Italian Ferrari ended a 50-year absence from the 24 Hours of Le Mans by toppling Japanese Toyota on Sunday in the centenary running of the most iconic car race in the world.
Ferrari last competed at Le Mans in 1973 but returned to Circuit de la Sarthe this year as part of a new hyperclass category that features hybrid technology.
Toyota was dealt a blow before the race even began when race officials this week added weight to the dominant GR010s in a controversial “balance of performance” adjustment designed to level the playing field.
Ferrari, in a pair of 499Ps, pounced, sweeping the front row in qualifying and handling every challenge from Toyota. Its chances were aided overnight when Kamui Kobayashi was wrecked out of the race, making it two versus one in favor of Ferrari.
The team of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi — with Ferrari Formula One driver Charles Leclerc in the garage watching — was the easy winner while completing 342 laps of the 8.467-mile track, the fewest by the victor since 2001.
“It’s emotional. Unbelievable. I have no words,” Giovinazzi, a former F1 driver, told Eurosport television.