United Autosports wins LMP2 while Porsche takes LMGT3 at Le Mans

Beyond the Hypercar headlines, the other two categories in the 2024 running of the Le Mans 24 Hours provided plenty of action for the fans trackside and at home.

Inter Europol Competition made a valiant effort to defend its 2023 title in LMP2, but in the end, United Autosports’ No. 22 ORECA Gibson was just too strong in the closing hours.

Anchored by the experienced Oliver Jarvis, a previous winner, with two Le Mans rookies in Bijoy Garg and rising star Nolan Siegel, the team demonstrated its strength throughout the race. They put a stamp on it at the end with an 18.651s gap to the No. 34 Inter Europol entry of Jakub Smiechowski, Vladislav Lomko and Clement Novalak.


“It’s unbelievable! First time here, there was so much to learn, and I’m so lucky to have done it with such a great group of people,” said Siegel before Garg added: “This is the best moment of my life.”

United’s No. 22 was involved in a tangle early in the race and often struggled to separate itself from the main pack. It didn’t matter on Sunday afternoon — once the field was reset by the final safety car, a sprint race within the race broke out.

Blistering pace and strategic nous made the difference, with Oliver Jarvis enjoying a standout drive — setting the fastest race lap in the category– while Siegel looked every bit the emerging star he is and Garg enjoying a near-faultless performance in a field featuring a number of additional standout Silver-ranked drivers.

Tire choice at the end was particularly vital, but United’s gamble paid off en route to a second Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class win.

“It’s always an incredible feeling to be in Le Mans, but to be able to win it is an honor,” Jarvis said post-race.

“I was relieved to see the checkered flag. What a tough race. Just staying on the track was already an achievement. The conditions were so difficult. There were there were times when I wasn’t sure if we were going to win it, or stick it in the wall.

“Big thank you to my two teammates. They arrived here as rookies and they’re leaving as winners.

“United Autosport as always gave us a phenomenal car. They got everything right and we can be very proud of what we achieved today.”

Behind the top two runners, the IDEC Sport ORECA completed the podium after spending almost the entire race firmly in the mix. Paul Lafargue, Reshad de Gerus and Job van Uitert could have won the race on another day.

Vector Sport and Nielsen Racing may have, too. Both British teams were impressive this weekend, but saw their chances of victory unravel gradually once night fell.

It was a similar story for the No. 183 AF Corse ORECA which won the Pro/Am division comfortably — by two laps — but looked capable of an even higher finish. Into Sunday morning the car led for large chunks of time and slipped out of the top three towards the end as Bronze-ranked Francois Perrodo finished off his drive time.

Nevertheless, a Pro/Am win is what AF Corse’s drivers came for, and they were rarely challenged in the second half of the race by the other seven cars in their division.

The No. 14 AO by TF ORECA — running in its “Spike The Dragon” livery — with its headline driver Louis Deletraz took second in the class with a sixth-place finish, while the DKR entry completed the sub-class podium.

There were countless incidents in LMP2 throughout the 24 hours, and so many wholesale changes to the running order as Bronze drivers completed stints in tricky conditions, rain showers caught pro drivers out and tire strategy became tough to manage.

There were, though, only a few retirements. The No. 45 Crowdstrike by APR No. 07 lost a wheel and stopped, the No. 30 Duqueine Team ORECA suffered an engine failure and the No. 9 Proton entry was abandoned with mechanical woes of its own.

Many contending cars ended up off the lead lap towards the end. The No. 37 COOL Racing ORECA, a pre-race favorite, was in the mix until an unexplained visit to the garage in the closing stages.

The No. 23 United Autosports ORECA featuring 2023 GTE Am winner Ben Keating also ended up losing precious time in pit lane after the Texan got stuck in the gravel at the Dunlop Bridge on Saturday evening.

Porsche’s Hypercar fleet may have failed to deliver a famous 20th overall win, but it wasn’t all bad news for the German manufacturer, which made history by winning the first-ever LMGT3 race at Le Mans with the Manthey EMA entry. JEP/Motorsport Images

Before the start many LMGT3 observers would have picked Pure Rxcing’s all-conquering 911 to deliver the goods this weekend, but it was the sister EMA entry of Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring and Richard Lietz that would come out on top.

