Toyota Remains Unbeaten in WEC Hypercar Era With 1-2 Finish at Portimao

·2 min read
Photo credit: James Moy Photography - Getty Images
Photo credit: James Moy Photography - Getty Images

A COVID-related delay has pushed the 24 Hours of Le Mans out of its traditional June date for the second time in two years, extending Toyota's road to their fourth consecutive win in the 24 hour classic another two months. That road started with a WEC win at Spa, and it continues today with the second win in as many races for their GR010 Hypercars.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

The LMH class is off to a rocky start, and today's race was no exception. The Toyotas, and the lone grandfathered-in Signatech Alpine entry based on a 2020 Gibson LMP1 car, were only about a second a lap faster than the LMP2 class around the Portimao circuit, meaning the Hypercar class beat out their would-be undercard by just four laps of the 3-mile circuit over eight hours. But it was enough to allow the LMH entries to compete amongst themselves, and the Alpine briefly looked fast enough to do so.

The Gibson-based car started on pole and led early, at one point even setting a faster in-race lap than either Toyota, but the Toyotas ran much longer over the course of a fuel run, cutting a stop over the race's final three hours to win by over a minute. Toyota No. 8, the car that won at Spa and run by Sebastian Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Brendon Hartley, would end up being the winner after team orders forced the No. 7 to slow and take second in the final 20 minutes of the race. The Alpine finished third, rounding out the class and overall podiums.

Further back in LMH, the debuting No. 709 SCG 007 of Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus finished 54 laps behind the leaders after early contact with GTE-Am entries caused some serious mechanical damage. While the crash derailed their race today, more concerning for the SCG team is the car's actual performance, with the car putting down a best lap 1.5 seconds off the leading pace of the Toyotas and Alpine.

Future Ferrari LMH partner AF Corse finished 1-2 in GTE-Pro, while JOTA completed a 1-2 of their own in LMP2. Cetilar Racing completed a Ferrari sweep of the GT classes, winning by six seconds in GTE-Am.

The FIA World Endurance Championship races just once more before the delayed Le Mans takes place in August. That six hour race, scheduled at Monza, is set to be run on July 18th.

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