24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 Live Stream
Hour 3:02: The issue with the #11 SMP Racing LMP1 entry is a sensor failure deep in the car, according to Jenson Button. That car has been in the garage for a good while, but its team entry runs third overall.
Hour 3:00: After being broken apart over the past few stints, the leading GTE-Pro Porsches are back to running together in lock step. They are just five seconds ahead of the top Ford, now the #68 of Sebastien Bourdais.
Hour 2:49: And now, an important update from the world feed director:
The Ford GT engineers that they keep cutting to are now eating dinner. They seem pretty relaxed about the whole thing.
Hour 2:34: Porsche and Ford currently has full control of the top six positions in GTE-Pro. The #91 and #92, the retro-liveried Porsches based in Europe, have held down the top two spots throughout the majority of the race to date.
Hour 2:29: Fernando Alonso enters the #8 Toyota. His first laps at Le Mans will be from the overall lead.
Hour 2:15: The slow zone from Mulsanne corner to Arnage has ended. Track is fully green.
Hour 2:05: The guardrails near Indianapolis are still undergoing repairs after the #86 incident, and that slow zone has been active for nearly thirty minutes. A strange thing for drivers, particularly since it comes right before the fastest and most rhythmic set of corners on the circuit.
Hour 1:36: The #86 Gulf Racing Porsche, once a leader in GTE-Am, spins at full speed in the corner leading into Indianapolis and finds itself lodged in the wall in the named corner. Moderate, repairable damage for that entry. Stewards call a slow zone from Mulsanne corner to Arnage, the first of the race.
The #51 Spirit of Race (AF Corse) Ferrari leads that category, with Giancarlo Fisichella behind the wheel.
Hour 1:26: The gap from the Toyotas to the private LMP1 cars is now up to a minute and a half. Those cars are on pace to lose about a minute per hour, and the three safety car system here should preserve any chunk of lead larger than 1:15 or so.
Hour 1:14: The #31 LMP2 entry of Nathaniel Berthon has lost a wheel in Indianapolis. Somehow, this happens about three times a year at this race.
That car led in class earlier in the race. The #26 G-Drive car now leads that class.
Hour 1:10: Eurosport appears to be employing Tom Kristensen in the role of Kenny “The Jet” Smith on TNT’s Inside the NBA. They have shown him re-playing the start for tenminutes and, by extent, have not shown live on-track action in exactly as much time. No word on whether or not there are light rains on a sunny day again.
The studio host is wearing a shirt with foxes on it. Not, like, side-views of foxes repeating in a small pattern. A very large-print pattern of foxes, face-on, making eye contact with the viewer.
Toyota still holds the top two spots overall.
Hour 0:55: The #6 CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetta (That’s the Manor team, for those keeping score of irreverent name changes at home) has slowed on the course. That car was running sixth overall, last of the healthy LMP1 entrants.
Hour 00:54: The fastest entries from SMP Racing and Rebellion in LMP1 have both put in fastest laps about two and a half seconds behind the best work by the Toyotas.
Hour 00:52: The #85 Keating Motorsports GTE-Am Ferrari has a high speed off early in the Porsche curves, a perfect pirouette into the gravel. It rejoins with minimal damage.
Hour 00:48: The #48 IDEC Sport LMP2 entry, polesitter in class and currently running fourth, is under investigation for a pit lane infraction. In a field that close, falling behind early would not be great, per se.
Hour 00:39: Stops have begun for GTE-Pro as we move past the mandatory-length opening stint. The class will also have a required stint length for the end of the race, for some reason.
In weather news, the track is no longer damp. The sun is still the same amount of out.
Hour 00:34: Significant bits of side-by-side action through Indianapolis and Arnage for both BMW M8s, one of the Fords, and one of the Corvettes for a position outside of the top ten in GTE-Pro. Every car in that class, save the debuting Aston Martins, is closer to the class leader than the leading LMP1 privateer is to the pair of Toyotas leading overall.
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Hour 00:28: The track is damp and the sun is out. This has been the case for a solid 20 minutes, though, so maybe that’s just how the French countryside works.
After a fiftieth of the race, the SMP racing cars are thirty seconds behind the Toyotas. At that pace, they’ll finish between ten and fifteen laps behind. That gives those cars enough time for a minor issue each, a luxury the overall winner has often been afforded in past years, but not a major one.
Hour 00:16: The only Le Mans tradition more grand than the ACO-approved world feed spending ten minutes of every hour showing engineers in folding chairs watching a race that we can’t watch because the director of that race is showing engineers in folding chairs may well be the GTE-Pro field not actually spreading out until around hour 4. This is again the case, with the top fifteen all within as many seconds of the leaders. The European-based Porsches, the #91 and #92 in the retro liveries, have a two second field on that gaggle of factory-backed cars.
Hour 00:10: The Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 LMP2 entry is having some issues and is already in the garage. This has been a difficult first ten minutes in both Prototype classes.
The track has been declared wet as light rains roll in for the first time today. Light rains are likely to become the pattern of the race.
Or it could just start storming. Who knows?!
Hour 00:03: The #17 SMP Racing entry has slotted into third overall and in LMP1 after a lap, the beneficiary of the Rebellion team’s woes. The #2 Rebellion still sits in fourth, and still within reach of the top three, but the #1 was the clear favorite among that team and the car most likely to have given the Toyotas a real fight.
Nathaniel Berthon has the DragonSpeed #31 in the front in LMP2, passing the polesitting #48 IDEC car on the first lap. The #91 and #92 Porsches are ahead in GTE-Pro, while GTE-Am is still in the control of the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche.
Hour 00:01: The race is green at exactly 3 PM local time. Unfortunately, the ByKolles LMP1 entry has already had an issue firing on the pace lap. Again.
The Toyotas are clear into the lead, despite an aggressive move to to the outside in turn 1 by a Rebellion. Three cars spin on the opening lap into the Dunlop Curves, and all but one of the Rebellion cars, the #1, emerge without damage. That #1 has already lost its front bodywork and will need to be repaired immediately, but should be able to continue. The #8 leads the Toyota set and the race overall.
Hour 0:00: This is an odd year at the world’s greatest test of automotive endurance. With Porsche’s recent exit, just Toyota is left as a factory entrant in LMP1, but the class has more significant privateer entries than it has at any other point in the FIA World Endurance Championship era. Fernando Alonso’s #8 is the favored of the two Toyota entries, but just two simple issues could open the overall race to a private team with no factory affiliation for the first time in a very long time.
In LMP2, the year is much more traditional. A tight, wide open field could go to almost anyone, and nearly every car has at least one driver that would not be out of place in an IndyCar on the entry list. The class is 15-deep, and every entry should have a real shot to win the race in-class; If the relatively untested field of LMP1 privateers fail, they will have the chance to win the race overall.
GTE, still split here into GTE-Pro and GTE-Am as it has been throughout the FIA WEC era, makes up exactly half of the grid, but debuts for Aston Martin and BMW may have some issues keeping up with better-tested cars from Porsche, Ferrari, Corvette, and Ford. It is the Porsches, decked out in tribute liveries and unburdened by the company’s focus on LMP1 of previous years, that have led throughout the weekend. Whether or not that continues through the race is about to be decided.