Toyota beats Ferrari by more than a lap to win second consecutive race

World Endurance Championship

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Toyota dominated the Six Hours of Portimao with the number eight car winning by over a lap from the number 50 Ferrari and the number six Penske Porsche.

After losing the lead at the start, Sebastien Buemi caught the sister number seven Toyota, taking the lead through the pits and never letting go to win more than a lap ahead of Ferrari. The number 50 Ferrari secured the 499P’s best finish in second, with Andre Lotterer surviving a late fuel scare in the number six Penske Porsche to finish third.

At the start, the pole winning number eight Toyota driven by Sebastien Buemi was immediately swamped on the run to turn one and was overtaken by its number seven team mate driven by Mike Conway around the outside into turn one. The number 51 Ferrari with James Calado behind the wheel then demoted Buemi down to third by also sweeping around into number eight Toyota to third.

After five minutes of racing, Buemi muscled his way passed the Ferrari into the kink of turn two, claiming the position under braking for turn three and restoring a Toyota one-two at the front, albeit with the number seven car holding an advantage of around five seconds out front. While Ferrari lost second place, they soon regained fourth with the number 50 car when Nicklas Nielsen passed the Penske Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor which had overtaken him during the start.

As Buemi began reeling in his team mate out front, the two Ferraris quickly fell away from the Toyotas behind. Calado vocally disputed his team’s request to move over and allow his team mate by, but it was not long before Nielsen took the position on the track, taking advantage of Calado being caught behind a GT car to out-drag his team mate into third on the exit of turn four.

After the first round of pit stops, the number eight Toyota found itself out in the lead ahead of its previously leading team mate. However, an hour and 15 minutes into the race, the second place number seven Toyota suddenly received a black-and-orange warning flag by race control due to a driveshaft data problem, forcing Conway to pit to change the driveshaft and falling over eight laps down to its leading team mate. This moved the two Ferraris into second and third, around half a minute behind the leading number eight Toyota.

As Jose Maria Lopez began the number seven car’s fight back through the field, Hirakawa took over the leading Toyota and gradually extended the number eight’s lead to sit at 45 seconds at the midrace stage. In the third placed number 51 Ferrari, Antonio Giovinazzi dropped back slightly from the sister Ferrari, later reporting a minor brake by wire problem with his car.

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The number 51 Ferrari was taken over by Alessandro Pier Guidi and dropped to seventh place behind the number five Penske Porsche, spending several laps behind until eventually getting past with just over two hours remaining.

Nearing the four hour mark, Hirakawa’s lead over the number 50 Ferrari had stretched to well over a minute, with Kevin Estre moving into third place in the number six Penske Porsche another half a minute behind. The top two cars both pitted with just over two hours remaining, with Brendon Hartley taking over the number eight Toyota for the final stint and Antonio Fuoco being installed in the Ferrari.

Michael Christensen reported power steering problems with the number five Penske Porsche, bringing the car into the pits where it was wheeled back into the garage. Then, the LMP2 leading number 23 United Autosports car was handed a five second time penalty for a pit lane infringement, putting its position under threat from Daniil Kvyat in the number 63 Prema.

After recovering from their driveshaft problem up to 22nd, Kamui Kobayashi was told to stop his number seven Toyota after losing power. He returned to the pitlane to perform a powercycle before rejoining the track soon after. With 80 minutes of the race remaining, Hartley had caught the back of the number 50 Ferrari in second place, putting it a lap down on the 175th lap.

Just before the five hour point, the race was interrupted for the first time as the Safety Car was deployed when Jacques Villeneuve suffered a front brake failure on his Vanwall hypercar, sending him spinning into the barriers. The Safety Car was deployed for almost ten minutes, with the race resuming with 53 minutes remaining. Hartley immediate pitted as the pit lane opened to fuel up to the end of the race, with the number 50 Ferrari following suit on the next lap.

With under 30 minutes remaining, the number 51 Ferrari began suffering braking issues and backed off the pace. It was passed by the number 94 Peugeot, dropping down to sixth. Andre Lotterer had to make an emergency fuel stop in the later moments in order to make the finish, but successfully retained third place in doing so.

But there were no concerns for the race leaders, with Hartley casually counting down the remaining time to take the chequered flag and secure Toyota’s second consecutive victory of the season and the number eight car’s first of the year. The number 50 Ferrari secured a first podium for the 499P in second, a lap behind, with Lotterer holding onto third for the number six Penske Porsche.

