Porsche, Le Mans 24 Hours, 2016

Porsche wins as Toyota suffer last-lap heartbreak

Le Mans 24 HoursPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Porsche has claimed victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours after rivals Toyota suffered a dramatic failure five minutes from scoring their first win in the race.

Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb’s Porsche 919 won the race after the Toyota TS050 of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima stopped while leading.

Nakajima got his car going again but it was not classified due to the length of time he took to complete the final lap.

The Japanese manufacturer had taken the lead from Porsche early in the race and kept last year’s winners behind. The two cars were covered by half a minute until the final ten minutes of the race when the Jani car was forced to make an extra pit stop.

Toyota’s second car, shared by Kamui Ko bayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway, was promoted to third.

Audi suffered several setbacks with their R18s which spent prolonged spells in the pits on their way to third and fourth overall. The number one Porsche of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard also lost many laps due to technical problems.

Ford won the GTE Pro category on their return to Le Mans with Sebastien Bourdais, Dirk Muller and Joey Hand. But there was controversy at the finish as closest rivals Ferrari refused to obey an instruction to pit to have their position lights repaired.

Nicholas Lapierre, Stephane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes shared victory in the LMP2 category in their Signatech Alpine-run ORECA-Nissan.

GTE Am was won by Toensend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Jeff Segal’s Ferrari 458 Italia.

The first 50 minutes of the race were spent behind the Safety Car due to wet conditions at the circuit.

39 comments on “Porsche wins as Toyota suffer last-lap heartbreak”

  1. The ultimate, fatality-like kick in the… I cannot believe it. Heartbroken…

    1. Israel gonzalez
      19th June 2016, 14:13

      Porsche #nosubstitute best car manufacturer ever

      1. Ey can you please show some sympathy?

        1. Why? The one who FINISHES the race the AND covers the most distance in 24 hours is the best car out there. No one TOOK the victory from them. Their car failed. End of story. The Toyota mourners out there need to put their big boy pants on and realise that this is the nature of motorsport.

      2. RP (@slotopen)
        22nd June 2016, 3:17

        Seriously, have some class. Tough loss for Toyota.

  2. Unbelievable. So gutted for Toyota – what do they need to do to win this thing?

    Great to see Ford take the win after an incredible battle which lasted for hours. The fight with the Risi Ferrari 488 was some of the best racing I’ve ever seen. Lots of people said that this Le Mans could be a classic, but I don’t think anyone expected something like this.

    1. easy they buy a porche

    2. you mean the sandbaggers? screw them. Don’t deserve to be at le mans at all with that attitude. Such bad luck for toyota

      1. Totally right, the only controversy I saw was the BoP ridicolously biased towards Ford, just like it was in favour of Aston (100 bday) and Porsche (50 years of the 911) in 2013…20 kg less and 8 litres of fuel more than their closest rivals? Embarassing and pathetic at the same time. I wonder if someone ‘ll have the courage to cheer for this win…they should be ashamed.

        1. I have to agree that the Balance of Performance was severely tilted in Ford’s favour, even with the post qualifying adjustments taken into account.

          They were just as fast in race trim, and the No. 68 car actually set a faster lap time in the race than in qualifying, suggesting that the BoP tweaks had no effect at all – no wonder that many of the other competitors said that the car was more like an LMP car than a GT car. The Ferrari 488 was also out of balance as well, though at least the BoP tweaks did seem to slow them down a bit (with, again, some wondering if the ACO wanted to engineer a Ford versus Ferrari fight, just as had happened 50 years ago, because it fitted so nicely with Ford’s promotional material).

          Now, whilst I am not inclined towards conspiracy theories, I can see why many would accuse the ACO of engineering a victory for Ford. They bent their own regulations for Ford, given that Ford haven’t actually met the production requirements to have the car homologated, then promptly gave them special dispensation to run four factory cars for Le Mans after enlarging the team and giving them priority over the named reserve teams. Furthermore, there was further suspicion given that the ACO happened to be running a special exhibition event at the track called “Americans at Le Mans”, with Ford’s GT cars from the 1960’s being the centrepiece of that exhibition.

