The light of day has returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe in France with the final third of the 84th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans well underway.
A messy 17th hour of the race was kicked off with a heavy crash for Tommy Milner near Turn 2 in Corvette Racing’s No. 64 car, but the morning hours of the race have since returned to the race’s steady rhythm.
After Toyota Gazoo Racing dominated a long period of the race with its No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, the sister No. 5 car has made an appearance at the front.
During the 17th hour, the No. 5 car took over the overall lead as the Toyota pair continue their impressive outing.
Sébastien Buemi leads the race in the No. 5 ahead of Mike Conway at the controls of the No. 6, with Porsche Team’s No. 2 machine remaining close. Marc Lieb runs 45 seconds behind the Toyotas in the lone car that has been able to put up a fight against the Japanese manufacturer.
At 2 and 12 laps behind, Audi Sport Team Joest’s Nos. 8 and 7 Audi R18s run fourth and fifth overall.
Gustavo Menezes has taken over in the class-leading No. 36 Alpine A460 Nissan of Signatech Alpine as the car continues on without challenge.
The No. 26 Oreca 05 of G-Drive Racing, having started from the class pole, runs second with René Rast currently driving the car.
One of SMP Racing’s BR01 cars, the No. 37, worked its way up through the running order in the morning, reaching third in LMP2 with Victor Shaytar driving.
Shaytar is being chased very closely by Jonny Kane in Strakka Racing’s No. 42 Gibson 015S.
Risi Competizione continues to stifle the quartet of Chip Ganassi Racing-entered Ford GTs and the remainder of the GTE-Pro class in dominating fashion.
Matteo Malucelli has returned to the wheel of the team’s No. 82 Ferrari 488 GTE and maintains a comfortable lead over the second-placed No. 68 Ford GT, driven by Dirk Müller.
Richard Westbrook runs third in the No. 69 Ford GT ahead of Aston Martin Racing’s No. 95 and the third of the four Ford GTs, the No. 66 of Stefan Mücke.
After the aforementioned crash for Milner in the No. 64, the remaining No. 63 Corvette C7.R runs seventh in GTE-Pro and 27th overall at the hands of Ricky Taylor.
The No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia of Scuderia Corsa, currently driven by Bill Sweedler, continues to lead in GTE-Am.
The running order in the class has remained almost entirely the same through the night hours and into the morning, with Khaled Al Qubaisi wheeling the Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR around the Circuit de la Sarthe in second and AF Corse’s No. 83 Ferrari in third.
Toyota’s continued dominance at the front could bring Japan its first overall win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since Mazda’s 787B won in 1991, while Ferrari continues to lead in both LMGTE divisions.