The Autodromo di Monza hosts the fourth stop on the World Endurance Championship calendar. Four classes of race cars will manage six hours around the 3.6-mile “Temple of Speed”; a quarter of the duration of Le Mans.
Glickenhaus from Pole Position
The American boutique automobile manufacturer started the six hours at the front on pole position, at 12:00 pm at the Autodromo Nationale Monza. In the first three races of the season, the Hypercar class has seen three different winners. The #7 and #8 Toyota GR cars, and the #36 Alpine. The #708 Glickenhaus SCG007 took pole outright on Saturday for the first time in the team’s short history.
At the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, the Glickenhaus team had two Hypercars running, but they only ran the #708 in Monza.
The #708 car, piloted by Romain Dumas, covered off the rest of the Hypercar field into Turn One. Dumas locked up under braking into the notorious chicane. After the first few corners of Lap One, the polesitter had built a gap between himself, and the battle for P2 behind.
The gap between the leading Glickenhaus and Sebastien Buemi in the #7 Toyota had increased to five seconds. The latter was busy battling with the #36 Alpine, the two swapped places several times.
Full Course Yellow – The two Toyotas pitted to top off their fuel under the FCY. This was a very cheap stop for them. Glickenhaus and Alpine chose to stay out and maintain track position. The FCY was caused by a collision between an LMP2 and a GTE car. The car was beached in the gravel and required removal.
After the race restarted, the #93 Peugeot Hypercar that made its debut at Monza, slowed with power unit issues. The team was unable to “just jiggle” the dead car to the pitlane. So, another FCY was issued to help the Peugeot return safely into the pitlane.
The #708 Glickenhaus used the second FCY as their opportunity to pit. Track position was shuffled around slightly until the next driver changed in Hypercar.
After one hour of racing at Monza, Dumas had extended the Glickenhaus team’s lead. The #708 car was more than 30 seconds from the Alpine, the pair of Toyotas, then the pair of Peugeots.
Traffic paradise 🏝 https://t.co/GYwrTZoEka— Alpine Endurance Team (@SignatechAlpine) July 10, 2022
Buemi was on a double stint in the #8 car, so he stopped for tires and fuel near the top of the hour. They lost track position to the healthy #94 Peugeot. Lopez in the #7 did the same. Alpine pitted and changed to Andre Negrao; Peugeot swapped their driver as well.
Dumas drove a mighty first stint for Glickenhaus, so they were the last hypercar to make a driver change. They were so far out in front, that they maintained track position after they pitted to get Luis Felipe Derani in the #708.
Full Course Yellow – A cheap pit stop opportunity emerged under the third FCY of this race. Toyota reacted by pitting the #8 so that Brendon Hartley could take over, and the #7 for tires.
Glickenhaus had a substantial gap at the front, so they decided to come in for fuel and a windshield tear-off. It looked as though they were in a terrific position with the race until they were placed under investigation.
The stewards noted that the #708 exceeded the maximum speed during an FCY. The argument for that has to do with the safety of the race marshalls who might be cleaning up debris or repairing a barrier.
The #33 TF Sport car was late on the brakes into the second chicane, which caused the Aston Martin to awkwardly hit the run-off curb. The GTE AM car was launched sideways into the air, landed on its roof, and slid into the wall; fortunately, the driver was unharmed.
Toyota Gazoo Racing
This incident brought out the first Safety Car of the race. By this point, the #7 Toyota was in the first position, followed by Glickenhaus, and the sister Toyota car.
The stewards had concluded their investigation of the FCY infraction by the Glickenhaus team; they were hit with a stop-go penalty. From this, the #708 reemerged in the fourth position, but it wouldn’t matter.
The polesitter that led most of the race, the underdog Glickenhaus, suffered a blown engine after Derani rejoined the track.
With the #708 safely in the Glickenhaus garage, Toyota was looking at a possible 1-2 finish in Monza. Hartley led for the Japanese manufacturers in the #8 car, while the #36 Alpine was making up ground rapidly.
Peugeot Sport also benefitted from the retirement of the #708, their struggling #94 car moved up to fourth place in Hypercar.
Alpine Elf Matmut
Nicolas Lapierre in #36 closed up the gap to Hartley in #8. The blue and red Alpine went for a move into Turn One that appeared to stick on Hartley until he recovered the position with a move of his own.
Lapierre pressed the issue again in the next few laps until he out-braked himself into Turn One and bailed out to the run-off area.
For a short while, the #94 Peugeot was relegated to the garage to undergo diagnostics and repairs. The new team was able to get one of their cars back out on track, but not the other.
The #8 Toyota pitted for fuel and tires, but they did not elect to swap their driver. Then the #7 pitted at the same time as the #36 to make driver changes. Alpine led after this round of pit stops.
In a tight battle between the leader, the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, and Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #36, the cars touched on the famous start-finish straight. Kobayashi believed that he was ahead of Vaxiviere, and when he went to tuck in front of the Frenchman, he misjudged his clearance.
The #7 car lost some rear-right bodywork, suffered a puncture, and just avoided the barrier. The Alpine was on its own line, and Kobyashi was the one who “squeezed,” so #7 was placed under investigation.
This incident required another FCY to clear up the carbon debris, a late-race opportunity to gain a cheap pitstop.
The #36 car had no damage, but the #7 was forced to come into the pits to replace the damaged bodywork. Like on all prototype cars, many parts are easy to replace in the pitlane. Toyota was able to replace the rear wing, right-rear wheel cover, and diffuser.
When #7 got back out on track, they received a 90-second penalty for the collision. They were forced to pit and hold their car for 90 seconds.
Both the #8 and the #36 went in for their final pit stops of the race to ensure that they have enough fuel and tire tread to make it to the checkered flag.
The hybrid Toyotas filled out the overall podium, as well as the Hypercar podium.
The new team in the Hypercar class, Peugeot Sport, managed to take the checkered flag after six hours; the #94 and #93 cars finished P4 and P6, respectively. They will be pleased with this result, as Monza is the most thorough testing that the Peugeot 9×8 has undergone.
Author’s Note: I have been awake for over 24 hours, watching WEC on one screen and F1 on another. Stay tuned for my Austrian GP breakdown.