Six hours into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Robert Shwartzman and Yifei Ye of the #83 AF Corse team lead the race as almost every Asian driver in the field completed their first outings in their entries, with some going onto a second. Asian Motorsport reviews the action so far. 

By Seb Tirado 

Robert Kubica put it in a mighty effort in his first outing, taking the #83 499P to a solid race lead. Shwartzman took over from Kubica just over 2 hours into the race on Lap 37. He continued to keep the pace in the car until Lap 72 when he came in to swap with teammate Ye. The #83 was passed by Brendon Hartley in the #8 Toyota during the swap and would emerge back out in 4th, just behind Jóse Maria López in the #7 Toyota. The Chinese driver would soon after take the lead again as López pitted for tyres. 

Whilst Kubica was still in the car, Ritomo Miyata and Kamui Kobayashi would go out for their first outings in the #7 Toyota and #37 Cool Racing on Laps 28 and 29 respectively, with Kobayashi moving his GR010 Hybrid up the field during his 34-lap long stint. Miyata’s stint would last 37 laps, moving his LMP2 close to the class lead. Jack Aitken would also debut on Lap 29, his 35-lap stint moving the #311 Cadillac into the top 10. Carl Bennett made his first outing on Lap 73 after swapping with Antonio Serravalle, as would Ryō Hirakawa with Hartley in the #8 Toyota on Lap 88.

In LMGT3, Hiroshi Hamaguchi would have a comparatively short 17-lap stint in the #95 United Autosports McLaren from Lap 19 and Ahmad Al Harthy would start his 32-lap stint on Lap 22 in the #46 Team WRT, starting the BMW’s move towards the class lead. Hiroshi Koizumi would finish his first stint on Lap 30 in the #82 TF Sport Corvette, with Salih Yoluç starting his own first stint a lap later in the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari as Satoshi Hoshino finished his 20-lap stint in the #777 D’Station Racing Aston Martin.

On Lap 43, Takeshi Kimura had his first outing in the #87 Akkodis ASP Team Lexus, in which he drove for 32 laps as the team sought to improve their mid-pack position. Hoshino would go back into the rear-running #777 on Lap 52 and Al Harthy would relinquish the #46 to Valentino Rossi on Lap 54 having brought Team WRT even closer to the LMGT3 lead. Hamaguchi would go out for his second stint in the #95 on Lap 66, with Koizumi also doing so on Lap 71 in the #82 as Hoshino finished his 18-lap stint. Sean Gelael is yet to appear in the #31 Team WRT.

As the sun finished setting, Ye came in on Lap 95 to give the race-leading #83 back to Kubica as the rain started to fall on the Circuit de la Sarthe. 

Hypercar & LMP2

  • #83 AF Corse P1
  • #8 Toyota P4
  • #7 Toyota P9
  • #311 Cadillac P10
  • #11 Isotta Fraschini P19
  • #37 Cool Racing P21 (P1 LMP2)

LMGT3

  • #46 Team WRT P37 (P2 LMGT3)
  • #66 JMW Motorsport P40 (P4)
  • #87 Akkodis ASP Team P43 (P7)
  • #95 United Autosports P48 (P12)
  • #31 Team WRT P49 (P13)
  • #82 TF Sport P56 (P20)
  • #777 D’Station Racing P57 (P21)

Header image credit: Javier Jimenez / DPPI

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