Ferrari Holds Off Toyota to Go Back to Back and Win a Rainy 24 Hours of Le Mans

24h of le mans race
Ferrari Holds Off Toyota to Win Le MansNurPhoto - Getty Images

Ferrari went back to back to claim victory in its return to the top level of racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday. The No. 50 Ferrari beat the No. 7 Toyota to the finish line by 14 seconds after 24 hours of shifting weather and heavy competition.

After Ferrari's 1965 win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the manufacturer hit an eight-year lull and then disappeared for 50 years. They won in their return. They entered the Hypercar class in 2023 to start where they left off in 1973 with an overall victory. Last year, it was the trio behind the No. 51 car to do it; in 2024, it's the No. 50 car.

The No. 51 car, after victory last year, was able to join its sister car on the podium.


Nick Nielsen was the driver to take it home for the Ferrari team, surviving a non-closed-door that threw the team off sequence. He pitted with an hour and 42 minutes remaining, and that pit set up the team to make it to the finish line, maybe.

They were later helped when with 32 minutes to go, the No. 88 GR Racing LMGT3 Ferrari had a mechanical issue, bringing out a yellow flag, creating the final buffer for the front-leading Ferrari, which finished with 3 percent power remaining.

At 5:00 a.m. local time, heavy rain started to fall on the track leading to a four-hour safety car. Ever hopeful that the rain was soon to pass, a red flag was never thrown, and drivers were stuck running in the dark with sideways rain and being blinded by the brake lights of others.

Miguel Molina was the driver of the No. 50 for the majority of the safety-car period and the first to meet up with Eurosport reporters after the win. Emotionally, Molina spoke about what the win meant to him, his along with his teammate's first overall win.

"We gave everything; it's the best day of my career," Molina said. "Thanks to everyone, thanks to everyone that supported me since I was young. To my family, to my parents, to my kids, to everyone, thank you very much."

Jose Lopez, while chasing down the Ferrari No. 50, was able to shave off time, but not enough. The No. 8 Toyota team made the decision on their final pit to keep Lopez in, as the rain was still falling, instead of putting in veteran Kamui Kobayashi, since Lopez was more familiar with how the car was running in its current condition.

Both Toyotas failed to advance to Hyperpole qualifying on Thursday, and Kobayashi believes that something is missing.

"We did everything we can do," Kobayashi told Eurosport. "Of course, I think we started last. Obviously, we're missing something. It's not enough. We had some problems as well. But yeah, the last piece was not enough."

Ferrari's presence on the third podium step did not come without controversy. In the final hours, Alessandro Pier Guidi was given a five-second penalty added to his final pit stop for hitting Brendon Hartley piloting the No. 8 Toyota.

The No.51 held off the No. 6 Porsche Penske from a podium finish. The Porsche team, starting on the pole, was hoping for a lot better than a podium finish, but strategy calls and an extremely competitive field kept Roger Penske from landing his white whale of a Le Mans victory.

The No. 8 Toyota recovered after it was hit by Pier Guidi for a fifth-place finish. It was the race leader at the 12-hour mark, when the four-hour safety car session began.

In sixth position was the No. 5 Porsche Penske, followed by the highest-finishing Cadillac of the No. 2 driven by defending IndyCar Champion Alex Palou. The other two Cadillac entries did not fair as well. The No. 3 retired with an engine failure, and the No. 311 suffered heavy crash damage and was already a lap down.

After having to rebuild their Hypercar completely in just three days after a crash in FP 2 on Wednesday, the No. 12 Jota Porsche recovered to finish eighth.

In the LMP2 class, The No. 22 United Autosports trio claimed victory with the help of two American rookies in Indy Lights driver Nolan Siegal and Bijoy Garg, who have raced with each other since adolescence, and we're ecstatic to share the win with each other and British teammate Oliver Jarvis.

"It's unbelievable," Siegal told Eurosport. "Bijoy and I have known each other since we were little kids. We grew up go-karting together. To win Le Mans together on both of our first goes at it is unbelievable."

In the first year of the LMGT3 class, the No. 91 Manthey EMA took victory over the No. 31 Team WRT BMW, the No. 91 finished a full lap ahead of its competition. A Ford Mustang GT3 managed its way to the podium in its debut with Proton Competition in the No. 88.

The No. 31 Team WRT's fate was much better than its sister car, the No. 46 BMW that was brought to the class lead by rookie and MotoGP Champion Valentino Rossi left the race in the first half when Ahmed Al Harthy lost control and spun into a barrier.

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