24 Heures du Mans ... 11-12 June 2022


 

Le Mans, 11-12 June, 2022

The 90th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour Race took place over the weekend of 11-12 June, under almost perfect weather conditions, with ambient temperatures in the mid twenties. This was great for the race fans, after many having had to forsake the event for the past two years due to Covid restrictions, with over 244,000 attendees descending on the Circuit de La Sarthe over the course of the weekend. Although the 24 Hour Race is the main attraction, it is the culmination of a week of activities, not only at the circuit, but in both the town of Le Mans, where scrutineering and the driver’s parade takes place, and in the surrounding district. 

The entry comprised of 62 cars, five in the Hypercar class, 27 in the LMP2 class, seven in the LMGTE Pro class and 23 in the LMGTE Am class. The Hypercar class comprised of a pair each of Toyota GR010-Hybbrids and Glickehaus 007LMP1s, with a single Alpine A480. All but one of the cars in the LMP2 class were Oreca 07-Gibsons, the outsider being the #27 Ligier JSP217 entered by CD Sport, whilst the LMGTE Pro class comprised of a pair each of CorvetteC8.Rs and Porsche 911 RSR-19s, with a trio of Ferrari 488 GTE EVOs. In the LMGTE Am class the largest contingent was Ferrari, with a dozen 488 GTE EVOs in the entry list, whilst the remainder of the class comprised of eight Porsche 911 RSR-19s and three Aston Martin Vantage AMRs. As an aside, all the cars in this year’s race were running on 100% sustainable fuel, namely Total Excellium Racing 100 biofuel, which is said to reduce carbon emissions by 65%.

Following the qualifying practice sessions there was a 30 minute long hyperpole shoot-out on the Thursday evening. In this the cars with the top six times in each class vied for the class pole position, in the case of the hypercars there were only five entries so they all had a chance to claim the overall pole position. The overall pole position was claimed by Brendon Hartley in the #8 Toyota GR010-Hybrid with a lap in 3mins 24.408secs, just 0.42sec quicker than the sister #8 example. In the LMP2 class it was the #31 WRT entered Oreca 07-Gibson that claimed the honours, whilst the pair of works Corvette C8.Rs locked out the LMGTE Pro front row in the order #64 driven by Nick Tandy ahead of #63 driven by Antonio Garcia. A pair of Ferrari 488 GTE EVOs claimed the LMGTE Am front row, with the #61 AF Corse entry just ahead of the #57 Kessel Racing example. The latter result was somewhat of a surprise, as the Ferrari teams felt that they had an unfair BoP (Balance of Performance) deficit, resulting in them being some 16+kph slower on the many long straights that form part of this track. This was evident in the LMGTE Pro class, where the quickest Ferrari lap time was nearly 2secs slower than that of the pole sitting Corvette.

 

Qualifying Results

Hypercar Class & Overall

1st - #8, Toyota GR010-Hybrid, S.Buemi/B. Hartley/R. Hirakawa, Toyota Gazoo Racing
2nd - #7, Toyota GR010-Hybrid, M. Conway/K. Kobayashi/J.M. Lopez, Toyota Gazoo Racing
3rd - #36, Alpine A480-Gibson, N. Lapierre/A. Negrao/M. Vaxiviere, Alpine Elf Team

LMP2 Class

1st - #31, Oreca 07-Gibson, R. Rast/S. Galeal/R. Frijns, Team WRT
2nd - #41, Oreca 07-Gibson, R. Andrade/F. Habsburg-Lothringen/N. Nato, Real Team by WRT
3rd - #22, Oreca 07-Gibson, P. Hanson/F. Albuquerque/W. Owen, United Autosports USA

LMGTE Pro Class

1st - #64, Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, N. Tandy/T. Milner/A. Sims, Corvette Racing
2nd - #63, Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, A. Garcia/J. Taylor/N. Catsburg, Corvette Racing
3rd - #91, Porsche 911 RSR-19, G. Bruni/R. Lietz/F. Makowiecki, Porsche GT Team

LMGTE Am Class

1st - #61, Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, V. Abril/L. Prete/C. Grunewald, AF Corse
2nd - #57, Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, M. Jensen/T. Kimura/F. Schandorff, Kessel Racing
3rd - #77, Porsche 911 RSR-19, H. Tincknell/C. Ried/S. Priaulx, Dempsey-Proton Racing

