Published on June 17th, 2019 | by Subhash Nair0
Ferrari Wins in GTE-Pro and GTE-Am Classes at Le Mans
Ferrari have taken home wins in both the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am categories. Their 27th class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans came at the hands of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra in AF Corse’s 488 GTE. This win was the first win in the GTE-Pro class for the 488 GTE and its drivers.
Ferrari also did well in the GTE-Am class with JMW Motorsport’s 488 GTE driven by Jeff Segal, Wei Lu and Rodrigo Baptista taking a podium finish.
For race details, check out the press release below.
In the GTE-Pro class, the 488 GTEs fielded by AF Corse, cars no. 71 and 51, the Risi Competizione no. 89 were driven respectively by Davide Rigon, Alessandro PierGuidi and Oliver Jarvis. The two AF Corse cars quickly gained ground, with car no. 51 soon close behind the top three. With four hours on the clock, the WEC championship- leading Ferrari driven by James Calado (no. 51) had even led the race for a few laps, in a constant battle with three of the Porsches and the no. 63 Corvette. As evening fell so the complications began to arise for car 71. First off came a ten-second penalty added to the pit stop for failure to comply with the procedure for the Full Course Yellow, before having to endure an unlucky pit stop when the Safety Car came out forcing Sam Bird to wait for the green light at the end of the pit lane. Unfortunately, a mechanical issue put an end to the Ferrari’s hopes shortly after ten hours with some 140 laps covered. During the night the very tight battle between the Corvettes, Ferrari and Porsche raged on but only the first two cars saw daylight arrive, with the German cars no. 91 and 93 now a distance third and fourth. The extraordinary ability of the AF Corse team to nail precise strategic decisions allowed car 51 to avoid refuelling while the safety car was out. The same could not be said for the Corvette, which pitted under another safety car session, losing time waiting for the green light at the end if the pit lane and then spinning off, putting paid to chances of victory. In the final three hours the AF Corse team and the drivers of car 51, from a strategic point of view, ran a flawless race to finish ahead of everyone with a one-minute advantage over Bruni in the second-place Porsche.
Ferrari teams have frequently battled for podium finishes in this, the class for gentleman drivers. Three teams in particular stood out: the 488 GTE no. 84 of JMW Motorsport, the 62 of Scuderia Corsa / WeatherTech Racing and the 61 of Clearwater Racing. Jeff Segal, Wei Lu and Rodrigo Baptista held a very fast pace throughout the race, constantly battling for the podium in the cars of Keating Motorsports and Team Project 1. Amongst them also were Cooper MacNeil, Rob Smith and Toni Vilander (62), while in the second part of the race Luis Perez-Companc, Matteo Cressoni and Matt Griffin emerged before later dropping time some two hours from the end. JMW Motorsport, winner in the 2017 season, avoided any errors in the latter stretches to earn a well-deserved podium with a team that included two rookies. There was also a fine run from the Car Guy crew, sixth on their debut with Kei Cozzolino, Takeshi Kimura and Come Ledogar, as well as from the all-female Ferrari team Kessel Racing with Manuela Gostner, Michaela Gatting and Rahel Frey.