“It was so difficult this year, because I felt I was on slick tires in the wet or in mixed conditions all the time. It was a flat-out race, in which strategy was so important,” Lietz commented.

“At the end we were the chosen ones, the lucky ones, so I am thrilled to be here with Morris, Yasser and Manthey to win this for Porsche.”

After the first half of the race proved intense on a lap-to-lap basis, and particularly tricky to read, LMGT3 settled down into somewhat of a pattern in the final third, with the Manthey EMA Porsche and No. 31 WRT BMW M4 LMGT3 emerging as the two cars in contention for victory.

The pair swapped places multiple times in the run to the flag, but ultimately Lietz had the pace when it mattered and pulled away in his final stint.

It was, nevertheless, a hugely impressive run from Augusto Farfus, Darren Leung and Sean Geleal in the No. 31. Early on they struggled to feature when the weather first turned, but as the night hours approached and the second half of the race was in sight, the race came back to them.

A podium provided an extremely useful bundle of WEC championship points, but more importantly, served as a morale boost on an otherwise traumatic weekend for BMW and WRT in which both Hypercars and the No. 46 BMW M4 piloted by Valentino Rossi failed to make the finish.

Proton Competition was another team that will leave Le Mans thankful it claimed a podium finish. Its No. 99 963 had a torrid time in Hypercar and limped home, the No. 77 Mustang was crashed into and hit mechanical trouble, and its LMP2 ORECA retired with a loss of power.


On the flip side, Proton’s No. 88 Ford Mustang of Giorgio Roda, Mikkel Pedersen and Dennis Olsen had a rollercoaster race but proved that the Blue Oval’s new challenger can stay reliable and fast in the toughest of conditions.

The No. 44 sister car impressed too, coming home fourth after a metronomic run on John Hartshorne’s final Le Mans start.

Iron Dames’ Lamborghini completed the top five with a solid performance, but Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting were aiming higher. Adding to what has been a brutal start to the WEC and ELMS seasons for the all-female-crewed team, they struggled to fully recover from being side-swiped by the No. 4 Penske Porsche in the early hours of the race on the Porsche Curves.

There were a number of other storylines to follow, both good and bad.

As a whole this was a hugely impressive outing for AKKODIS ASP and its pair of Lexus RC F LMGT3s. Following a tough start to life as a Lexus customer, Jerome Policand’s team were often in the mix for a podium through the first 16 hours.

United Autosports’ first effort at Le Mans as a McLaren partner team was also head-turning. It is clear that the British LMP2-winning team is making rapid progress with the LMGT3 EVO from the Woking marque. Both cars had pace and cycled into the top three at various points — suffering mechanical dramas and retiring late in the race is simply unfortunate.

Manthey Pure Rxcing and Heart of Racing also could have won come Sunday afternoon had they not hit trouble.

The Lithuanian Porsche crew that stood out firmly from the pack in the WEC races prior to Le Mans burned through most of Alex Malykhin’s Bronze driver time by nightfall. They’d built a lead before gearbox trouble dropped the car out of contention in the early hours.

Heart of Racing, meanwhile, missed out on a chance to score the 2024 Vantage AMR its first major endurance win when Daniel Mancinelli ended up on his roof at Indianapolis after going backwards into the tires at the kink at high speed.

What about Corvette, and its new Z06 LMGT3.Rs from TF Sport? Making the finish quickly became the aim as the pace wasn’t there.

Both Vettes made it to the line and achieved their target after suffering from various ailments, the highest place of the two being the No. 82 which finished 11th.

“We made it to the end, which is an amazing accomplishment,” reflected Daniel Juncadella.

“We lost the clutch six or seven hours in, so that was quite insane. I’m very happy with the result considering some of the difficulties today. We got behind by three laps but finished two laps back, so that is encouraging.

“All in all, it was a great first experience for me at Le Mans. I had a lot of driving in all conditions, and the Corvette handled very good. It actually got better throughout the race, and I’m quite happy with that. Thanks to TF Sport, the guys at GM Corvette Racing and Pratt Miller for all their work this week. It’s such a pleasure to be part of such a big program. I’m looking forward to many more.”


Story originally appeared on Racer