LE MANS: Ferrari won the centenary edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans after a late pitstop drama today to take Maranello’s first overall victory in 58 years and deny Toyota a sixth successive triumph in the world’s oldest active endurance race.
The No 51 Ferrari AF Corse driven by Italian Alessandro Pier Guidi, a car shared with Antonio Giovinazzi and Britain’s James Calado, took the chequered flag ahead of the No 8 Toyota.
It was Ferrari’s first overall success at the Sarthe circuit since 1965, when American Masten Gregory and Austrian Formula One driver Jochen Rindt won in a 250LM car.
But it was nail-biting to the end.
Guidi failed to get going from the final stop, the Ferrari remaining immobile as Toyota mechanics looked on in disbelief, wondering if a stunning victory might after all be snatched from impending defeat.
The Italian started after a reset but the Ferrari’s lead was slashed to 51 seconds before the No 8 Toyota’s final pitstop.
Ferrari started with both the 50 and 51 cars on Saturday’s front row, a first in 50 years for the marque that waged epic battles with Ford in the 1960s before leaving in 1973 and then returning this year to the Hypercar category.