Ford & Porsche Triumph At Le Mans; Toyota Left Heartbroken

There seemed to be an extra amount of excitement over the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, and a big part of that was Ford’s return.

Colored in red, white and blue, there were four Ford GTs running in the LM GTE class – exactly 50 years after the original Ford GT40 achieved its historic victory over Ferrari at Circuit de la Sarthe.

Ford GT wins class at 24 Hours of Le Mans

This year’s race certainly lived up to the hype, with Ford beating out Ferrari once again and taking the both the class win and three of the top four spots for its first victory at Le Mans since 1980. But that was just the beginning of the drama.


Toyota was also on course to make history in the top dog LMP1 class, and its TS050 Hybrids were setting the pace for most of the race thanks to their great fuel economy. It was looking like Japan was going to get its second victory at Le Mans after Mazda’s historic win 25 years ago in 1991.


But with just five minutes to go in the grueling 24-hour contest, the unthinkable happened. The race-leading #5 car driven by Kazuki Nakajima lost power and stopped on the track as the Toyota team watched in stunned silence on their pit box monitors.


Also stunned was the Porsche team, who were ready to concede the victory when the Toyota lost power. Capitalizing on the Toyota’s mechanical trouble, the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid quickly closed the gap and took P1 on the final lap.

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

The result was Porsche’s 18th overall Le Mans victory and its second straight victory since its return in 2014. Toyota’s #6 TS050 (which had spun earlier in the race) finished second, but it did little to remove the taste of defeat, and Toyota is already plotting its revenge for 2017.

For those who weren’t able to catch the race over the weekend, here’s a nice little 10-minute video that sums up the highlights.

The highest of highs and the lowest of lows – such is the drama of Le Mans.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia



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Poetic, and also painful. No sentence can ever truly have such descriptions strung together. There is justice in the loss, a resolution that only this race can see fit. Toyota gets sentenced to defeat right when victory was literally a lap away. It's heartbreak of the highest degree, 
But really, though, Risi Competizione had its neck wrung out there. To be able to even keep up with Ford, even if the 488 itself is a class of its own, is nothing less of a heroic effort. Besides, it's not everyday a dealer team can do this kind of racing and still get good results.
Aston Martin, too, had a laudable race. They're old dogs on Dunlops, but finished just a lap behind the next Ford in front of them. Certainly it is time for a change, but AMG is a good supplier, and even then the DB11 can be made into a sufficient race car in the same vein as the venerable DBR9.
SRT41 ran their race well, and while Frederic Sausset is officially elevated to grade-A BAMF, his co-drivers are this race's underrated heroes. Their reward is 32nd overall. And now I want to see Sausset racing with Alex Zanardi.
Congratulations to Alpine for the much-needed PR boost. Now go fire up your factory and give me that sportscar you've been teasing me for a year already!!! Oh, that's $50k? Uh...


corvett s crash was huge


Devastated for Toyota but they were the best team out there for 23 hours and should look to next year to build on that.


Classic Ford vs. Ferrari feud. Except this time artificially created by Balance of Performance. 

The finish in LMP1 made me love endurance racing even more. Proper drama. Got to love LMP1. Cars are distinctive, fast and beautiful. It was fantastic to see the Toyota leave the gravel trap with all four wheels spinning.

A couple more manufacturers and it would be perfect (Alfa Romeo and BMW I'm looking at you).


I couldn't believe this when I heard it over the stream. Toyota will be coming back even harder next year I'm sure. They were robbed and I'd imagine this year was nothing more than a sour tasting precursor to a new era in endurance racing.


The lowest of the lows would be Ford trying to get the Ferrari (which was running well behind the 68 by that point) penalized for a minor infraction just so they can get a full Ford podium. I was happy about them being back, now I hope they never win another race.


Wesley hughes  Let's set the record straight. Toyota was NOT robbed... Endurance racing is about lasting the race and being in front at the end. It's a hard pill to swallow losing like that but it is racing! Hopefully Toyota goes all the way next year.


RacingPast Wesley hughes Very well said, They've no one to blame but themselves for failing to reach the finish line. To finish first, first you must finish and all that.


fortytwoeyes Ferrari was protesting Ford as well as Ford was protesting Ferrari. Both actions changed nothing


_rafal fortytwoeyes From the order of stewards decisions it very much appears as though Ford did it first, still during the race, and Risi only responded after the race. It may have changed nothing, but even trying it against a privateer competitor tells me that the sport would be better off without them.


RacingPast Wesley hughes You can't win a race on the first lap but you sure as hell can lose on the last.


This year's lemans was one of the gratest i think. the lmp1 battle went on from the 1. minute till like an hour before the end when toyota pulled ahead. and the there was the last 5min...i feel really bad for toyota because the ran fantasticly (almost) whole race. as for the people that say the ford was given the the race then talk, the #68 had 0 problems while all AF corsa (as factroy as it gets for ferrari) and factory porsches failed to finish and corvette yes was a bit down on pace but also one of 2 crashed. Ford just did waht they needed to do in order to win which is build a relibale and fast car and get reliable and fast drivers to drive it.


Nice coverage on the 24h. Im glad that js here on SH. I missed the race while I was staying in the F1 loop at Baku. That wasn't the most exciting race...


fortytwoeyes _rafal Then I would think you would want Porsche, Audi, Reneaut, and almost every other car company disqualified. They've ALL tried this crap in the past, and will try it in the future. #politicsofracing


D1RGE fortytwoeyes _rafal Not really. I just think there's a difference when one big company does it to another to win a race vs when a big company that's already winning does it to a privately funded team to kick them off the podium. And since you mention Porsche and Audi: Look at how they acted towards Toyota. That's rather the opposite I would say.

jackson knouse

fortytwoeyes D1RGE _rafal oh my god who cares its a race for gods sakes


UWerqxTeam_MJ I agree on the talk of Aston martin as well.For them to have a 5+year chassis to go and compete within a close distance to a full factory effort is pretty impressive. My heart still goes out to Toyota, and Hugues de Chaunac . I have never seen so much sadness in a Le Mans garage since 2010, with Peugeot. I even dried a bit


Was such an epic race...heart broken for Toyota but am sure they will come back even stronger next year. Fantastic come back for Ford and yes the bickering about the leader lights thing seems minor but rules are rules right? still was fantastic race all round and i can't wait till next years


jackson knouse fortytwoeyes D1RGE _rafal Sportsmanship is what truly separates the men form the boys. I care, we should all care.


with the old style car that looks good on the road if you want to have


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