Cadillac took fourth ahead of the number 94 Peugeot and the 52 Ferrari. The number 93 Peugeot finished seventh ahead of Glickenhaus and the number seven Toyota, which recovered to ninth.

It was a United Autosports one-two in LMP2, with the number 23 finishing ahead of its sister number 22 car with WRT’s number 41 taking third. An epic battle for the GT AM victory between the Corvette and the AF Corse number 83 Ferrari was won by Corvette by two tenths of a second, with Iron Dames completing the podium in third.

Six Hours of Portimao race results

Pos No. Class Team Car Drivers Laps
1 8 Hypercar (Hybrid) Toyota Toyota GR010 Hybrid Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa 222
2 50 Hypercar (Hybrid) Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P Antonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas Nielsen 221
3 6 Hypercar (Hybrid) Porsche Penske Porsche 963 Kevin Estre/Andre Lotterer/Laurens Vanthoor 221
4 2 Hypercar (Hybrid) Cadillac Cadillac V-Series.R Earl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard Westbrook 220
5 94 Hypercar (Hybrid) Peugeot Peugeot 9X8 Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico Mueller 220
6 51 Hypercar (Hybrid) Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio Giovinazzi 219
7 93 Hypercar (Hybrid) Peugeot Peugeot 9X8 Paul di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Eric Vergne 219
8 708 Hypercar Glickenhaus Glickenhaus 007 Romain Dumas/Ryan Briscoe/Olivier Pla 217
9 7 Hypercar (Hybrid) Toyota Toyota GR010 Hybrid Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez 215
10 23 LMP2 United Autosports Oreca 07 – Gibson Joshua Pierson/Tom Blomqvist/Oliver Jarvis 215
11 22 LMP2 United Autosports Oreca 07 – Gibson Frederick Lubin/Philip Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque 215
12 41 LMP2 Team WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson Rui Andrade/Robert Kubica/Louis Deletraz 215
13 63 LMP2 Prema Oreca 07 – Gibson Doriane Pin/Mirko Bortolotti/Daniil Kvyat 215
14 48 LMP2 Jota Oreca 07 – Gibson David Beckmann/Yifei Ye/Will Stevens 215
15 9 LMP2 Prema Oreca 07 – Gibson Filip Ugran/Bent Viscaal/Andrea Caldarelli 215
16 31 LMP2 Team WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson Sean Gelael/Ferdinand Habsburg/Robin Frijns 215
17 28 LMP2 Jota Oreca 07 – Gibson David Heinemeier Hansson/Pietro Fittipaldi/Oliver Rasmussen 215
18 36 LMP2 Alpine Oreca 07 – Gibson Matthieu Vaxiviere/Julien Canal/Charles Milesi 215
19 34 LMP2 Inter Europol Oreca 07 – Gibson Jakub Smiechowski/Fabio Scherer/Albert Costa 214
20 35 LMP2 Alpine Oreca 07 – Gibson Andre Negrão/Memo Rojas/Oliver Caldwell 213
21 33 LMGTE Am Corvette Chevrolet Corvette C8.R Ben Keating/Nicolas Varrone/Nicky Catsburg 206
22 83 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Luis Perez Companc/Lilou Wadoux/Alessio Rovera 206
23 85 LMGTE Am Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR 19 Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey 206
24 54 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Davide Rigon 206
25 21 LMGTE Am AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Stefano Costantini/Simon Mann/Ulysse de Pauw 206
26 56 LMGTE Am Project 1 AO Porsche 911 RSR 19 PJ Hyett/Gunnar Jeannette/Matteo Cairoli 205
27 77 LMGTE Am Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR 19 Christian Ried/Mikkel Pedersen/Julien Andlauer 205
28 25 LMGTE Am ORT by TF Aston Martin Vantage AMR Ahmad Al Harthy/Michael Dinan/Charlie Eastwood 205
29 88 LMGTE Am Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR 19 Ryan Hardwick/Zacharie Robichon/Harry Tincknell 204
30 57 LMGTE Am Kessel Ferrari 488 GTE EVO Takeshi Kimura/Scott Huffaker/Daniel Serra 204
31 86 LMGTE Am GR Porsche 911 RSR 19 Michael Wainwright/Riccardo Pera/Benjamin Barker 204
32 60 LMGTE Am Iron Lynx Porsche 911 RSR 19 Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Alessio Picariello 203
33 98 LMGTE Am Northwest AMR Aston Martin Vantage AMR Paul Dalla Lana/Nicki Thiim/Axcil Jeffries 202
34 10 LMP2 Vector Sport Oreca 07 – Gibson Ryan Cullen/Matthias Kaiser/Gabriel Aubry 193
35 5 Hypercar (Hybrid) Porsche Penske Porsche 963 Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frederic Makowiecki 189
36 4 Hypercar Floyd Vanwall Vanwall Vandervell 680 Tom Dillmann/Esteban Guerrieri/Jacques Villeneuve 174
37 777 LMGTE Am D’Station Aston Martin Vantage AMR Satoshi Hoshino/Casper Stevenson/Tomonobu Fujii 42

