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Toyota Dominates 6 Hours of Portimao, Securing Second Victory of the Season



6 Hours of Portimao Toyota Dominates 2023

Hold on to your racing helmets! Toyota Gazoo Racing dominates the 2023 edition of the 6 Hours of Portimao, securing a victory with Ryo Hirakawa, Sébastien Buemi, and Brendon Hartley. The FIA World Endurance Championship’s second event saw fierce competition and thrilling moments, with United Autosports and Corvette Racing also claiming victories in their respective categories. Discover all the twists and turns of this high-octane race in our comprehensive coverage below.

Ryo Hirakawa, Sébastien Buemi, and Brendon Hartley (Toyota Gazoo Racing #8) have won the 2023 edition of the 6 Hours of Portimao, the second event of the FIA World Endurance Championship. This marks the second victory of the season for the Japanese manufacturer, who finished ahead of Nicklas Nielsen, Miguel Molina, and Antonio Fuoco (Ferrari AF Corse #50) as well as Michael Christensen, Fred Mako, and Dane Cameron (Porsche Penske Motorsport #6).

United Autosports triumphs in LMP2 with Josh Pierson, Oliver Jarvis, and Giedo van der Garde (United Autosports #23), while Corvette Racing secures another win in GTE with Nicky Catsburg, Ben Keating, and Nico Varrone #33.

6h Portimao, Hypercar: Toyota instills fear in all

At the start, Ferrari attempted to attack the two Toyotas of Mike Conway #7 and Sébastien Buemi #8. The Swiss driver lost a position to the 499P #51 of British James Calado, but the former FIA Formula E champion soon regained the lead over the Maranello car.

Toyota quickly left the competition behind, confirming their dominance as shown in yesterday’s qualifying. The reigning world champions began managing the race as they did a month ago in Sebring during the first official FIA WEC 2023 race. The two GR010 Hybrids led for over an hour, with Ferrari and Porsche trailing.

7 encounters issues, #8 remains alone


Kamui Kobayashi, José Maria Lopez, and Mike Conway (Toyota Gazoo Racing #7) prematurely lost their chance to win the 6 Hours of Portimao due to a transmission shaft problem. The FIA forced the team to stop in the pit, leaving Toyota with only the #8 car in the lead.

Séb Buemi became the sole leader with a 40-second gap over the two Ferraris, initially driven by Nielsen and Calado. Porsche held a provisional fourth place 4 hours and 30 minutes before the finish, ahead of the first official Peugeot.

Ferrari also faces minor issues

After 2 hours and 35 minutes, the Ferrari #51 of Antonio Giovinazzi also experienced minor issues. The Italian driver reported a mechanical issue with his 499P, and the Porsche #6 of Kevin Estre soon moved up to third place, ahead of Cadillac Racing #2 and Peugeot #94.

The uncertainty surrounding AF Corse’s second 499P ignited a battle for the last podium spot. The former F1 driver managed to close the gap on Porsche #6 of Estre, making his debut in prototypes this year after a long and successful experience in GT.

Toyota gains a lap advantage, SC at the end

Ryo Hirakawa, Sébastien Buemi, and Brendon Hartley (Toyota Gazoo Racing #8) gained a lap advantage over the rest of the field with just over an hour left. Everything changed minutes later when an accident in the second sector involving the #4 car of Jacques Villeneuve occurred. A brake failure for the Floyd Vanwall Racing Team prompted the Safety Car’s entrance, and the battle for second place suddenly reopened.


Toyota maintained its lead over rivals due to the lap advantage, while Antonio Fuoco #50 defended his position against André Lotterer #6 in the first official Porsche.

AF Corse’s Ferrari #51 had a complicated finale, as a brake issue forced Alessandro Pier Guidi to slow down considerably. Cadillac Racing #2 and Peugeot #94 finished in fourth and fifth place with Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, and Nico Müller.

6h Portimao, LMP2: United doubles up

Josh Pierson, Oliver Jarvis, and Giedo van der Garde (United Autosports #23) win the first European World Championship event after a perfect race. The American team triumphs ahead of teammates Ben Hanley, Philip Hanson, and Frederick Lubin #22, as well as Rui Andrade, Robert Kubica, and Louis Delétraz (WRT #41).

