The 2016 Le Mans 24 race has been a rollercoaster event with Toyota suffering a heart-breaking mechanical failure minutes before the race ended. Ford relives the past.
The 84th running of the Le Mans 24 hour endurance race has been nothing short of dramatic and chaotic. An unlucky mechanical failure forced the #5 Toyota car to stop 3 minutes before the end of the race denying the Japanese manufacturer their first ever overall victory at the 24 hours Le Mans. This allowed the #2 Porsche car to grab the podium and a rather unlikely win in the LMP1 category. In brighter news the #68 Ford car grabbed the top spot in the GTE Pro category. It’s been exactly 50 years since Ford dominated the Le Mans with the original GT40 and although the 2016 victory wasn’t a dream 1-2-3 finish, Ford will be very pleased with the result especially considering their poor performance across the season.
The 2016 Le Mans race began under the safety car for the first time in the history of the race. This allowed the top LMP1 contenders – Porsche, Audi and Toyota to trade places as they frantically struggled in the harsh elements. Once green flagged, both the Audi cars and the #1 Porsche began facing severe mechanical issues which put the Toyota’s in a prime position. However, on the final lap of the race, disaster struck the Japanese racing team as their car ground to a halt because of an engine failure. The car didn’t even classify, having failed to make it to the chequered flag. Members of the Toyota team were seen in tears as Porsche grabbed the pole position. Toyota’s misfortune shocked everyone at the event. In the LMP2 category, the Signatech Alpine’s A460 Nissan made it to the pole position and in the lowest GTE AM category the #62 Ferrari made it to the top spot. Porsche claimed their 18th outright victory this year at the Le Mans with Porsche drivers Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, who tasted LMP1 success for the first time in their careers. Driving the GTE Pro winning Ford GT were drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and Sébastien Bourdais.
The 2016 Le Mans saw a record amount of rainfall but this didn’t stop fans from watching the race. This year over 260,000 fans where present and experienced an unbelievable show of climaxes in the history of the sport. Truly an amazing year at the prestigious Circuit de la Sarthe!
Image Source: Topgear