Le Mans: Heartbreak for competitive LMGT3 duo

McLaren LMGT3 EVO at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans
McLaren LMGT3 EVO at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

In 2024, McLaren returned to Le Mans - 29 years after taking victory on their Le Mans debut (1995) and 26 years after McLaren last competed in the infamous French endurance race.

On Saturday afternoon, the McLaren LMGT3 crew came out of the traps fighting, with the #59 and #95 storming up through the ranks from P11 and P19 respectively. In the ninth hour, Nico Pino took the lead of the race in the #95 before Le Mans rookie Gregoire Saucy took over in the #59, continuing to race at the front throughout the night.  

In the nineteenth hour, the #59 and #95 entries were, heartbreakingly, retired. The #95 came into the garage with a suspected drivetrain issue after running in the top three consistently through Sunday morning – but after further investigation, it was deemed the issue could not be fixed in time and the car was retired. 

 Shortly after, the #59 McLaren LMGT3 EVO, which was running in podium contention after leading the race, stopped on track. United Autosports and McLaren Automotive will investigate the issue fully when the car is returned. 

The next race for the McLaren LMGT3 duo is the 6 Hours of Sao Paolo (14th July 2024) – round five of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship. Stay up to date on social @unitedautosports.  

#59 drivers at Drivers Parade
#59 drivers at Drivers Parade

Quali p11 | race DNF | CHAMP P13

James Cottingham: “Endurance racing is tough. And I’ve learnt that in every 10 hour plus race I have done. At the 18 hour mark I thought everything was looking good - the car was solid, my drive time was done … the guys [Gregoire and Nicolas] know what they’re doing, we’re being sensible and we looked good. I could see top-four finishes on the cards for both cars. In the race, the car had run faultlessly so when it pulled over on the side of the track, I was shocked. Now, I am devastated. Everyone had worked so hard and it’s been such a professional approach by everyone in the team. The way United Autosports has gone about it, including the nutritionist, physios and everyone … we put everything into it. We didn’t leave any stone unturned. But we’ve had a race-ending failure. But I’ve enjoyed every single minute of the race, every single minute of driving. It’s just so gutting to not be there at the end.” 

Nicolas Costa: “We had an interesting race, especially considering we were all Le Mans rookies in the #59! The entire crew did an amazing job, the engineers, mechanics, everyone worked so hard – harder than us drivers! We led the race numerous times which was amazing. We deserved a better result but that’s racing sometimes and we have to accept it even though it’s frustrating. We’ll use it as positive energy for Brazil.” 

Grégoire Saucy: “Everyone is sad because the entire team did a mega job for this race. It’s my first Le Mans 24. It was an incredible experience for me. I took the race start and we led at night. Now we focus and work towards the remaining WEC races … but I hope I get the opportunity to come back here next year.”  

#95 McLaren United Autosports drivers - Nico Pino, Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Marino Sato
#95 McLaren United Autosports drivers - Nico Pino, Hiroshi Hamaguchi and Marino Sato



Hiroshi Hamaguchi: “First I want to thank United Autosports for giving me a chance to drive at this fantastic event at Le Mans. Though the final result was disappointing, I enjoyed every minute of the event with the team. I was so impressed with my co-drivers, great engineers, experienced mechanics and the warm team hospitality. I hope I would have a chance to compete again with this team in the future.”

 Nico Pino: “An early end at Le Mans for us. The team did a flawless job all weekend. It has been really impressive to be a part of it. I’m extremely happy with how we performed … coming to a new championship with a new car and being in a position to fight for a Le Mans podium. It was a very difficult race with the wet and dry conditions, but everyone did a magnificent job. The engineers, mechanics, Marino and Hiroshi … they executed everything perfectly. In the end, it didn’t play out for us – but that’s racing. We will have more shots to try.”

Marino Sato: “It was a real honour for me that the team trusted me to start the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the #95. I began P19 and double stinted to P6 which was positive. The pace was there and we were straight into the game after the first hour and a half. I handed the car to Nico and Hiroshi, went to bed, woke up and we had dropped a lap down but we managed to get back on the lead lap and fought our way into P3 and ultimately the lead which was incredible. My stints were strong throughout. Every pitstop was spot on and fast. If the race was the Le Mans 19 Hours we would have been up there.” 


Richard Dean, United Autosports CEO: “A knife edge race from start to finish. Twenty four hour races aren’t meant to be easy but when you throw in the weather and the track conditions, it was very tough. There was so much going on during the race. In LMGT3, we put up a strong fight with established LMGT3 teams and manufacturers. The retirements were disappointing but I’m super proud of them. All of the McLaren and United Autosports team can be really proud and the LMGT3 drivers have been an absolute dream to work with.”

Michael Leiters, Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Automotive: “To see the United Autosports McLaren GT3 EVOs running first and second after 125 laps of everything Le Mans can throw at them, including changeable weather conditions, just reconfirms we have the performance and determination to win. We can take many positives from our return to Le Mans and we will build on this strong performance.”