Toyota's historic fifth win: the story of Le Mans 2022


Toyota took a historic fifth consecutive Le Mans victory in the 90th running of the famous race with drama right the way down the field


Flawless performance brought Toyota a fifth-consecutive Le Mans victory


In the end, it took a virtually flawless performance to win the 90th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, as the No8 Toyota GR010 Hypercar crossed the line after a metronomic display.

It was a fifth consecutive win for Toyota and a fourth for Sebastien Buemi who took the top step of the podium alongside team newcomer Ryo Hirakawa and Brendon Hartley, who qualified the car on pole.

The No7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria López came in second; its challenge neutered by a small issue with the motor that cost it a lap, while nearest challengers Glickenhaus finished five laps down in third.

“I was overwhelmed with emotions when I crossed the line,” said Hartley, who won the race for the third time. “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.

LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 11: The #07 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez in action at the Le Mans 24 Hours Race on June 11, 2022 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by James Moy Photography/Getty Images)

Toyota ultimately went unchallenged in 1-2 performance, despite issues for second car

James Moy Photography/Getty Images

“During the whole race you are trying not to think about the finish because we have seen what can happen in the last laps, particularly with Toyota. So when you cross the line, all the emotions come out and it’s a great feeling.”

“It’s hard for me to express myself after that race because it’s just an amazing feeling, especially to be in the centre of the podium with Ryo and Brendon,” added Buemi. “It will take a little bit of time before it sinks in because it’s hard to realise what we achieved today.”

“We were flat-out for so long” Brendon Hartley

Despite some doubts over the reliability of the car’s hybrid system, Toyota set a fierce pace from the moment that the flag dropped on Saturday afternoon. The cars quickly raced away from the rest of the field, mostly running within seconds of each other for 16 hours, as the lead changed several times. “We were flat-out for so long,” said Hartley.

Just before 8am, however, the No7 car pulled over to the side of the track as Lopez reset the car after a problem with the front motor, and then headed to the pits where more hurried software resets cleared the issue.

The glitch had cost a lap and it gave the No8 car breathing space to focus on the finish.

709 BRISCOE Ryan (aus), WESTBROOK Richard (gbr), MAILLEUX Franck (fra), Glickenhaus Racing, Glickenhaus 007 LMH, action during the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans, 3rd round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, on the Circuit de la Sarthe, from June 11 to 12, 2022 in Le Mans, France - Photo Joao Filipe / DPPI

Glickenhaus impressed in 3-4 finish but ultimately had no answer to Toyota

Joao Filipe / DPPI

“After car No7 had their problem we backed off and took minimal risk,” said Hartley.

The result was predictable but the almost faultless feat no less impressive, which will give next year’s Hypercar entrants plenty to think about.

Ahead of the race, Toyota’s pace had been checked by the Balance of Performance mechanism, which raised the speed at which its hybrid system could be deployed ahead, and Glickenhaus was positive about its chances of victory.

The team qualified a second off the pace and was within 20sec of the Toyotas after the first hour, but would soon hit problems, the No709 car having to replace a sensor in the second hour, eventually finishing five laps down. The 708 machine sustained damage after Olivier Pla spun at Tertre Rouge and damaged his suspension. A delay getting the car restarted, a slow in-lap and the repair work cost the best part of half an hour but it did finish fourth, ten laps down.

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Even so, the team could count itself more fortunate than the hapless Alpine outfit, which finished 18 laps off the leader. The team was already eight laps behind the lead after two lengthy stops to repair the electronic clutch unit and then the ignition coil.

Its woes were compounded by a drive-through penalty in the fourth hour for speeding in pitlane, for a team which had felt aggrieved even before the Tricolour fell, as the French outfit had been hit with a BoP power reduction for its impressive showing in qualifying.

“The race promised to be difficult, and it has been for several reasons,” said team boss Phillipe Sinault. “First of all due to a lack of top speed, which put us in difficulty in traffic.

“We were behind even though we were able to challenge the Glickenhaus when we could take advantage of clear laps.

“There was some confusion when the race director’s radio broke when we entered the slow zone. Nicolas slowed down, but we were accused of speeding and had to respect this penalty as the time limit for contesting it had almost passed.


