Le Mans GTE Preview: Ferrari
Le Mans GTE Preview: Ferrari
Michelin will have all 30 cars in the two GTE classes at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Michelin Racing USA will take a look at all six manufacturers entered and their lineups. Here is a look at Ferrari, which has three cars in GTE-Pro and five cars in GTE-Am.
Quick overview: Always a contender at Le Mans, Ferrari adds an extra GTE-Pro class car run by its longtime international stalwart AF Corse team. Risi Competizione is supporting the Keating Motorsports entry in GTE-Am. James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi won last year’s GTE-Pro title in the FIA World Endurance Championship. As ever, there are a lot of talented drivers in Ferrari’s pool this year.
Changes from 2017: In GTE-Pro, Ferrari runs the updated 488 GTE EVO, which has aero and reliability enhancements. Daniel Serra has two endurance race poles in IMSA this year, in the GT Daytona class, at Daytona and Sebring. He won here at Le Mans last year for Aston Martin and now joins the Calado/Pier Guidi entry, in place of Michele Rugolo (who deputized for an injured Lucas di Grassi). The third car features Toni Vilander, Pipo Derani and Antonio Giovinazzi. Longtime GTE-Pro Ferrari drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Olivier Beretta are now in GTE-Am. There’s American interest in the form of two WeatherTech-backed cars at JMW Motorsport (No. 84) and Keating Motorsports (No. 85), with known lineups.
Test day recap: The three GTE-Pro class Ferraris were ninth, 12th and 13th. All five GTE-Am class Ferraris clocked into the top nine, with the best car in second. Pier Guidi had an off in the No. 51 car, which brought the session to an early close.
Quotes of note: Here is a quick quote from Rick Mayer, engineer for the Keating Motorsports/Risi Competizione car (left):
“You need a super reliable car; you have to finish to win. It needs to be comfortable for all the drivers with no unpredictable handling tendencies. If the car is good in the Porsche curves it is probably good everywhere, that’s a good gauge. The aero setup for Le Mans is like nowhere else we race. Every car has a special homologated Le Mans-only aero package to reduce the downforce and drag for competitiveness and equality.”
51 James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi/Daniel Serra, AF Corse
71 Davide Rigon/Sam Bird/Miguel Molina , AF Corse
52 Toni Vilander/Pipo Derani/Antonio Giovinazzi, AF Corse
54 Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Giancarlo Fisichella, Spirit of Race
61 Mok Weng Sun/Keita Sawa/Matt Griffin, Clearwater Racing
70 Olivier Beretta/Edward Cheever/Motoaki Ishikawa, MR Racing
84 Liam Griffin/Cooper MacNeil/Jeff Segal, JMW Motorsport
85 Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Luca Stolz, Keating Motorsports (with Risi Competizione)
2017 GTE-PRO RESULTS
51 James Calado/Alessandro Pier Guidi/Michele Rugolo, AF Corse, 11th GTE Pro
71 Davide Rigon/Sam Bird/Miguel Molina , 5th GTE Pro
82 Toni Vilander/Giancarlo Fisichella/Pierre Kaffer, Risi Competizione, 13th GTE Pro