AF Corse’s Ferrari 488 GTEs finished second and third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the third round of the endurance world championship, in the LMGTE Pro class, while the Maranello cars finished off the podium in the LMGTE Am class.
LMGTE Pro. It turned out to be an unexpected result for the cars fielded by the Piacenza-based team, in the light of a Balance of Performance that on the eve of the race gave little room for optimism; a slight power adjustment without any respective increase in tank capacity. With only 87 litres of fuel on board compared to Corvette’s 98 or Porsche’s 102, the Ferrari crews’ strategies centred around the greater efficiency of the 8-cylinders, driver talent and precision in all the pit stops, if they were to stay in contention for the top positions. Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra repeated the result obtained in 2020, after the victories obtained in 2019 and 2021 by the no. 51 488 GTE. Their runner-up spot, which propels Pier Guidi and Calado to 3rd position in the world championship standings, 5 points behind the winners of the race and the new leaders in the standings, Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni, is yet further proof of the tenacity of the reigning world champions, who were able to make up for the BoP-imposed limitations with sheer talent. Likewise the drivers in the no. 52, Miguel Molina, Antonio Fuoco and Davide Rigon, finishing third, one lap down after a puncture that heavily jeopardised the trio’s chances. The three produced very convincing performances in the various stages of the race, even after the decisive mishap that put paid to a second place that had been within their grasp. Fifth place went to the Riley Motorsport Ferrari driven by Sam Bird, Felipe Fraga and Shane Van Gisbergen, three laps behind the winners.
LMGTE Am. With no chance of fighting for the podium after the Balance of Performance decisions, the Maranello cars were forced to witness their rivals true performances, who kept the crews at the wheel of the 488 GTEs from battling for the leading positions. The best of the reds at the finish was the no. 54 of AF Corse with Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Nick Cassidy at the wheel, posting sixth, three laps behind the race-winning Aston Martin. The trio preceded the Ferrari of the Iron Dames (the only female crew to take the start), the no. 21 and no. 61 – also belonging to AF Corse – and the no. 55 of Spirit of Race. Outside the top ten were the 488 GTEs of Kessel Racing, JMW Motorsport and the numbers 80 and 75 of Iron Lynx.
Upcoming events. The FIA WEC World Championship will be back in Italy on the weekend of 8-10 July, at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, while the anticipation is already palpable for the following centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where Ferrari will be present with the Le Mans Hypercar, whose new design has been recently unveiled.
Alessandro Pier Guidi: “If someone had told me at the start of the race that I would finish in second position, I would have signed up on the spot. I was really hoping for it during the race, but the others had a different pace. We did a fantastic job. Ferrari and AF Corse employed a flawless strategy during the pit stops, and we did everything we could. In any case, with Ferrari and this fantastic team, we have finished second twice and won twice in the last four years. What more could you want? The final minutes were lovely. Of course it’s something different when you’re winning, but we’ll try next year”.
James Calado: “It’s been a very long week. There was a great deal of pressure throughout and a lot of work from the whole team. I have to admit we didn’t get much sleep this time. It was a very tough race, where we lacked a bit of pace compared to the Porsche and Corvette. Finishing second and third is still a fantastic result for the team. We gained important points for the championship standings. We did all we could to achieve the maximum. My head is already thinking about the next round in Monza, and I can’t wait to hit the track”.
Daniel Serra: “It always feels good to climb the podium. I think we managed to achieve the maximum in terms of performance. We optimized everything we could, and finishing in second position is a surprise and a good result for us”.
Miguel Molina: “It went well in the end, above all, because we climbed the podium, which is very important. Personally, I’m delighted to have finished the race in third place here at Le Mans, and I’m happy for the team because it’s no easy feat to have two cars on the podium. We fought from start to finish, and the guys did a superb job. We hope to climb a higher step of the podium the next time we compete on this circuit”.
Davide Rigon: “It really has been a long and intense week here at Le Mans, and it’s still a dream to be here. When we set off, we didn’t expect to achieve such a good podium finish with a second and a third place. It’s the fruit of the team’s extraordinary work. I sincerely thank all the Ferrari men who worked so hard to achieve this result, the engineers and my teammates, Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco. We did our best. In the night, during Miguel’s stint, we suffered a contact that meant we lost ground. This prevented us from fighting for the win. We were really strong at night, less so during the day, but we had a lot of fun here at Le Mans. It is extraordinary: I am happy and proud of the entire Ferrari team”.