          Interestingly, the ACO does have the right to impose penalties during and after a race on a team if it feels that they have broken the Balance of Performance rules, and some commentators did wonder why the ACO didn’t pull Ford in given they have such a clear speed advantage.

          There is actually a precedent for this too – the IMSA, which uses the same BoP regulations in the United Sports Car Championship, impounded their cars after the 2016 Daytona 24 Hours race, put their engines on a dyno to test their power output (which was found to be too high) and promptly issued 5 minute time penalties to every single Lamborghini team, as well as fining Lamborghini and stripping them of all of their points.

          1. Sorry but I can’t agree with this conspiracy theory. The dispensation for Ford to run despite not meeting the homologation requirements needed unanimous agreement from the other GTE teams – which was given. This wasn’t a waiver given by the ACO, it was given by the other teams as well.

            As for the exhibition – I suspect you’ve not been to Le Mans but every year there is some sort of exhibition and pretty much every year there are GT40s involved. In fact, last year’s exhibition was on Ford vs Ferrari and probably had even more GT40s than there were this year. The exhibitions are usually set up to reflect something of historic significance, so it’s hardly surprising there would be an emphasis on Ford, given the anniversary.

            End of the day, motorsport is about brinksmanship – finding the best loopholes in the rules and exploiting them. Chances are, without the B-o-P, Ford would have rmped away and locked out the whole podium. If Ford hadn’t been there, it would have beena slamdunk for Risi’s 488, which was also leagues ahead.

          2. Wake up man, without the BoP Ferrari would have been miles ahead of everyone, including Ford which is using an old 3.5 litres V6 without DFI compared to a state of the art 3.9 litres V8 embracing all the latest technologies.

    3. Rather what do they need to do to win ANYTHING. Seriously, they did a great job at F1 and deserved at least a win, now at Le Mans the same is happening. The car was a beast and they totally deserved to win. At least they have a title but without LM, it must feel a bit empty to them.

  3. What a gut wrenching Le Mans..

  4. Alex McFarlane
    19th June 2016, 14:39

    Gah, German luck strikes again!

    The post mortem for Toyota will be interesting…

    1. trekkeie2003
      19th June 2016, 21:02

      By the way…the toyota-team is based in cologne, germany.

  5. Terrible luck.

  6. I was so hyped for Toyota and then it went 2014 all over again but way worse….

    1. stuart wyatt
      19th June 2016, 15:25

      I was there watching it and the Toyota stopped right in front of us, the crowd were heartbroken..

  7. and they didn’t even get to keep their 2nd place…..

  8. I can see Toyota’s Board of Directors pulling the plug on this effort.

    1. They already confirmed for 2017.

      1. @xtwl, it is unlikely they will drop out over this, but not impossible given that other manufacturers have made similar commitments in the past, only to then abruptly reverse them.

        After all, last year Nissan also confirmed that they were fully committed to a full 2016 WEC campaign, and they were still carrying out full scale track testing for their 2016 spec car less than two weeks before they pulled the plug on their project. Toyota also made similar commitments in F1 as well, having already submitted their application for the 2010 season, undertaken extensive development of the TF110 and, IIRC, even signed a contract extension with Glock only a few months before they made the decision to pull out.

    2. There’s a whole season of WEC to go, six more races including Fuji.

      With Japan’s heritage of motorsport, I’d be shocked if they dropped out over this. It will probably make them even more determined to win, and let’s not forget, they almost took 1 & 3 this time.

  9. What a race!!! Very sad about Toyota, just… unbelievable. But what an amazing event. Thinking about going there next year, just an absolute grace!

  10. FlyingLobster27
    19th June 2016, 15:40

    Easily the cruellest end to a race since Carlos Sainz’s Toyota broke down 500m from the end of the 1998 RAC Rally, denying him the World Rally title. Toyota must have thought “it can’t get worse than 2015, can it?” Well…
    To those thinking that they won’t come back, they will. One fact as sure as “Toyotas don’t win Le Mans” is “Toyota TS0x0s work in two-year cycles”. I do believe that they will leave to focus on the WRC in 2018 though.
    I take nothing away from Porsche though, the #2 was within a minute of the lead throughout the race.

