Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari, Le Mans 24 Hours, 2023

Ferrari clinch historic victory on return to Le Mans after Toyota duel

World Endurance Championship

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Ferrari claimed their first overall Le Mans 24 Hours win in 58 years, after rivals Toyota spun into the barriers in the final two hours.

Hours 19-20

There was almost nothing to split the top two in the Le Mans 24 Hours with four hours to go, and it is Ferrari who led Toyota into the final hours of the race.

The Antonio Giovinazzi-driven Ferrari led by a minute after 18 hours, and that gap went unchanged for 15 minutes when a lengthy slow zone period occurred after Antonio Felix da Costa made a mistake in Jota Sport’s Porsche 963 and tore apart a guardrail that then needed to be repaired.

Eventually Giovanni decided to pit, with no sign of the track returning to green flag conditions in full, and he handed over to Alessandro Pier Guidi. However after the pit stop was complete there was an issue firing up the Ferrari, and their big lead had turned into a 5.8-second deficit to Sebastien Buemi’s Toyota by the time the car got going again.

Pier Guidi was told to “show [Buemi] what you’re made of”, but the slow zone remained for another ten minutes. The gap did decrease through, with Pier Guidi getting it down to two seconds after 10 minutes at the wheel. A lap later he managed to line up Buemi down the Mulsanne Straight, getting onto his tail at the first chicane then slipstreaming past on the next part of the straight.

From there the gap quickly grew, while Buemi instructed his team that he wanted to pit while the slow zone was still active to try to claim the lead back on strategy.

There was almost nine seconds between the top two when Pier Guidi came in the pits for a quick stop during the 20th hour, with Buemi and the third-placed Cadillac driven by Earl Bamber following him in.

Buemi handed over to Brendon Hartley, who exited the pits 18.8s behind Pier Guidi. That gap stabilise as another lengthy slow zone period began shortly after as Michael Fassbender crashed his GTE Am-class Porsche and damaged some barriers.

Hartley opted to pit, making use of the strategy Buemi had wanted, and dropped to 71s behind the lead Ferrari. But when Pier Guidi pitted after the slow zone had ended and gave up his car to James Calado, the gap came all the way back down to four seconds.

However once again the chance of wheel-to-wheel action between the top two was reduced as another slow zone period began at the end of the hour when Jack Aitken crashed Action Express Racing’s Cadillac.

Hours 21-22

More green flag action meant that Ferrari and Toyota were able to push each other even harder in the next two hour, although the gap between the top two increased.

That rivalry also included the second Ferrari several laps down, as Miguel Molina started to be a nuisance in the number 50 car trying to unlap himself on Hartley who had been asked by Toyota to triple-stint his tyres.

Hartley blocked Molina’s first attempts to get through, then the lapped car backed off slightly and the job was achieved as it helped Calado add a few seconds to his lead.

When Molina eventually pitted, Hartley could not relax as Toyota were wanting to take his tyres even further, meaning he had to be even more strict with managing his pace.

The gap grew to ten seconds during the pair’s next pit stops, and by the 21-hour mark there was 14s between the two. Hartley went for new tyres 20 minutes later, which Calado immediately reacted to by pitting the lap after and successfully growing his lead even further.

Hartley pushed hard to bring the gap down to ten seconds, only for the second Ferrari to prove an issue again and this time by being in front of him. Nicklas Nielsen pitted on the same lap that Hartley voiced his frustrations over the radio, and he went into the final two hours still ten seconds behind the leader.

The factory Cadillac car maintained their third and fourth places, while a leak in the steering system led to the number 93 Peugeot heading to the pits several times and falling from fifth to ninth over the course of the two hours.

Porsche Penske’s Frederic Makowiecki inherited fifth after Nielsen’s pit stop, but on strategy the pair are set to be fighting each other for position later in the race.

Hours 23-24

The race was won for Ferrari early in the penultimate hour, as Toyota swapped out Hartley for Ryo Hirakawa. Giovinazzi pitted a lap later and emerged with a 16s lead, which Hirakawa was pushing hard to reduce.