Prior to the pre-start build-up on the pit straight, there was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Matra Le Mans race win, with two examples being driven on a lap of honour by two French endurance racing legends, Gérard Larrousse and Henri Pescarolo. In fact Henri Pescarolo shared the winning Matra in the 1972 race with Graham Hill, and then again in the 1973 edition with Gérard Larrousse, so both drivers were perfect for the anniversary celebration. Gérard Larrousse was also the Grand Marshal for this year’s race. This celebration of national pride was followed by a demonstration run of the H24 hydrogen-electric powered prototype, which had also run in the preceding Road to Le Mans races, after which the pre-race grid walk took place.

The start of the formation lap for the race was signalled by a flypast of the Patrouille de France air display team, with nationalistic blue, white and red smoke trails pluming in their wake. The field then followed the safety car for the formation lap, before being released by the starter, who this year was Patrick Pouyanné, the Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, the official fuel supplier for the race. It only took a few hundred metres before the first incident occurred, when there was contact between the class pole sitting #31 LMP2 car and the #22 United Autosports USA example, which ended with the latter beached in the gravel trap with a damaged nose section. It was eventually extricated and made its way back to the pits for repairs, whilst despite the considerable time lost, it made it to the chequered flag 14th overall and 10th in class. The #31 car was adjudged to have been the perpetrator of the incident and was given a 60secs time penalty. It fought back from this and was in contention for a class podium until it crashed out late on the Sunday morning. The LMP2 class win eventually going to the Jota entered #38 Oreca 07-Gibson driven by Gonzalez/Da Costa/Stevens, with the Prema Orlen Team entered #9 example of Kubica/Deletraz/Colombo taking 2nd in class, finishing on the same lap, whilst Jota made it a double podium finish, with their #28 car of Rasmussen/Jones/Aberdein claiming 3rd place. 

In the LMGTE Pro class the pair of Corvettes were in strong contention for victory in the early stages, leading the class comfortably until the #63 example had rear suspension problems, which were resolved but dropped it down the order. The #64 example by contrast was running like a train, and was leading the class by over a minute at three quarter distance when it was hit by the #83 LMP2 Oreca 07-Gibson, which speared it into the barriers and out of the race, fortunately without injury to the driver, Alexander Sims. This was the end of the Corvette challenge, as the #63 car had been retired shortly before this incident with unspecified mechanical damage, possibly due to the earlier rear suspension problem. This left the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of Pier Guidi/Calado/Serra in the class lead, but it was being hauled in rapidly by the #91 Porsche of Bruni/Lietz/Makowiecki, which eventually overtook it and went on to take the class win. The #51 Ferrari took the runner-up spot, with the sister #52 car of Molina/Fuoco/Rigon claiming the final podium place, after dropping back due to a puncture earlier in the race. The #92 Porsche of Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor had also been a class leader, but was also the victim of a puncture, which dropped it to 4th place at the chequered flag. 

The LMGTE Am class was won by the #33 TF Sport entered Aston Martin Vantage AMR driven by Keating/ Chaves/Sorensen, after the # 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche of MacNeill/Andlauer/Merrill had an off track excursion early on the Sunday morning, but still managed to claim 2nd overall. It was a good day for Aston Martin as the #98 example driven by Dalla Lana/Pittard/Thiim finished 3rd, the Ferrari challenge having evaporated during the course of the race, with the highest placed finisher being the #54 AF Corse entry of Flohr/Castellacci/Cassidy, which finished 6th in class. The class pole sitting #61 Ferrari of Abril/Prete/Grunewald could only turn this into a 10th in class finish.

At the head of the field it was the pair of Toyotas that made the running, swapping places for the lead as the pit stops cycled through, until the #7 example suffered a problem with the front hybrid system, necessitating a stop for repairs, which left the #8 car driven by Buemi/Hartley/Hirakawa with a clear advantage that it held to the chequered flag. The #7 Toyota of Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez was still able to take 2nd place on the same lap as the sister car, and five laps clear of the #709 Glickenhaus 007 LMP1 driven by Briscoe/Westbrook/Mailleux. The sister #708 Glickenhaus  of Pla/Dumas/Derani was a further 5 laps in arrears in 4th place overall, whilst the only other hypercar runner, the Alpine A480 of Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxivierre finished well down the order in 23rd place overall after a variety of issues including an accident and clutch problems.

