The 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans held on June 15-16, 2019 is one of the most prestigious endurance race in the world and surely a once-in-a-lifetime must-do experience for any petrolhead The atmosphere is something you won’t find easily anywhere else in the world. In fact, more than a race, it’s a big celebration of motoring and speed where you will find parents, kids, couples, people coming from different backgrounds, united.
After testing a week before, the main action started on the 9th of June, it was the beginning of a busy week. Two days of administrative checking and scrutineering took place in the center of Le Mans which was a great opportunity for spectators to see the cars up close and in a different environment. Later in the week, on Friday, people got to see the drivers during La Grande Parade Des Pilotes, also in the center of the town.
On Wednesday, the first action on track took place with the free practice session and the first qualifying session. Already, a Toyota was in front, the #7. The day after, the last two qualifying sessions was held. The two Toyota cars were in front again for Qualifying 2, still, the SMP #17 got the fastest time in Qualifying 3. Overall, the Toyota Gazoo Racing was definitely ahead from day one, even if SMP Racing and Rebellion showed good pace. The #7 qualified in front of the #8, followed by the SMP #17 and the Rebellion #3. In LM P2, Graff Racing got the pole but a penalty too as driver Vincent Capillaire didn’t stop at the scrutineering light for weighing in the third qualifying session, TDS Racing inherited the pole. Regarding the GTs, the Aston Martin #95 got the pole in the PRO class, the Porsche 911 RSR #88 got it in the AM category.
On Saturday, at 3pm, the race was on !
During 24 hours, 61 cars were racing on the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans with its length of 13.629 km, an exhausting race without a lot of sleep for the 183 drivers sharing the wheel with their teammates.
The Toyota #7 driven by Conway, Kobayashi and López which led the pack nearly all race long got a tire pressure sensor issue in the last hour. The system did indicate a puncture in the front-right tire so López went to the pits to change it, though, going back on track, the sensor kept indicating the same puncture. López went in the pits again to change the four tires, it was actually a rear-left tire puncture. Loosing a lot of time, the #8 took the lead. The SMP #11 driven by Petrov, Aleshin and Vandoorne took the third place behind the Toyota #7.
In LM P2, Alpine won in front of the Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 and the TDS #28. Just like Toyota, the French manufacturer Alpine won at Le Mans for the second time in a row. On the LM GTE PRO side, the Ferrari AF Corse #51 won in front of two Porsche, the #91 and the #93. In the LM GTE AM category, Keating Motorsports won with its Ford GT #85 but got disqualified after the post-race scrutineering due to its fuel tank found oversized. In the end, the Porsche #56 of the Team Project 1 won, followed by the JMW Motorsport Ferrari #84.
After this Super Finale which ended the 2018-2019 WEC Super Season, Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima became world champions. André Negrāo, Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet won the drivers and team trophies in LM P2. Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen took the drivers title in LM GTE PRO, Team Project 1 won the championship trophy in LM GTE AM.