LE MANS, France – The pair of Toyota Gazoo Racing hybrids remained in command as the 87th annual 24 Hours of Le Mans wound past its halfway point at Circuit de la Sarthe.
After a slightly-longer pit stop compared to his teammates, Kamui Kobayashi took over the No. 7 TS050 Hybrid from Mike Conway and held an 8.623-second advantage over Sebastien Buemi at the 12-hour mark.
Toyota’s pair of leading cars have completed 189 tours of the historic Circuit de la Sarthe with 12 hours remaining in the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic.
The No. 3 Rebellion Racing R13-Gibson sits two laps down in third overall, after rallying from an earlier pit stop issue where the team lost more than a minute of on-track time due to being wedged in between two other entries on pit lane.
The No. 11 SMP Racing BR1-AER and the sister No. 1 Rebellion Racing car complete the top five with 12 hours of 24 in the books.
The track will now be under complete darkness until its closing hours on Sunday morning.
In LMP2, the No. 26 G-Drive Racing entry of Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Job van Uitert continues to lead over the No. 36 Signatech Alpine machine of Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet.
That duo now sits sixth and seventh in the overall classification, with the top five positions being held by the leading LMP1 runners.
In GTE-Pro, the Porsche GT Team led the way over the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, with the No. 92 squad of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor out in front of the top-level GT field.
Those two teams sit 20 laps off the overall lead, classified in 25th and 26th.
Just as at the six-hour benchmark, the No. 85 Keating Motorsports Ford GT of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga led the GTE-Am class at halfway, with a two minute and 26 second lead over the No. 90 TF Sport Aston Martin of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Euan Hankey.
The top two GTE-Am class cars sit 37th and 38th overall in the 61-car field, 24 laps off the lead.
Through 12 hours, only one car – the No. 64 Corvette Racing C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler – has retired from the event, after Fassler was involved in a hefty shunt during the sixth hour at the Porsche Curves.