The Portimao 6 Hours race witnessed a chaotic first relay for Jacques Villeneuve as he manned the Vanwall car. The Canadian driver came to an abrupt halt in the final turn during the initial minutes of his relay, only to resume racing a few seconds later. However, disaster struck again an hour before the finish line when the Vanwall’s brakes failed, sending the 1997 F1 champion crashing into the wall and prompting the deployment of the race’s first Safety Car.
The first Safety Car period of the Portimao 6 Hours came just over an hour before the end of the second WEC race of the season. This followed an explosive brake disc failure on the Vanwall Vandervell 680 #4 of the Floyd Vanwall Racing Team, with Jacques Villeneuve at the wheel, which sent the car careening into the barriers of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. This turn of events could potentially alter the standings due to strategic choices made by various teams.
Other Teams Struggle with Technical Issues:
Several other teams also faced setbacks during the race. The Toyota GR010 Hybrid #7, driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez, lost several laps due to a faulty sensor. The AF Corse Ferrari 499P #51, with Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Antonio Giovinazzi on board, struggled with brake issues. The Porsche 963 #5, manned by Dane Cameron, Michael Christensen, and Frederic Makowiecki, was held up in the Porsche Penske Motorsport pit with approximately 1:40 left in the race due to steering problems that necessitated a major component change.
Just moments before, the same car had completed part of the lap at a reduced speed to return to the pit, appearing to have run out of fuel. Additionally, the Vanwall Vandervell 680 #4 of the Floyd Vanwall Racing Team, with Jacques Villeneuve at the helm, had to stop on the track to reset its systems. This allowed the Toyota GR010 Hybrid #7 to re-enter the scoring positions.