But he pushed too hard, and after less than ten minutes in the car crashed at Arnage. Approaching the corner he locked his rear wheels heavily, and once coming off the brakes the rear of the car then swung into the barriers and sent him spinning off. Hartley had complained about rear locking prior to getting out of the car, and Hirakawa lost a minute trying to get his Toyota turned around and going again.

Giovinazzi was 90s ahead by the time Hirakawa got the car back to the pits so the team could conduct repairs, and when he returned to track he was 3m18s behind the leader. However on track he was actually a few seconds up the road from Giovinazzi, and almost a lap down, and for the rest of Giovinazzi’s stint he just followed the Toyota without trying to pressure it.

He pitted with one hour-and-nine minutes to go for new tyres and his lead dropped to below two minutes, but then Hirakawa pitted too to top up on fuel and the gap grew back up to 3m05s.

Alessandro Pier Guidi took over the Ferrari for the run to the chequered flag, and had a similar scare to a few hours prior as when he went to pit with 23 minutes to go the car did not get going again when he went to leave his pit box. Eventually the engine did fire up and he was able to go again, and his reduced lead then grew again as Hirakawa pitted with 18 minutes remaining.

Having been ten seconds apart with just over two hours ago and looking like they would push each other to the finish, there was no fight to be had at the end as Pier Guidi had well over one-and-a-half minutes in hand and was able to have a relaxed run to the chequered flag to deliver Ferrari their first overall Le Mans win since 1965.

Hirakawa continued to push, hoping to make up for his earlier mistake, and he finished 89.894s behind in second place as Toyota’s winning streak in the race came to an end.

Earl Bamber put the number two Cadillac in the third podium position, with team-mate Sebastien Bourdais managing a slight issue in his final stint to put the sister car in fourth.

A transmission issue meant Porsche Penske driver Michael Christensen fell from fifth to ninth in the final hour, following a lengthy stay in the pits, and so Ferrari’s Antonio Fuoco rounded out the top five.

Both Glickenhaus cars made it to the finish in sixth and seventh, despite Franck Mailleux crashing in his final stint in the seventh-placed car, and Christensen’s woes lifted Peugeot’s number 93 car back up to eighth after it had dropped out of the battle for fifth with fluid leakage a few hours before.

Finishing on the same lap as Christensen and making the top ten overall was LMP2 class winner Fabio Scherer, who with an injured foot put in a remarkable job through the race for Inter Europol Competition and got the privilege of driving the final stint.

