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Ferrari 2024 Le Mans: Two in a Row

That’s back-to-back for Ferrari at Lemans, having won last year and backing it up again just over the past weekend for 2024.  If you look back over the list of winners at Le Mans, there have been numerous times that car marques have won twice in a row, even four or five times in a row, sometimes with the same driver.  Only 14 seconds behind the Ferrari, Toyota was nipping at its heels the whole day, er… and night.  It’s great to have a red car with the prancing horse back on top, Toyota having won 5 consecutive years running from 2018–2022.

So what makes the Ferrari 499P or Toyota GR010 Hybrid race car so fast?  Great aerodynamics, strong reliability, excellent brakes, and epic performance.  The Ferrari 499P uses a mid-to-rear internal combustion engine (ICE), as well as a front-mounted electric motor.  These two powerplants combine to develop a maximum output of 500 kW to comply with the Le Mans race regulations of 29 Oct 2022.  The front-mounted electric motor, rated at 200 kW, draws its necessary electric power from a Formula 1-derived 900 V battery that recharges during deceleration and braking.  It provides power at speeds over 190 km/h.  The hybrid power is linked and fed though to a seven-speed sequential transmission.  The car was clocked just shy of 350 km/h, and the 0–100 km/h time takes about as much time as it does to complete this sentence! 

Le Mans 2024 was the 92nd 24-Hour Le Mans endurance race, and the fourth round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship.  The race began on 15th June 2024 and ended 16th June 2024 at the Circuit de la Sarthe track in Le Mans, France, which, in its present configuration, is 13.626 km long, making it one of the longest circuits in the world.  What makes this such an exciting event is that 85% of the lap time is spent on full throttle.  This, of course, puts immense pressure on the engine and the drivetrain’s components, and only cars that can withstand this torrid test of reliability can make it through the race and perhaps even win.  Brakes and suspension components also take a lot of abuse, as the race cars must slow from well over 300 km/h to around 100 km/h as quickly and as efficiently as possible to make it round the sharp corner at the village of Mulsanne.

Constant overnight rain created long periods where drivers were forced to drive with caution in the difficult conditions, thus having to limit their top speed at times.  Ferrari were able to overcome the wet conditions at Le Mans 2024 to beat Toyota and win the 24-hour race, yet it was another Ferrari 499P that took out third place as well.  It was as much a shout-out to the incredible skill of the drivers as it was to the marque.  Porsche took out fourth position, coming just over a second behind Ferrari’s number 51 car, while Toyota’s number eight car finished an impressive fifth.