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I've been watching some endurance racing and there's something I do not get.

They always talk about like the 'overall lead' and the 'LMP1 lead' are not the same thing.

I can understand why, because at the end yes all the classes run together, but really, if you are not in LMP1 you don't stand much of a chance to have the overall lead for even a second.

So why are 'overall lead' and 'LMP1 lead' always talked like 'overall lead' is not just straight 'LMP1 lead'?

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This is exactly for the reason you've suggested - these are multi-class races where cars outside the top class can lead overall. It has happened, indeed at one point in the 2017 Le Mans 24h an LMP2 entry led for several hours after most of the LMP1 cars had reliability problems (or hit other cars), before said LMP2 car itself had reliability problems.

There's a retrospective article about that here, though pretty much any recounting of that race should mention it.

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  • Hunh. The sentiment that it was dumb was pretty much because I watched only the 2019-2020 season... and I don't think anything but an LMP1 lead even a lap in that season
    – Fredy31
    Feb 25 at 16:59

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