The final Day of 24 Hours of Le Mans
Welcome to the final part of our blog from 24 Hours of Le Mans. If you've been following our Zuto/PH Team, you'll have already seen some great photos of the preparation and the journey, now you can drool over photos of the circuit, the nightlife and, of course, the cars on the final day's racing.
As Sunday afternoon approached, the race was still too close to call, however, none of us could have anticipated the drama about to unfold. For the entire race there had barely been more than a minute between first and second in any of the classes. But in one of the most heartbreaking finishes ever seen, Toyota were denied victory not by a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre, but by an engine failure with just one lap to go, which gifted the win to Porsche.
Having raced for 23 hours and 57 minutes, the Japanese manufacturer was denied its maiden Le Mans victory. Instead having to settle for yet another second place - the fourth time they have had to do so. Elsewhere in the field, there was further controversy still, as the second place GTE Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella was given a frivolous stop and go penalty.
This would have handed the Ford GTs the 1, 2, 3 finish they so desperately wanted to replicate 50 years after they last accomplished the feat. Fisichella refused to pit though, finishing second and splitting the Fords, with the penalty later being annulled.
Away from the track, the PH/Zuto team took in the action, just as shocked as everyone else at what they were seeing. Once the race was over we were allowed out onto the circuit to walk from the famous Dunlop Curves down to the pit straight, where so much of the action we watched had unfolded.
Despite the way the race had ended, everybody was in a celebratory mood and both the Bleu Nord and Premier Vert campsites joined in with the party, which continued late (perhaps a little too) into the night.
Having fallen asleep without the sound of racing cars flying past for what seemed like the first time in weeks, the team went their separate ways on Monday morning. Some of the Zuto contingent carried on to the Nurburgring to live out their own racing driver fantasies, whilst the PH staff travelled in convoy back to the UK.
We’d all like to say a huge thank you to everyone who attended and helped to make an incredible race into an unforgettable event. Thank you also to Brian and the staff at 1st Tickets for their hospitality at the campsites, which made things even more enjoyable still!
We all look forward to the next PistonHeads and Zuto collaboration, and to seeing you again next year at Le Mans 2017!
Read more about the Zutonites & PHers at Le Mans 2016:
Part 1: Preparations & The Journey to Le Mans 2016
Part 2: Day One at Le Mans and the Race Kick-Off