Brendon Hartley Wins His Third 24H Le Mans Title

An outstanding third Le Mans 24 Hour win for Giltrap Group sponsored Brendon Hartley this week cements him as one of the most accomplished endurance racers in the world.

Brendon Hartley had the honour of crossing the finish line to take the chequered flag at the weekends’ Le Mans 24 hour race, the young Kiwi’s third win of the iconic event. Sharing driving duties with Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa, Giltrap Group sponsored Hartley drove a brilliant race in the Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 GR010 HYBRID, completing 380 laps to deliver Toyota Gazoo Racing their fifth Le Mans victory and finish in front of a passionate crowd.

The outstanding result marks Sébastien’s fourth win sets a new victory record for Swiss drivers while Brendon’s third triumph makes him New Zealand’s most successful Le Mans driver. A first win for Ryo, in his third Le Mans and his first with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, makes him the fifth Japanese driver to stand in the centre of the podium.

The race also saw the team secure their fourth one-two finish at Le Mans with last year’s winners, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, in the #7 GR010 HYBRID, crossing the line just 2mins 1.222secs behind Hartley for second.

“It’s a great achievement to get a one-two at Le Mans for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. It was a great feeling to be behind the wheel for qualifying and to get pole position, and it was even more special to take the race finish. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do that and I was overwhelmed with emotions when I crossed the line.” Said Hartley of the special milestone in his career.

“During the whole race you are trying not to think about the finish because we have seen what can happen in the last laps. So when you cross the line, all the emotions come out and it’s a great feeling. I am so happy for Ryo, who has integrated really well. We love him and he is a strong part of the team already. We also have a great relationship with the car #7 crew and it was fun to battle so hard with them for most of the race. We were flat-out for so long but after car #7 had a problem we backed off and took minimal risk.”

The two GR010 HYBRID Hypercars were the class of the field and engaged in a close battle at the front, with the lead changing hands several times as the race ebbed and flowed, with traffic, slow zones and track evolution all coming into play.

That contest continued for 16 hours, with the two cars running just a few seconds apart for most of that time. But the race changed decisively on lap 256 when the race-leading #7 car pulled to the side of the track following an issue relating to the front motor.

A system reset was performed and the car was able to return to the pits, where further resets solved the issue and allowed the #7 to continue at normal racing speed, albeit nearly a lap behind Brendon in the #8 GR010 HYBRID.

The result earned double points towards the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, which puts TOYOTA GAZOO Racing on top of the manufacturers’ standings after three races, 22 points ahead of Alpine. The drivers’ championship is wide open, with the #8 crew just three points of the leading Alpine trio, and #7 20 behind.

 

Hartley will now focus on the fight for World Championship honours in just four weeks at the 6 Hours of Monza on 10 July.

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