.

However, finishing second was a herculean effort from a line-up that changed on the eve of the race, with José María López – who had been sidelined over the winter in favor of De Vries – returning to replace the injured Mike Conway.

Lopez took credit for a smooth entry and was suitably quick in the closing stages as he tried to make up ground lost due to two punctures, finding the limits of the car and the track (including a spin at the Dunlop Chicane) in pursuit of the leading Ferrari. . Ultimately, that spin and the power settings issue were a big blow, but so was Toyota’s decision to call off the chase for Lopez and settle for second place with half an hour remaining.

So, there was no fairytale ending for the super-submarine and the car that started at the back of the set was an ending that it fully deserved. But the fact that he was in the account in the first place was a victory of sorts.

Loser: Alps

Alpine has had the most overt reliability concerns of its top-tier competitors heading into the race, so the double DNF may not come as a huge surprise.

This alone does not mean that its failure to finish is not disappointing. Doubly so, considering that Le Mans was barely a quarter of the way done in the 24 hours, with both cars retiring due to engine failure (one in particularly spectacular fashion).

The single lap pace looked good and this outing was not without its positives. But the double early failure suggests there is plenty of work to do if Alpine is to be a regular at the top in 12 months’ time.

Winner: Lamborghini

The Lamborghini didn’t have the eye-popping single-lap speed of Le Mans 24 Hours newcomers Hypercar Alpine and BMW (although that’s not to say it was a disappointment in qualifying, with its flagship car finishing a respectable 13th).

But the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a marathon, not a sprint, and while those competitors fell by the wayside, the Iron Lynx-powered Lamborghini effort delivered when it mattered.

The race described this as more likely to be a data-gathering exercise () than the one in which it battled Lamborghini at the front, but although that was true, its performance with both cars was reliable and, crucially, reliable.

The reward for this was a tenth place finish in his flagship No. 63 car, beating the Peugeot team on merit.

Loser: Peugeot

Measured on the same scale as Lamborghini, Peugeot is not a loser. Both cars reached the finish without any technical problems.

But this, if anything, shows just how tepid this performance has been in his third year in the WEC. Despite the fact that it starts out handling the 9X8 evo package, finishing 11th and 12th and two laps down isn’t good enough.

Peugeot described this as a “honourable performance” in the context of deepening strength in the supercar field. If she really clings to this feeling, she’ll wonder if she has what it takes to take on the front-runners.

Winner: Jota

Jotta’s No. 12 Porsche 963 has essentially been the top independent car since joining the three WEC races in the 2023 season, so the fact that it led a 1-2 privateer of the No. 38 sister car at the flag wasn’t necessarily a good thing. a surprise.

But what made it even more impressive was the enormous effort it took to get the car into the race in the first place. The damage sustained in Callum Ilott’s crash right at the end of FP2 – after the car had built the Hyperpole – required Jota to start from scratch with a new monocoque that was somehow ready to take off on Friday evening at nearby Le Mans Airport.

The flawless running of the car in the race was a triumph for Jota’s mechanics.

Loser: Jota too

Although Jota has prepared the car for the race, it’s hard not to see this as a missed opportunity as well.

The truth is that car No. 12 was the “special car that could” participate in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). It has been close to the points-leading No. 6 Penske Porsche all year, so there’s a good chance it could be on par with the top-placed car if its 963 was able to outpace the Hyperpole.

As Will Stevens said, “We’re not here to finish eighth and we’ve felt really good in the car all week.”

I always felt that hopes of an improbable privateer victory rested on the No. 12 car, and those hopes were dashed with the Ilott crash – one that had wide-ranging consequences beyond the rebuild. This proved to be the case in racing.

Loser: BMW

Two major race-spoilers were not what BMW was thinking about when it returned to the top category at Le Mans.

The M Hybrid V8 looked fast but edgy throughout practice and qualifying, and in the end it was a minor hit that had devastating consequences for Robin Frijns, as the resulting hit and barrier all but ended BMW’s hopes for its No. 20 car.

Vanthoor was more than just a passenger in his terrifying detour after colliding with Robert Kubica’s race-leading No. 83 Ferrari. But it came as Vanthoor was playing catch-up after Marco Wittmann crashed out of Tertre Rouge in the early stages.

BMW was left holding out for a “conciliatory end” to the race as it took a podium finish in the GT3 class, but was hoping for more from its Hypercar efforts.



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