JOTA took a dominant LMP2 win


“Lastly, our two problems with the electronic clutch control unit and the coil are incredibly frustrating as they have never been an issue before.”

The LMP2 class – which had been billed as the main competitive attraction this year at La Sarthe – saw a showdown of 28 cars, with a first incident happening just seconds into the race.

Rene Rast had taken pole in his No31 WRT, shared with Sean Galael and Robin Frijns, but was involved in a collision following the LMP2 leaders going four-wide at the start.

Rast connected with his No41 team-mate Ferdinand Habsburg and the No22 United Autosports car of Will Owen, sending the latter spinning into the first corner gravel trap.

The German was handed a one-minute penalty but would ultimately DNF whilst Owen and his team-mates Phillipe Albequerque and Phillip Hanson dragged their car up to tenth in class by the end.

Rast was far from happy with proceedings: “I followed what the race director said, I followed the rules,” he said. “I was accelerating when it was green, but by that time I had already apparently a few cars next to me, which I wasn’t expecting at all.

“On my right hand side I saw Kubica, but I didn’t expect to have somebody on my left and I didn’t know there was somebody. So I think they all jumped the start and it took me by surprise, obviously.”

LMP2 victory would ultimately go to the dominant No38 Jota team of Antonio Felix da Costa, Will Stevens and Roberto Gonzalez, finishing almost two and a half minutes ahead of the No9 WRT of Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Lorenzo Colombo.

01 WADOUX Lilou (fra), OGIER Sébastien (fra), MILESI Charles (fra), Richard Mille Racing Team, Oreca 07 - Gibson, action during the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans, 3rd round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, on the Circuit de la Sarthe, from June 11 to 12, 2022 in Le Mans, France - Photo Joao Filipe / DPPI

Ogier put in solid Le Mans debut race

Joao Filipe / DPPI

Further down the field, seven-time WRC champion Sébastien Ogier made his Le Mans debut in the No1 Richard Mille car along with 2021 LMP2 Le Mans winner Charles Milesi and Lilou Wadoux – the team took a top-10 finish in class, coming home ninth.

The LM GTE Pro class, running for the last ever time as WEC prepares to switch to GT3 machinery in 2024, could and probably have been about the dominant Corvette team, but it all fell apart for the two American entries after leading the way in the first few hours.

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The No63 car of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg had to retire with suspension failure, but the No64 of Alexander Sim, Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner looked in the box seat to win the category.

After leading early on, Sim and co had to concede their lead due a brake change, but then fought back to lead once more after the No92 Porsche had a puncture and crashed spectacularly.

This meant the No64 had over a minute on hand over its rivals when it was sideswiped by the No83 AF Corse LMP2 of François Perrodo with six hours remaining, sending Sims into the barriers and out of the race.

“It was a huge, huge shame,” Sims said to Sportscar365. “We had a bit of a setback early in the race, but we stuck at it and our pace was sensational at times, to put some of the laps in that we did.

“The car was working so well and was so hooked up. We got back into the race and then got into a position where we had a pit stop advantage on the Ferrari. It was all looking really good.

“I was driving down the straight and one of the prototypes just mid-judged things.”

33 KEATING Ben (usa), CHAVES Henrique (prt), SORENSEN Marco (dnk), TF Sport, Aston Martin Vantage AMR, pitlane, during the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans, 3rd round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship, on the Circuit de la Sarthe, from June 11 to 12, 2022 in Le Mans, France - Photo Joao Filipe / DPPI

Keating avenged ’19 DSQ with GTE Am win

Joao Filipe / DPPI

Sims also told that “The fact you know you won’t get another chance does make it somewhat difficult to swallow.”

Left to pick up the GTE Pro pieces went was the No91 Porsche of Gianmari Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki, the entry winning its first WEC race since Silverstone in 2019.

IN GTE Am, Ben Keating made up for his 2019 disqualification by winning in the No33 TF Sport Aston Martin, winning by 44sec from No79 Porsche 911, whilst another Vantage, the No98, filled out the podium.

Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender made his Le Mans debut for Porsche, he and team-mates bring home the No 16th in class (out of 23) and 51st overall.