The No. 8 Toyota was quickest during practice Wednesday afternoon for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (ACO photo)

Toyota Shows Speed In Le Mans Drills

LE MANS, France — The first three-hour practice session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans is in the books at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe.

The No. 8 Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 handled by Brendon Hartley led the time sheet at the end of the session, having turned a best lap of 3:27.742 on the 13.626-kilometer road course. Hartley shares the No. 8 with Rye Hirakawa and Sebastien Buemi.

Second overall and in the Hypercar class was the Toyota team car wheeled by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, clocking just a tick slower at 3:27.875.

Cadillac was third with Earl Bamber turning the fast lap in the No. 2 entry shared by Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook.

Porsche Penske Motorsports machines rounded out the top five in the class with the No. 75 (Felipe Nasr, Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet) clocking in ahead of the No. 6 entry of Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor.

JOTA Autosport led the LMP2 class with a best circuit of 3:34.579 for co-drivers David Heinemeier Hansson, Pietro Fittipaldi and Oliver Rasmussen. Led by Marco Sorensen’s quick lap, the No. 42 Aston Martin fielded by GMB Motorsports led the parade in the LMGTE Am class. Sorensen’s co-drivers are Gustav Birch and Jens Reno Moller.

The JMW Motorsport’s No. 66 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, the fastest LMGTE Am car on Sunday’s Test Day, went off at the end of its third lap when Louis Prette got off in the Ford chicane. 

The red flag was unfurled halfway through the three-hour session when Steven Thomas in Tower Motorsports’ No. 13 Oreca contacted the stricken Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Casper Stevenson.

Former Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button in the Hendrick Motorsports’ NASCAR Garage 56 entry shaved over two seconds off the car’s previous best that Button himself had recorded shortly before the red flag. 

Qualifying takes place later this afternoon.