Final results after 24 hours

Pos No. Class Team Car Drivers Laps
1 51 Hypercar (H) Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio Giovinazzi 342
2 8 Hypercar (H) Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa 342
3 2 Hypercar (H) Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard Westbrook 341
4 3 Hypercar (H) Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R Sebastien Bourdais/Renger Van Der Zande/Scott Dixon 340
5 50 Hypercar (H) Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P Antonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas Nielsen 337
6 708 Hypercar Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus 007 Romain Dumas/Olivier Pla/Ryan Briscoe 335
7 709 Hypercar Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus 007 Franck Mailleux/Nathanael Berthon/Esteban Gutierrez 333
8 93 Hypercar (H) Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8 Paul di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Eric Vergne 330
9 5 Hypercar (H) Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frederic Makowiecki 329
10 34 LMP2 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 – Gibson Jakub Smiechowski/Albert Costa/Fabio Scherer 328
11 41 LMP2 Team WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson Rui Andrade/Louis Deletraz/Robert Kubica 328
12 30 LMP2 Duqueine Team Oreca 07 – Gibson Neel Jani/Rene Binder/Nicolas Pino 327
13 36 LMP2 Alpine Elf Team Oreca 07 – Gibson Matthieu Vaxiviere/Charles Milesi/Julienal Canal 327
14 31 LMP2 Team WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson Sean Gelael/Ferdinand Habsburg/Robin Frijns 327
15 48 LMP2 Idec Sport Oreca 07 – Gibson Paul Lafargue/Paul Loup Chatin/Laurents Horr 327
16 10 LMP2 Vector Sport Oreca 07 – Gibson Ryan Cullen/Gabriel Aubry/Matthias Kaiser 325
17 311 Hypercar (H) Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R Luis Felipe Derani/Alexander Sims/Jack Aitken 324
18 23 LMP2 United Autosports Oreca 07 – Gibson Joshua Pierson/Tom Blomqvist/Oliver Jarvis 323
19 35 LMP2 Alpine Elf Team Oreca 07 – Gibson Andre Negrão/Olli Caldwell/Memo Rojas 322
20 45 LMP2 Pro/Am Algarve Pro Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson George Kurtz/James Allen/Colin Braun 322
21 22 LMP2 United Autosports Oreca 07 – Gibson Philip Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque/Frederick Lubin 321
22 6 Hypercar (H) Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 Kevin Estre/Andre Lotterer/Laurens Vanthoor 320
23 37 LMP2 Pro/Am Cool Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Nicolas Lapierre/Alexandre Coigny/Malthe Jakobsen 317
24 28 LMP2 JOTA Oreca 07 – Gibson David Heinemeier Hansson/Oliver Rasmussen/Pietro Fittipaldi 316
25 65 LMP2 Panis Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Manuel Maldonado/Tijmen van der Helm/Job van Uitert 316
26 33 LMGTE Am Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R Nicky Catsburg/Ben Keating/Nicolas Varrone 313
27 94 Hypercar (H) Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8 Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico Mueller 312
28 25 LMGTE Am ORT by TF Aston Martin Vantage AMR Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Dinan/Charlie Eastwood 312
29 86 LMGTE Am GR Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 Michael Wainwright/Benjamin Barker/Riccardo Pera 312
30 85 LMGTE Am Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey 312
31 54 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Davide Rigon 312
32 43 LMP2 Pro/Am DKR Engineering Oreca 07 – Gibson Tom Van Rompuy/Ugo de Wilde/Maxime Martin 311
33 98 LMGTE Am Northwest AMR Aston Martin Vantage AMR Ian James/Daniel Mancinelli/Alex Riberas 310
34 9 LMP2 Prema Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Bent Viscaal/Juan Manuel Correa/Filip Ugran 310
35 56 LMGTE Am Project 1 – AO Porsche 911 RSR-19 PJ Hyett/Gunnar Jeannette/Matteo Cairoli 309
36 100 LMGTE Am Walkenhorst Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Chandler Hull/Andrew Haryanto/Jeffrey Segal 307
37 39 LMP2 Pro/Am Graff Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Roberto Lacorte/Giedo van der Garde/Patrick Pilet 303
38 74 LMGTE Am Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Kei Cozzolino/Yorikatsu Tsujiko/Naoki Yokomizo 303
39 24 CDNT Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Jimmie Johnson/Mike Rockenfeller/Jenson Button 285
40 38 Hypercar (H) Hertz Team JOTA Porsche 963 Antonio Felix Da Costa/Will Stevens/Yifei Ye 244
41 57 LMGTE Am Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Takeshi Kimura/Scott Huffaker/Daniel Serra 254
42 911 LMGTE Am Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19 Michael Fassbender/Martin Rump/Richard Lietz 246
43 80 LMP2 Pro/Am AF Corse Oreca 07 – Gibson Francois Perrodo/Ben Barnicoat/Norman Nato 183
44 88 LMGTE Am Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19 Harry Tincknell/Donald Yount/Jonas Ried 170
45 4 Hypercar Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 680 Tom Dillmann/Esteban Guerrieri/Tristan Vautier 165
46 777 LMGTE Am D’Station Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR Satoshi Hoshino/Casper Stevenson/Tomonobu Fujii 163
47 47 LMP2 Cool Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Reshad de Gerus/Vladislav Lomko/Simon Pagenaud 158
48 77 LMGTE Am Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 Christian Ried/Mikkel Pedersen/Julien Andlauer 118
49 32 LMP2 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 – Gibson Mark Kvamme/Jan Magnussen/Anders Fjordbach 117
50 63 LMP2 Prema Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Doriane Pin/Daniil Kvyat/Mirko Bortolotti 113
51 7 Hypercar (H) Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez 103
52 66 LMGTE Am JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Thomas Neubauer/Louis Prette/Giacomo Petrobelli 89
53 923 LMP2 Pro/Am Racing Team Turkey Oreca 07 – Gibson Salih Yoluc/Tom Gamble/Dries Vanthoor 87
54 75 Hypercar (H) Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 Felipe Nasr/Mathieu Jaminet/Nicholas Tandy 84
55 72 LMGTE Am TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR Arnold Robin/Maxime Robin/Valentin Hasse-Clot 58
56 83 LMGTE Am Richard Mille AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Luis Perez Companc/Alessio Rovera/Lilou Wadoux 33
57 16 LMGTE Am Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19 Ryan Hardwick/Zacharie Robichon/Jan Heylen 28
58 60 LMGTE Am Iron Lynx Porsche 911 RSR-19 Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Alessio Picariello 28
59 55 LMGTE Am GMB Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR Gustav Dahlmann Birch/Marco Sorensen/Jens Reno Moller 21
60 21 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Simon Mann/Julien Piguet/Ulysse de Pauw 21
61 13 LMP2 Pro/Am Tower Motorsports Oreca 07 – Gibson Steven Thomas/Ricky Taylor/Rene Rast 19
62 14 LMP2 Pro/Am Nielsen Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Rodrigo Sales/Mathias Beche/Ben Hanley 18