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 7 comments on “Toyota beats Ferrari by more than a lap to win second consecutive race”

    1. with Hartley casually counting down the remaining time to take the chequered flag and secure Toyota’s second consecutive victory of the season and the number eight car’s first of the year.

      Good. Well done.

    2. It was a bit like F1. Excluding the distant leaders, the race was decent and enjoyable. And I definitely prefer a 6h than a 24h format.

      1. @spoutnik hope you’re not following anybody in the LMP2 category though – the organising body is reportedly planning to expel the LMP2 cars because they want more manufacturer entries in the Hypercar class and to create more room for GT3 cars for 2024. They’re not particularly interested in the privateer LMP2 entries, who have basically been told to get out and go race somewhere else.

        1. Having both P2 and LMDh (or DPi) didn’t work in IMSA either. They’re too similar.

          It’s just the natural eb and flow of sportscar, unfortunately. When manufacturers leave again, which they always do, the FIA and ACO will proclaim a new refreshed P2 series and act like it’s all fine.

          1. MichaelN, IMSA clearly think that LMP2 cars do work in their races, because IMSA have confirmed last month that they are going to be retaining the LMP2 category for their championship until 2025 (they’re currently waiting for the FIA to sort out the 2026 LMP2 regulations).

            1. FlyingLobster27
              18th April 2023, 10:24

              I don’t think that’s not what MichaelN is referring to, anon. He’s referring to the first years of DPi and LMP2 being scored in the same Prototype class, 2017-2018. It didn’t work, in my opinion, because of the Pro-Am mandate in LMP2, while the DPi were being driven by all-Pro line-ups. Colin Braun managed to single-handedly win some races overall in an LMP2 car, and I say single-handedly because his co-driver and boss Jon Bennett typically did the bare minimum drive time of 5 minutes at the start, before Braun took the remaining 2 1/2-ish hours (most IMSA races last 2 hours and 40 minutes).

              On the subject of WEC, I’ve not watched since the first half of 2017. The second half of the season always devolved into a team order show, and I’m not up to waste 6+ hours of my time to watch a fix. And Toyota’s management from the first race of 2018 made it clear that it would be team orders all year, so yep, I was out, except for Le Mans, which I always made a point of following. Toyota, a team I would have rooted for in years before, won their first Le Mans in 2018 and I didn’t feel a smidge of joy. The end of the 2019 outright made me angry. Last year, I even skipped Le Mans altogether. I just didn’t care. And don’t tell me about Monza last year – so you’ve had ONE good race in five years? Wow.
              “But the other classes are good” they’d say, but look, I like Formula Three, just not 4-6-8-24 hours of it, and as good as GTE once was, there are GT3 competitions that are just as good and don’t have a weak headline category hanging over them.

              I’m glad competition is returning to the top class, but the FIA & ACO’s track record with BoP isn’t good (EoT, P1 hybrid vs non-hybrid…), so be prepared for it to take as much as two years for WEC to be consistently close. Meanwhile, I feel it’s not worth my attention, I’ll be skipping the Le Mans Centenary Edition because I’ll probably find something else to do, and I’ll be content with GT3, and IMSA when the time zone is convenient enough. That said, I’ll admit, I’ve been so disgruntled with big decisions the organisers have made and the “racing” I’ve been reading about, that WEC might be a hard sell for me even if it gets better.

            2. They keep them around, but they can’t participate in all races, and the last few years has seen them be a bit of an afterthought. Especially with P3 now in the mix too, and hopefully more teams being able to run customer GTP/LMDh options (Porsche is pushing this quite a bit), it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep filling these categories with worthwhile entries.

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