It has been 50 years since Ferrari has arrived at the Circuit de la Sarthe and competed for overall victory. Despite its absence, the Italian automaker has finally reclaimed the top step of the podium with car #51 narrowly defeating the Toyota GR #8 car.
Many more challengers for the overall Le Mans Hypercar category in 2023 means Toyota GR had their work cut out for them to retain their title. In 2022 only two manufacturers, Toyota GR and Glickenhaus, competed for overall victory.
The new year with newly implemented regulations has fostered more healthy competition in the top flight of the prestigious event. A total of 16 entries now accompany Toyota GR and Glickenhaus, including Ferrari, Cadillac, Peugeot and Porsche.
After a nailbiting period at the Circuit de la Sarthe, it was the #51 Ferrari 499P car of Antonio Giovinazzi, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado that emerged victorious over the #8 Toyota GR010-Hybrid of Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryō Hirakawa. Being impressively matched in performance, both contenders provided some nailbiting moments for spectators and their respective teams.
With less than 2 hours to go, being over a dozen of seconds behind the Prancing Horse, Hirakawa suffered a spin towards the Porsche curves which relegated the young Japanese driver to over 3 minutes behind the leader – they would not fight against the Prancing Horse until the chequered flag fell at 4 PM.
Following the race leader and runner-up was a duo of Cadillacs that despite their consistency, seem to have been slightly shy of the performance to keep up with the front runners. The American brutes were chased by the sister car of the victorious Ferrari, followed by Porsche Penske. Further down, a duo of Glickenhaus led the duo of wingless Peugeots.
Formula 1, take a note out of their book!
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