Surprisingly, through the course of the twenty four hours there was only one safety car period, whilst despite quite high ambient and track temperatures during the day, together with a number of fortunately mainly minor incidents, the finishing rate was very high with 53 classified finishers from the 62 starters.

Race Result

Hypercar Class & Overall

1st - #8, Toyota GR010-Hybrid, S.Buemi/B. Hartley/R. Hirakawa, Toyota Gazoo Racing
2nd - #7, Toyota GR010-Hybrid, M. Conway/K. Kobayashi/J.M. Lopez, Toyota Gazoo Racing
3rd - #709, Glickenhaus 007 LMH, R. Briscoe/R. Westbrook/P. Mailleux, Glickenhaus Racing

LMP2 Class

1st - #38, Oreca 07-Gibson, R. Gonzalez/A.F. Da Costa/W. Stevens, Jota
2nd - #9, Oreca 07-Gibson, R. Kubica/L. Deletraz/L. Colombo, Prema Orlen Team
3rd - #28, Oreca 07-Gibson, O. Rasmussen/E. Jones/J. Aberdein

LMGTE Pro Class

1st - #91, Porsche 911 RSR-19, G. Bruni/R. Lietz/F. Makowiecki, Porsche GT Team
2nd - #51, Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, A. Pier Guidi/J. Calado/D. Serra, AF Corse
3rd - #52, Ferrari 488 GTE EVO, M. Molina/A. Fuoco/D. Rigon, AF Corse

LMGTE Am Class

1st - #33, Aston Martin Vantage AMR, B. Keating/H. Chaves/M. Sorensen, TF Sport
2nd - #79, Porsche 911 RSR-19, C. Macneil/J. Andlauer/T. Merrill, Weathertech Racing
3rd - #98, Aston Martin AMR, P. Dalla Lana/D. Pittard/N. Thiim, Northwest AMR

 

 

 

Race #

Model

Chassis #

Team

Drivers

Position

Class LMGTE Pro

O/A

Cl

51

488 GTE EVO

3876

AF Corse

A. Pier Guidi /
J. Calado /
D. Serra

29th

2nd

52

488 GTE EVO

3874

AF Corse

M. Molina /
A. Fuoco /
D. Rigon

30th

3rd

74

488 GTE EVO

3878

Riley Motorsports

F. Fraga /
S. Bird /
S. Van Gisbergen

32nd

5th

 

Class LMGTE Am

 

 

54

488 GTE EVO

3822

AF Corse

T. Flohr /
F. Castellacci /
N. Cassidy

39th

6th

85

488 GTE EVO

3858

Iron Dames

R. Frey /
M. Gatting /
S. Bovy

40th

7th

21

488 GTE EVO

3856

AF Corse

S. Mann /
C. Ulrich /
T. Vilander

41st

8th

61

488 GTE EVO

3866

AF Corse

L. Prete /
C. Grunewald /
V. Abril

42nd

9th

55

488 GTE EVO

3854

Spirit of Race

D. Cameron /
M. Griffin /
D. Perel

43rd

10th

57

488 GTE EVO

3864

Kessel Racing

T. Kimura /
F. Schandorff /
M. Jensen

45th

12th

80

488 GTE EVO

3862

Iron Lynx

M. Cressoni /
G. Fisichella /
R. Heistand

46th

13th

66

488 GTE EVO

4404

JMW Motorsport

R. Van der Zende /
M. Kvamme /
J. Hart

50th

15th

75

488 GTE EVO

3872

Iron Lynx

P. Ehret /
C. Hook /
N. Varrone

53rd

17th

60

488 GTE EVO

3860

Iron Lynx

C. Schiavoni /
A. Balzan /
R. Giammaria

54th
NR

18th

59

488 GTE EVO

3836

Inception Racing

A. West /
C. Ledogar /
M. Klein

DNF

 

71

488 GTE EVO

3870

Spirit of Race

F. Dezoteux /
P. Ragues /
G. Aubry

DNF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keith Bluemel