Ferrari number 83, Le Mans, 2024

Penalty for Kubica’s Ferrari puts Toyota in the lead at Le Mans

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In the round-up: Toyota have moved into the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours after the first nine hours.

In brief

Penalty costs Kubica lead at Le Mans

The number eight Toyota moved into the lead shortly before the nine-hour mark at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The car shared by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa rose to the head of the field after the long-time leaders in the number 83 customer AF Corse Ferrari pitted to serve a penalty.

The Safety Car was deployed after almost six-and-a-half hours of racing when Dries Vanthoor in the number 15 BMW Hybrid V8 hypercar crashed out on the Mulsanne straight after taking a glancing blow from Robert Kubica’s race-leading Ferrari. Barrier repairs kept the race neutralised for well over an hour and a half. Kubica was handed a 30-second stop-go penalty for the contact after the race resumed.

The number six Penske Porsche is running second, ahead of the other Porsche and number two Cadillac. The three Ferraris, which headed the field in the early stages, are next, led by the works number 50 car. That took the lead on the first lap in the hands of Nicklas Nielsen, working his way forward quickly from fourth on the grid. However he lost time when he returned to the car when rain began to fall approaching the six-hour mark and Ferrari opted for slick tyres instead of wets.

The number 38 JOTA Porsche and the second of the Cadillacs complete the top 10 with 13 hours remaining.

Both Alpines out within six hours

Engine trouble put both Alpine hypercars out within the first six hours at Le Mans. Ferdinand Habsburg pulled over at Arnage with smoke billowing from the rear of his number 35 A424, while the sister number 36 machine retired in the pits.

“This is the team’s first year in the Hypercar category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which we knew from the start would be a steep learning curve,” said the team in a statement.

“We will further investigate the issue and we will come back stronger and more determined next year in Le Mans. The car showed good pace to make Hyperpole in qualifying, we had a good race start and this gives us encouragement for the future.”

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Comment of the day

Formula 1’s new ‘Override’ system for 2026 will be no less artificial than DRS, reckons Asd:

So FIA basically admits they are no longer even trying to make F1 cars do something as simple as being less aero-dependent to be able to follow one another closely and be able to overtake. They now just go for artificial manipulation of car performance depending on their on-track position.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Plushpile and Jennikate Wallace!

On this day in motorsport

  • 45 years ago today the Swedish Grand Prix did not take place – it had been scheduled to, but was cancelled when the organisers failed to make a necessary payment to the Formula One Constructors’ Association a month earlier.

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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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9 comments on “Penalty for Kubica’s Ferrari puts Toyota in the lead at Le Mans”

  1. Kubica is damn lucky to get a slap on the wrist … he basically came on the radio and admitted to road-raging the Vanthoor BMW into the barriers and out of the race … causing a 1hr+ safety car and repairs to the barrier.
    If I was in Eduardo’s seat I’d have black flagged him & referred the matter to the FIA to deal with.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      16th June 2024, 5:51

      Still can’t understand why he couldn’t pit under the Safety Car for his penalty. Surely when the SC is out he would go right to the back of the pack as he can’t exit the pit lane until the field has passed him

    2. Any idea of the time mark when he made this radio call?

    3. Woah “road-raging”?!? If you watch losely, Vanthoor moved into Kubica. It doesn’t show on the movement on his steering wheel, because it was the camber of the track that made him move into Kubica. He should’ve given Kubica more space – going 3 cars wide is an extreme situation and calls for extreme measures! He had the room to do it, but didn’t!

      Also, a 30 second penalty is brutal.

  2. Also would like to say it’s really surprising they’ve kept the cars under safety car even as the race has come into daylight. Can understand at night but in full daylight they’re still not getting it going after hours behind safety car. Surely they can handle it better than F1 cars with less spray and with bigger field spread. Really not great. They also have wipers. Would have made more sense to just red flag.

    1. The Le Mans race itself has never been red flagged, even in 1955….

  3. I think that change of name to 24hrs of Safety car would be much more appropriate this year. Porsche with less top speed obviously prepared the car for wet conditions. Now it seems that Toyota is going for a win, with the ‘little help’ of SC. This kind of race management is irritating, if you ask me.

    1. The safety cars are really putting a damper on my enthusiasm. I no longer stay up to watch because you just know there’s going to be another hour-plus neutralisation that resets the race and messes up strategies.

      They could repair a barrier last year under yellow/slow zone. It’s totally pointless to bring back this convoluted staged safety car procedure. It just doesn’t work. Plus they’re always out far, far too long.

      Motorsport desperately needs a new way to handle incidents. The safety car is ruining far too many races.

  4. Ferrari getting a 5 second penalty for effectively ruining 8 Toyota/Hartleys race was ridiculous

Comments are closed.