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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26 comments on “Ferrari clinch historic victory on return to Le Mans after Toyota duel”

  1. Excellent race in all categories once the race director belatedly caught on to the new safety car procedure being a total farce. That they fixed the barriers this morning under a local slow zone shows that remains a perfectly viable option.

    The Corvette run in GTE was pretty impressive, even if they were the favourites pre-race. Shame the Dames missed out on the podium. I’m guessing some teams are going to question Keating being a bronze driver after this.

    Europol did great considering the competition; to beat all those outfits at Le Mans in particular is pretty impressive. Well done to the Polish team!

    Hypercar was good fun and exciting until the Toyota had that awkward brush with the wall; they were basically doing the same laptimes for what seemed like a couple of hours. Very impressed by Cadillac, and Porsche was let down by some driver errors. Can’t see the like of Vanwall and Glickenhaus sticking around much longer, especially with more manufacturers joining the class. Fantastic result for Ferrari; the Pier Guidi/Calado duo was solid as expected, and Giovinazzi did very well considering his sometimes erratic races in F1.

    1. The Polish live broadcast had the Europol team boss on several times during the race, and he talked about the black clouds over the team’s future. With the removal of the LMP2 class for next year (from the WEC championship), privateer teams like them who are not able to buy a hypercar – nor interested in downgrading to GT3 – have found themselves at a serious crossrodes.

      1. Yeah, that makes sense. I imagine they’ll find it harder to attract similar financial backing to fund a LMP2 season if they participate in the ELMS rather than the WEC.

        It’ll be interesting to see how quick the GT3 cars end up being. The LMP2 cars slotted in quite nicely between the LMP1 and GTE, but with LMH being a bit slower it’s becoming a bit crowded around that 3:30-3:45ish laptime.

    2. MichaelN,
      Indeed, a historic result for Ferrari. The amount of exposure the Scuderia brings to any motorsport category is second to none. In terms of raw pace, I thought the #50 with Fuoco was the faster car but the trio Calado/Pier Guidi and Gio was more consistent. Calado made a blistering night stint though when the Peugeot was in the lead before it crashed.

  2. Such a shame Hirakawa made the mistake. It was a very exciting race up until that point. But great to see the Prancing Horse back on the top step at Le Mans again after such a long absence.

    Happy that the top series of Le Mans is back too! Can’t wait til next year with BMW and Lamborghini joining the field too.

    1. I think the team made a mistake to put him behind the wheel. They should have kept Hartley for another stint or put Buemi on the wheel. Use experienced drivers to do the critical job. The guy not only crashed, but almost lost the car going back to the pits. Almost seemed like a desperate Tsunoda behind the wheel. Very weak mind.

      1. Racist, reported

  3. Mercedes or Red Bull can try win that (for the 3rd or 1st time)

    1. Would be nice to have a Newey car competing in the hypercar class. What a chance Honda has missed. Again.

  4. Proesterchen_nli
    11th June 2023, 15:23

    Close race, which I guess is better than the alternative.