Doriane Pin (PREMA #63) initially surrendered the lead to WRT’s car #41 driven by Sean Gelael and the two Oreca cars from United Autosports. Ben Hanley #22 and Giedo van der Garde #23 soon managed to change the game, ranking first and second in the heart of the first hour after a determined attack on the young French driver and the former FIA F2 protagonist.

The first pit stop confirmed United Autosports #23 in the lead with van der Garde. The Dutch driver attempted to make a difference, while Pin made a strong comeback to the podium zone thanks to a swift pit stop by PREMA Racing.

United leading, PREMA believes


The pit stop game saw United stay ahead. Car #23 of Josh Pierson/Oliver Jarvis/Giedo van der Garde had to face the Oreca #63 from PREMA again, attacking with Mirko Bortolotti. The Trentino driver came within five seconds of the former Audi Sport driver, but a real battle never arrived.

With less than 2 hours remaining, the Italian team could return to the top thanks to a 5-second penalty imposed on car #23 for a pit stop infringement. Kvyat found himself leading sixty minutes from the end when the Safety Car entered the track due to issues with Vanwall #4.

The final pit stop to refuel changed the race, with United Autosport outsmarting PREMA, which had to give up the podium to WRT #41 with Rui Andrade/Robert Kubica/Louis Delétraz in the final minutes.

6h Portimao, GTE: Double victory for Chevy

Nicky Catsburg/Ben Keating/Nico Varrone (Corvette Racing #33) confirmed their Portimao victory a month after dominating Sebring. Another perfect day for the Americans, who managed to win ahead of Luis Perez Companc/Lilou Wadoux/Alessio Rovera (Richard Mille AF Corse #83/Ferrari) and Rahel Frey/Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting (Iron Dames #85/Porsche).

Ferrari vs Corvette and Porsche

Ferrari was immediately competitive in GTE Am with Diego Alessi. The AF Corse #21 driver made a difference at the starting lights, outsmarting Ben Keating (Corvette Racing #33) and Sarah Bovy (Iron Dames #85/Porsche). The American and the Belgian pursued their opponent, a teammate of Simon Mann/Ulysse de Pauw.


The situation remained the same in the second phase of the event, with Bovy slightly faster than her rivals in the second part of the stint. A solid performance for Corvette Racing, a team ‘slowed down’ by compensation based on the Sebring result.

The game changed in the second hour with Lilou Wadoux’s determined push. The promising French driver brought the 488 GTE #83 to the top of the GTE category standings, finishing at the top of the second hour after a fierce battle with Iron Dames #83, Corvette Racing #33, and AF Corse #21.

Iron Dames respond in the second part of the race, Corvette remains present

Rahel Frey increased the pace in the second part of the 6h Portimao race. The Swiss driver managed to extend her Porsche’s lead over the Corvette #33, entrusted to Nico Varrone for the occasion. Ferrari stayed in the game with two cars, the #54 from AF Corse and the #83 from Richard Mille AF Corse.

The easily recognizable Iron Dames’ 911 RSR-19 had to rebuild everything with less than 3 hours remaining after the third stop of the race. The pit stop indeed brought the Americans back to the forefront, with Argentine Varrone back on stage while waiting for the stint of Dutch driver Nicky Catsburg.

Corvette takes the lead and confirms its top position

Corvette Racing changed its pace two hours from the end, partly due to a spin in turn 1 by Rahel Frey. It was a mistake by the Swiss driver and a ‘gift’ for the Americans, who didn’t miss the opportunity to widen their lead.


The Iron Dames will have to settle for another significant podium finish, as Michelle Gatting won’t be able to keep up with Alessio Rovera’s comeback. An incredible pace for the Lombardy driver, who is present in the group with the colors of Richard Mille AF Corse.

Catsburg resists Rovera

With the last 50 minutes remaining, a Safety Car put everything back into question. The final stop allowed the Corvette to take a slight edge over Ferrari #83. Rovera tried to confirm his position in the closing minutes, as the former 24h Le Mans winner started to narrow his gap at the top.

The Lombardy driver threatened Catsburg’s lead several times, but the Dutch Corvette Racing driver fended off every attack. A beautiful battle between the two, with AF Corse settling for second place in the end. The Iron Dames, with Rahel Frey/Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting, completed the podium.

The next event of the FIA World Endurance Championship will take place at the end of April at Spa-Francorchamps.

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