Corvette Racing secured the final GTE-Am title two races early, as Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez, and Mike Conway beat Ferrari to win the 6 Hours of Monza on Ferrari's home turf.
A time difference of 16.520 seconds separated the winning No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid from the runner-up No. 50 Ferrari 499P driven by Antonio Fuoco, Nicklas Nielsen, and Miguel Molina.
The Japanese team started the race in first place, but they dropped behind after Conway was passed by Mikkel Jensen and Peugeot took the lead before the end of the first hour.
It recovered from that and resumed the lead around the halfway point, a position it held until a safety car was deployed in the fifth hour due to a mechanical failure in the No. 99 Proton Competition Porsche 963.
With the Safety Car period complete, the No. 50 Ferrari was once again within striking distance of the Toyota, but the latter responded by making its last stop for fuel only.
The speedy Fuoco soon began to close the distance, but Kobayashi was able to hold off the No. 50 Ferrari driven by Fuoco and go on to win the race with the fastest lap of the event.
This is the No. 7 crew's third victory of the season following Sebring and Spa, and it comes after they retired from the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month.
The #93 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 rounded off the podium for the top three finishers. A year after the 9X8's race debut at the same track, Paul Di Resta, Jean-Eric Vergne, and Mikkel Jensen fought hard and finished on the podium.
The 9X8s continued their swift performance from Le Mans by dominating the weekend. The #93 vehicle finished third and last on the lead lap despite losing time at an early pit stop and having gear selection troubles. For a Peugeot Team that seems to be making a comeback, this result is crucial.
After a late race recovery that culminated with Brendon Hartley fighting past the #51 and #5 Porsche Penske 963 for fourth place, the #8 Toyota team maintained their lead in the championship standings. Hartley made a daring move on Antonio Giovanazzi around the outside of Curva Grande, putting the #8 ahead of the #51, as they battled it out.
Because to two early crashes involving Sebastien Buemi, the #8 crew had to fight hard for their final result. The first occurred when Buemi lost control of the #51 and spun it around at Turn 1 (below) at the start of the race, and the second occurred when Buemi wiped out the #777 D'Station Aston Martin later in the first hour.
The second incident was the most expensive since the Swiss driver was given a stop-and-hold penalty for one minute, which put their car further back in the pack.
In a race of recovery for the No. 8 team, Hartley overtook the No. 51 Ferrari driven by Antonio Giovinazzi and the No. 5 Porsche Penske Motorsport entry driven by Fred Makowiecki.
“After a tough Le Mans, it was important to bounce back. Unfortunately, car #8 had a tough race but recovered well. I am very proud of these guys, it feels nice,” said Lopez after the race.
“With the split strategy, it was tense, but with a mega pit stop and a solid last stint from Kamui, it was nice to beat Ferrari on home ground,” added Conway.
Giovinazzi also made a last-second pass on the Frenchman, putting the 499P that he drove with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi to victory at Le Mans in fourth position.
The No. 6 sister Porsche, driven by Makowiecki, Dane Cameron, and Michael Christensen, finished sixth and seventh, respectively; Glickenhaus rounded out the top eight.
The No. 38 Porsche of Hertz Team JOTA and the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R rounded out the top 10.
One of the Hypercars, the No. 99 Proton Competition Porsche, had to pull out of its first race.
JOTA won the LMP2 category although Team WRT's late drama prevented them from taking first place.
David Heinemeier Hansson, Oliver Rasmussen, and Pietro Fittipaldi in the No. 28 Oreca 07 Gibson bested Charles Milesi, Julien Canal, and Matthieu Vaxiviere in the No. 36 Alpine Elf Team by a margin of 36.220 seconds.
“It was amazing, we had an incredible start, then it was up in the air. I thought a podium would have been great, but to be number 1, incredible,” said Heinemeier Hansson
“We fought back, kept it clean, we were so close at Spa, to get the win was amazing,” added Fittipaldi.
After its sister vehicle had late-race difficulties, the No. 41 Team WRT crew of Rui Andrade, Louis Deletraz, and Robert Kubica finished third to round out the podium.
The No. 31 vehicle, with drivers Sean Gelael, Robin Frijns, and Ferdinand Habsburg, was in the lead entering the final hour.
After falling behind JOTA, Frijns pulled the vehicle into the pits and pushed it into the garage with around half an hour remaining.
Josh Pierson, Giedo van der Garde, and Oliver Jarvis, driving the No. 23 Oreca for United Autosports, took fourth place. The fifth-place finisher was the Inter Europol Competition.
With two races remaining, Corvette Racing clinches the GTE-Am championship.
Although Dempsey-Proton Racing won the GTE-Am class, it was Corvette Racing that took home the world title.
The No. 33 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R is presently at 174 points, despite the fact that Ben Keating, Nico Varrone, and Nicky Catsburg failed to earn a podium finish for the first time this season.
The remainder of the GTE-Am field will be unable to catch up to them in the standings after the next two races in Fuji and Bahrain.
In doing so, Keating successfully defended his GTE-Am championship from the previous season, and Varrone and Catsburg won their respective maiden WEC titles.
The American team was up front early on, but they had to drop back after receiving a drive through penalty for pit lane speeding.
The No. 33 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, driven by Varrone, fought back, eventually passing the No. 86 GR Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 driven by Riccardo Pera on the outside of Variante Ascari and retaking the lead.
When Catsburg took over the driver's seat for the final hour of the race, the Corvette fell to third place, behind the winning No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Christian Ried, Mikkel Pedersen, and Julien Andlauer and the No. 60 Iron Lynx entry.
After some time, the Dutchman also gave up third position to Pera, Ben Barker, and Mike Wainwright of the GR Racing team in their No. 86 Porsche.
Full results of the race can be found below -
The penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championships will take place at the Fuji Raceway on the 10th of September 2023.