    Congrats to everyone making it to the finish line! 👍

  5. Great achievement & additionally, Gio finally won something again.

  6. Congratulations to Ferrari! Coming back after 50 years and win on 1st attempt goes well above and beyond! Us Ferrari fans most certainly needed that!
    As did italians after the triple defeat in uefa competitions.

  7. Congrats to Ferrari. Impressive to come back and smash it out of the park on the first attempt.

    I tuned in last night to see how Toyota’s #7 was doing, a minute behind the leaders at that point but Kobayashi was reeling in the leaders and then before I know it there was a crash and he was retiring the car, I’m still not sure exactly what happened. Considering it’s a 24hr race and I watched maybe 30 minutes I think I must possess massive bad luck to the drivers I support :(.

    1. An LMP2 and GTE Ferrari smashed into Kobayashi during the slow zone period. Kobayashi was avoiding going ahead of the LMP2 that had strangely stopped, to avoid a penalty.

      1. Yellow Baron
        11th June 2023, 20:09

        Ahh, I missed it and didn’t know the lmp2 had done so? Was it at a complete stop or just must slowed than the slow zone limit. Shame the caution from Kamui caught him out, but surely if he was at the slow zone speed limit he wouldn’t have had any issues.

        1. Kamui said himself he wasn’t sure why the LMP2 stopped but had to take action to avoid getting ahead and picking up a penalty. The other LMP2 behind failed to slow down

  8. Great win. It was surprisingly entertaining race almost to the end.

  9. American interest is strong as shown by the two Gannasi Cadillac’s finishing 3rd and 4th. And that ugly duckling Camaro. Got the job done to reach the finish. Not bad for a crate engine V8. Maybe a stronger gearbox and some lessons from Supercars in changing brake pads. Crowd loved the Camaro.

    1. Yellow Baron
      11th June 2023, 23:41

      It’s was pretty fast too. I believe it was ahead if he gte’s before it went in the garage to get fixed. Would be fascinating to watch a feild of them racing in NASCAR on road courses. Streets even too with the Chicago street track they be running in a few weeks

  10. I must have watched 10 or 11 hours of the race this weekend and it was genuinely great, racing all thrrou8gh the field, drama and interesting narratives everywhere. A real shot in the arm for a motorsport fan after the last 10 years of F1 being so predictable. I even got my soon to be 7 year old son interested in the race which is great, he’s well on his way to being a motorsport fan now. He was happy his “Horses” won because he doesn’t like them losing to the Bulls in F1… :)

  11. Well done to tge Polish team Europol for winning the lmp2 class, historic day, and Kubica 2nd. A shame for Kubica who does really well at this track, this year 2nd, last year 3rd, and tge year before car failure on the final lap while leading.

    1. I sigh every time I think of what could have been with Kubica. Was my favorite driver in F1 before he essentially lost an arm and was at the brink of death.

      Reply moderated
  12. The duel between Toyota #8 and Ferrari #51 was close until 1-2 hours when #8 binned it. Had Hirikawa not crashed, there was a good chance of a Toyota-Ferrari sprint till the last lap as the #51 had to go through power recycle on their last stop. Before the crash, the gap was only 16 secs.

    Great way to celebrate the centenary Le Mans. Endurance racing is back in its golden era and can’t wait for next year.

    1. Golden era never had BoP, and certainly never had last minute BoP changes that hobbled a team like Toyota. I can’t believe WEC get away with this kind of stuff

      1. Yeah they **** but two teams who got extra weight were 1st and 2nd. Which is a good and bad thing. WEC can say they didn’t matter as they won but they didn’t give them enough BOP as they won

        Reply moderated
      2. Ferrari was also fitted with extra weight. The narrative that Toyota was slowed down is not the full story. Ferrari already had competitive pace at Spa, but they didn’t have a good race.

        The BoP changes were inevitable, and saying there wouldn’t be any was clearly a mistake. But the results were excellent. Porsche, Cadillac, Ferrari, Toyota and even Peugeot all led the race on merit at various stages. Toyota could absolutely have won if they had executed a better race, like they have before.

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