A race full of emotions for Ferrari!
The 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans brought Ferrari a clean sweep of the podium, a fifth place and two disappointments in the two GT classes. Victory for the third consecutive year came in the GTE-Am class where the 488 GTE literally dominated. Things went less well in the GTE-Pro class where only the Ferrari #71 of AF Corse finished in the points. Car #51 was entirely out of luck, knocked out due to a misunderstanding with a lapped car that destroyed a radiator.
In GTE-Pro not everything went well for Ferrari. In the first part of the race the Ferrari’s could keep up with the leading package but then after an hour the Aston Martin started to pull away of the chasing pack. Then 5 hours into the race the #82 Risi Competizioni was hit after a crazy action of Mathieu Vaxiviere in the Oreca of TDS Racing. The driver luckily was okay, but their race was over. When the darkness fell over Circuit de la Sarthe things began to settle. The Ferrari #51 though made up a lot of ground on the leaders during the night and when the sun came to a rise, they were fighting for victory. But then there was drama! A misunderstanding with a lap car ruined their race. The radiator was broken and that would take an hour to repair. Meanwhile the AF-Corse mechanics were working really hard to get the #51 back on track, the #71 Ferrari was battling for fourth and third place. In the end they didn’t have enough time to get really close to them so they could start battling. They came home in fifth place, while the #51 had to settle for eleventh.
Ferrari had everything to celebrate in the GTE-Am class, where Maranello enjoyed a clean sweep of the podium with three 488 GTEs from three teams: JMW Motorsport, Spirit of Race and Scuderia Corsa. The Aston Martin of Dalla Lana-LamyLauda dictated the pace from the start, but as darkness fell its front right tyre exploded to put it out of the running. At that point first place went to the 488 of JMW Motorsport that had been the only one to vie with the British car for first place. The youthful Dries Vanthoor, former Formula One driver Will Stevens and the experienced Robert Smith drove impeccably to pull off an extraordinary result for the British team that a few weeks ago in Monza had won its last race with the 458 Italia GTE (in the European Le Mans Series). At Le Mans it embarked upon the new 488 GTE era in the best possible way. Second place went to the sister car of Spirit of Race crewed by Marco Cioci, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott. A Prancing Horse car also took third. The 488 GTE of Scuderia Corsa driven by the 2016 winners, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, alongside Cooper MacNeil. Also worth mentioning is the fifth place of the Ferrari of Clearwater Racing driven by Matt Griffin, Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sung, which notched up some very important points for the GTE-Am title of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The championship resumes in mid-July at the Nürburgring.