    1. I immediately thought of Carlos Sainz’s breakdown too. Toyota must think they are cursed.

  11. Sigh. What a worse turn of events for Toyota… Great Le Mans event this year!

  12. I feel absolutely gutted for Toyota. To lose a Le Mans win in the last few minutes is never a nice thing. However, I feel very happy that Ford won in their class because the GT is a stunning car and I love it.

  13. Boy, that was tough. I had to take it out on my pillow after the race.
    After I recovered enough to watch the Baku race, I found out that they weren’t even allowed to keep the 2nd place so that’s another 15-minutes of pillow-wetting for me.
    Davidson’s tweet killed me.
    By the 23th hour, I was so looking forward to see an Audi-free podium since like, forever but reality sucks.

    Still, the GT won in its debut, so there are still cause for celebration.

    By the way, I’m rather unfamiliar with the WEC rulebook, but is there any good reason why Nakajima’s final lap was deemed to slow to be classified?

    1. FlyingLobster27
      19th June 2016, 17:18

      To be classified, you need to fulfill three requirements:
      1. take the chequered flag (check),
      2. complete at least 70% of the winning car’s distance (check, the #5 did 100% of the winners’ distance),
      3. complete the final lap in under 6 minutes (uncheck, the #5 took 11 minutes).
      The rationale behind the last requirement, I guess, is to stop stubborn teams from saying “nono, we’ll get this to the finish line even if the driver has to push it!” and causing undue delays in post-race procedure.

    2. the commentators said that the lap had to be completed within 6 minutes…. just adds salt to the wounds, if they had ground to a halt 50 meters earlier before the finish line they could have at least limped it over for second after the Porsche took the flag…. instead they had to try and do a whole lap

      i am a porsche fan but the faces off all of the toyota crew meant that i didn’t enjoy this win at all

  14. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    19th June 2016, 18:15

    I hope Davidson doesn’t call time on his racing career after that – I would certainly be tempted if I was him. He was simply awesome in consistent, pace management earlier this morning. As in Spa, Ant’s efforts could, should, have secured victory for Toyota. Compared with Dumas’ anonymity, and Jani’s below usual pace, Davidson really deserved to win.

    I just sense he won’t fancy returning to the site of such raw heartbrake, and as the 2014 WEC champion, Le Mans is the only sportscar accolade missing from his CV. Toyota could also be tempted to pull the plug on the programme. But WEC needs a manufacturer of the quality of Toyota, and a driver of the quality of Davidson shouldn’t be lost to a comfy TV career.

    1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      20th June 2016, 0:40

      Absolutely, Davidson’s pace throughout the night was awesome. He brought his car from well over a minute behind the no. 6 Toyota to within 20 seconds of the lead, while maintaining 14 lap fuel stints and quadruple stinting his tyres. During his last stint he was maintaining fast, consistent 3:24 laptimes through traffic while the no. 2 Porsche chasing him on fresh tyres was bouncing around between 3:23, 3:26, 3:27 laps passing the same traffic. He really deserved to win today.

  15. Is there worse.heartbreak than engine failure while leading on final lap of Le Mans? Probably not.

    1. Maybe your team not having tyres ready for a pit stop they cLl you in for when you’re clearly about to win Monaco? Or your engine blowing up on the final lap of a GP whilst in a massive lead(Hakkinen Barcelona 2000/2001 one of the two)? Or some moron back marker (Jos Verstappen) running into the back of your car after lapping him, in only your second GP, while leading (Montoya, Brazil 2001)?

      Plenty more where they came from – however it was heartbreaking to see none the less. I was gunning for Webber and when his car had problems I was also hoping Toyota could break its duck.

      1. *call* you in for… EDIT BUTTON KEITH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. 1966 comes to mind…

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