Le Mans GTE Preview: Ferrari
Le Mans GTE Preview: Ferrari
All 34 cars in the two GTE classes at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans will race with Michelin. Michelin Racing USA will take a look at all six manufacturers entered and their lineups.
Here is a look at Ferrari. With 11 488 GTEs racing at this year’s Le Mans, this is the numerically dominant car in the GT field by one over Porsche.
Quick overview: Ferrari, usually a contender, didn’t factor into the proceedings at last year’s Le Mans in GTE-Pro. It managed two podiums in GTE-Am. Last season’s GTE-Pro champions Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado won at Silverstone, but it has been a trying year for the AF Corse squad this season.
The Spirit of Race-flagged GTE-Am entry has been a podium regular in that class, with Giancarlo Fisichella leading the team’s efforts. Kessel Racing’s No. 83 Ferrari features the race’s first all-female lineup in nine years. Its trio already has a European Le Mans Series class podium this year, with second place at the season opener at Le Castellet.
Changes from 2018: It’s mostly driver related. Of the three FIA WEC-entered Ferraris in GTE-Am, the Spirit of Race and MR entries have identical lineups. The Clearwater entry changed two of its three drivers at Sebring. Car Guy gained an automatic entry from its Asian Le Mans Series success and is set for its race debut.
There are a pair of American drivers racing Ferraris. Cooper MacNeil and his IMSA teammate Toni Vilander share the Scuderia Corsa-run, WeatherTech Racing-entered car with 2017 Le Mans class winner Rob Smith. At JMW Motorsport, Jeff Segal races with his regular GT sprint co-driver Wei Lu and Rodrigo Baptista to create a combination North and South American lineup, with one driver apiece from the U.S., Canada and Brazil.
Test day recap: Ferrari held down the top five spots in GTE-Am and its best GTE-Pro car was fourth. All told, the 11 Ferraris entered completed just over 800 laps of the circuit. Risi Competizione premiered its blue “Art Car” and its one-off lineup of IMSA DPi drivers Oliver Jarvis and Pipo Derani with young GT driver Jules Gounon. Meanwhile WeatherTech Racing enjoyed a successful trip over.
Quotes of note:
Giuseppe Risi, Risi Competizione Team Principal: “We decided to undertake a unique concept for the livery design of our Le Mans entry this year in conjunction with our French friends. Allowing students from the prestigious ENSAAMA art school in Paris to conceive an exclusive design that embodies a collaboration between our French Prancing Horse supporters, along with the heritage of Ferrari and history of our American Risi Competizione team, produced a special opportunity. Although in the past we have always competed under the Rosso Corsa red of Ferrari, this will be our first time to field a car in blue.”
Cooper MacNeil: “Very positive test at Le Mans today. The WeatherTech Ferrari was quick right off of the truck. A great effort by Michelotto, Ferrari and the Scuderia Corsa team for getting the car together in a short time. It was good enough to get us into P1 in class today. It is a good start to our Le Mans race weekend to be fastest in the test.”
51 James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi/Daniel Serra, AF Corse
71 Davide Rigon/Sam Bird/Miguel Molina, AF Corse
89 Oliver Jarvis/Pipo Derani/Jules Gounon, Risi Competizione
54 Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Giancarlo Fisichella, Spirit of Race
61 Luis Perez Companc/Matt Griffin/Matteo Cressoni, Clearwater Racing
70 Olivier Beretta/Edward Cheever/Motoaki Ishikawa, MR Racing
57 Takeshi Kimura/Kei Cozzolino/Come Ledogar, Car Guy Racing
60 Claudio Schiavoni/Sergio Pianezzola/Andrea Piccini, Kessel Racing
83 Manuela Gostner/Rahel Frey/Michelle Gatting, Kessel Racing
62 Cooper MacNeil/Toni Vilander/Robert Smith, WeatherTech Racing
84 Jeff Segal/Wei Lu/Rodrigo Baptista, JMW Motorsport
2018 GTE-PRO RESULTS
51 James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi/Daniel Serra, AF Corse, 7th GTE Pro
71 Davide Rigon/Sam Bird/Miguel Molina, AF Corse, 9th GTE Pro
52 Toni Vilander/Pipo Derani/Antonio Giovinazzi, AF Corse, 5th GTE Pro