Toyota Gazoo Racing claimed top spot in the final moments of Free Practice 1 for the 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans, while Corvette Racing finished first and second in the GTE category at the end of the three-hour session.
Fast lap times are pretty low on the priority list for all the teams in this session, as they focus on trying out a race simulation. Someone had to set the fastest time of the day in each class, and for most of FP1, that honor went to No. 709 Glickenhaus SCG 007 LMH from Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, and Franck Mailleux.
Mailleux recorded a session-leading lap of 3m29,917s in the first hour, replacing the 3m30.102s lap time previously set by Pipo Derani at Glickenhaus No. 708 which he shared with Olivier Pla and Romain Dumas. After exiting the Slow Zone in the closing minutes of the session, Brendon Hartley was at No. The 8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID had time for one final push round, and the two-time overall winner and two-time WEC premier class champion put himself at the top of the timesheets with a lap of 3m29,441s in the car he shared with Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.
On the checkered flag, it is the Toyota No. 8 ahead of two SCG 007s in second and third positions. Toyota GR010 Hybrid No. 7 of the defending race winners Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez, and driver/manager Kamui Kobayashi finished fifth on the overall leaderboard and fourth in Hypercar. And Team Elf Alpine No. 36 A480 Gibson was eighth overall, 2.6 seconds off Hartley’s best time.
In LMP2, the pacesetter is No. 23 United Autosport USA ORECA 07 Gibson from Alex Lynn, Oliver Jarvis and Joshua Pierson. Lynn’s fastest time of 3m30.238s was good enough for fourth overall, 0.2s ahead of No. 7 Toyotas.
Second in LMP2 is No. 38 JOTA ORECA of Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa and Will Stevens, ahead of No. 9 Prema Orlen Team ORECA of Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Lorenzo Colombo in third, followed by a pair of WRT Entries — ORECA WRT No. 31 from Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns and Rene Rast in fourth, and RealTeam No. 41 by WRT ORECA of Rui Andrade, Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato in fifth. Sixth in LMP2 and fastest in LMP2 Pro/Am is No. 13 TDS Racing x Vaillanta ORECA fronted by Mathias Beche, with Philippe Cimadomo and Tijmen van der Helm.
There are a few recorded incidents in LMP2, but nothing too serious. No. 35 Ultimate ORECA picked up an injury to the rear wing after Matthieu Lahaye crashed in the first hour, but was able to continue and finish the session. In the third hour, Team No. Rolf Ineichen’s 32 WRT ORECA exploded in the first Mulsanne chicane and got stuck in the gravel — this was after he was awarded a five-minute penalty for overreaching the track. The car was found and they were able to complete the session.
But when Ineichen left, ORECA Sports Vector No. 10 of Nico Mueller, Ryan Cullen and Sebastien Bourdais stopped at esses Tertre Rouge, issuing full yellow cards. Their session is over.
In the last 10 minutes, Steven Thomas at No. 45 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA exploded in the first section of the Ford Chicanes, hitting the tire guard and damaging the front left of the car. This effectively ended the rivalry in FP1. Algarve Pro Mechanic No. 45 now has the tough task of repairing the car in time for qualifying at 19:00 local time.
The GTE Pro procession was led by No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R from Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, in front of Corvette C8.R No. 64 from Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims. Garcia’s lap leading in his class was 3m53.250s at the end of the second hour, which only surpassed Milner’s time of 3m53.360s.
They were followed by two factory Porsche 911 RSRs; 91 from Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki ahead of 92 from Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor. No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo was fifth, ahead of the Ferrari 488 Riley Motorsports No. 74 in sixth. The Ferrari 488 GTE received a Balance of Performance adjustment that reduces rear wing angle, turbo boost pressure and fuel capacity this morning, affecting all of their Pro and Am teams.
Number 51 AF Corse Ferrari of reigning GTE Pro class champions Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra spent most of the session in the garage changing engines, but with 20 minutes remaining the new engine started, and Calado took the car off course.
At GTE Am, No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR from Cooper MacNeil, Julien Andlauer and Thomas Merrill took the lead thanks to 3m55,082 from their pro driver Andlauer. No. The 86 GR Racing Porsche of Michael Wainwright, Riccardo Pera and Benjamin Barker came in second, ahead of the No. TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR. 33 of Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen in third.
There’s a Slow Zone brought up in the first hour when the Porsche Race Dempsey-Proton No. 88 of Fred Poordad circled at the entrance to the Porsche Curves, but they were able to finish their training program once they returned to the garage. At the end of the session, Porsche Race Inception No. Brendan Iribe’s 56 had a similar incident when he was thrown in the same area as a push lap.