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24H Le Mans

Nakajima Leads Toyota 1-2 in Warmup

Toyota’s domination continues in warm-up at Le Mans…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing continued to live up to its favorite tag for the 24 Hours of Le Mans by storming to a one-two finish in the final warm-up session on Saturday morning at Circuit de la Sarthe.

Kazuki Nakajima headed up the time sheets with a fastest lap time of 3:18.308 in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, edging out compatriot and pole-sitter Kamui Kobayashi by three-tenths.

Nakajima and Kobayashi turned in late laps to beat Porsche’s Nick Tandy to P1, the Briton having led the field for much of the session with a lap of 3:20.120. It was ultimately good enough for third overall, 1.8 seconds behind Nakajima.

Yuji Kunimoto finished fourth in the No. 9 Toyota, while Brendon Hartley rounded out the LMP1 hybrids in fifth for Porsche.

LMP2 saw pole-sitter Alex Lynn carry his qualifying pace through to warm-up as he finished 2.4 seconds clear of the field in the No. 26 G-Drive Oreca 07 Gibson. 

Julien Canal was second fastest for Vaillante Rebellion Racing in the No. 31 Oreca, while Nelson Piquet Jr. finished third in the sister No. 13 car.

Ford Chip Ganassi finally hit the front of the pack in GTE-Pro courtesy of Ryan Briscoe, whose lap of 3:51.789 was enough to give the No. 69 Ford GT crew top spot. The time was also just half a second shy of the entry’s best effort in qualifying earlier in the week.

Following a Balance of Performance adjustment announced yesterday, Kevin Estre led Porsche GT Team to second in class, seven-tenths of a second shy of Briscoe’s lap, while Dirk Mueller was third-fastest in the No. 68 Ford, a further tenth of a second back.

GTE-Am was led by Andrea Bertolini in the N0. 83 DH Racing Ferrari 488 GTE after a late lap of 3:55.575, putting the Italian almost a second clear of the class field.

Ben Barker was second fastest for Gulf Racing in the No. 86 Porsche 911 RSR, with Klaus Bachler third in the No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche.

The drivers will next hit the track for the race start at 3 p.m. local time (10 a.m. ET) in Le Mans.


Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.


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