LM24, Hour 20: Tense lead fight continues with Ferrari in front

All of a sudden, there are just four hours to go in the 92nd edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The Ferrari-Porsche-Toyota-Cadillac dog fight continues and it’s too early to predict which brand will come out on top.

Right now it’s Antonio Fuoco in the No. 50 factory Ferrari leading the privately-funded No. 83 Ferrari of Robert Shwartzman by 3.8 seconds.

Kevin Estre meanwhile, sits third and is putting the pressure on in the No. 6 Porsche.

Further back the No. 7 Toyota is now down to seventh, after having to dive in for an unscheduled stop for a puncture and now on a similar pit strategy to the No. 2 Cadillac which cycles to the front early in each hour.


The No. 5 Porsche was also delayed by a penalty for a slow zone infringement. Having been in the mix for large chunks of the race, it is now down to 10th, the last of the cars on the lead lap.

Earl Bamber was impressive before his most recent stop gapping the field by 12 seconds since the restart before pitting.

“The car is coming to us, we didn’t have a great car yesterday. Overnight we tuned it up, and we are giving it our all. We are giving it everything in these last few hours,” Bamber said after handing over to Alex Palou.

The No. 2 may be eighth right now on the road, but it’s on the lead lap, has pace and is running its own race out of sequence. Don’t count this Caddy out just yet…

You can, however, count out the No. 3 sister car which has been withdrawn after the team discovered that it had a punctured oil tank when it stopped in the previous hour.

There has been a lead change in LMP2 to report, Clement Novalak muscling past Patrick Pilet’s Vector ORECA to hand the lead to the 2023 class-winning Inter Europol machine.

They currently hold a 17-second advantage to the pack behind, led by the No. 22 United ORECA which had to pit for emergency service with the pit lane closed during a full-course yellow – this meant it had to come round again and pit a second time.

COOL Racing’s No. 37 ORECA is fourth, with the NO. 28 IDEC ORECA continuing its metronomic run in fifth.

LMGT3 has been static at the top of the pile, with the No. 91 Manthey EMA Porsche 3.7 seconds up the road from the No. 31 WRT BMW which has played the long game and is in contention for the win after not featuring at all in the opening hours. It’s Morris Schuring vs Augusto Farfus, and you may want to reach for the popcorn soon.

However, further back, for United Autosports the past 60 minutes were extremely unkind, its dreams of a fairytale win in its first Le Mans with McLaren dashed by mechanical issues.

The No. 95 ended up in its garage with a starter motor and wishbone issue, then the No. 59 pulled off to the side of the road at Arnage and was retired on the spot.

Both cars were firmly in contention for top-five finishes, but Le Mans often bites, and this weekend it simply wasn’t meant to be for the Yorkshire-based team.


Story originally appeared on Racer