24 Hours of Le Mans – Clean sweep for 488 GTE-Am Class
Posted: 18.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 18 June 2017 – 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. The car of JMW Motorsport won with a lap advantage over everyone. The British team was making its debut with the new berlinetta, driven by Robert Smith, Dries Vanthoor and Will Stevens. Marco Cioci, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott came second with the 488 GTE no. 55 of Spirit of Race, while third place went to the 2016 winners, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, along with Cooper MacNeil in the 488 GTE of Scuderia Corsa. Things went less well in the GTE-Pro class where only the Ferrari no. 71 of AF Corse, driven by Davide Rigon, Sam Bird and Miguel Molina, finished in the points. However, James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Michele Rugolo in car no. 51 were entirely out of luck, knocked out due to a misunderstanding with a lapped car that destroyed a radiator. The same held for the 488 no. 82 of Risi Competizione driven by Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer, which was struck and put out of action due to a crazy manoeuvre by Mathieu Vaxiviere in the Oreca of TDS Racing. The class win went to the Aston Martin of Turner-Adam-Serra, while the overall laurels were taken by the Porsche no. 2 of Bernhard-Bamberg-Hartley.
GTE-Pro. Alessandro Pier Guidi pulled off a lightning start in the 488 GTE no. 51 of AF Corse to overtake the Aston Martin of Turner-Adam-Serra and lead the group. In contrast, Sam Bird lost a position in no. 71, while Toni Vilander began well in 11th and started to make up ground. However, the Aston Martins, with their much faster speed on the straight, soon took the lead with Thiim-Stanaway-Sorensen in no. 95 pulling away from their teammates. The first major incident struck on the fourth hour when a ridiculous manoeuvre by Mathieu Vaxiviere at the second Hunaudières chicane literally smashed the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione and its current driver Pierre Kaffer, into the barriers. Miguel Molina in 488 no. 71 only escaped the accident by a whisper. However, this car really experienced a very difficult night firstly with a drive-through for exceeding track limits, then with a puncture that lost it valuable seconds and finally two slow zones, which were introduced when the first half of the GT group had already passed, thus only penalising the cars that were already behind. A series of Safety Cars in the night left both Ferraris in the leading group by the morning with no. 51 in the third place and no. 71 further behind. As the seventeenth hour of racing approached a misunderstanding between Calado and Euan Hankey in Aston Martin no. 90, put an end to the race of car no. 51. James came into contact with the lapped car, damaging a radiator that took an hour to replace. Ferrari 488 no. 71 found itself in a fight for fourth with Ford no. 67 and Porsche no. 91. The positions remained unchanged over the final hour and so the no. 71 of Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Sam Bird came fifth in the race won by the Aston Martin of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra.
GTE-Am. 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-Lamy-Lauda 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, a former Formula One driver like 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 (WEC). The championship resumes in mid-July at the Nurburgring.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Sprint to the finish
Posted: 18.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 18 June 2017 – The 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has entered its final phase two hours from the finish, with the Ferraris in the two GT classes in profoundly different situations.
GTE-Pro. On Sunday morning the 488 GTE no. 51 of AF Corse dropped out of the fight for the top places in the GTE-Pro class. This was due to a misunderstanding between James Calado and Euan Hankey in the Aston Martin GTE-Am no. 90. James came into contact with the British car and had to return to the pits to have a radiator replaced. This took over 60 minutes and even though the car re-entered the race, the fight for a podium place was over. Car no. 71 of Rigon-Bird-Molina is still in the mix even though it lost ground due to two slow zones, one drive-through and one puncture. It is in fifth place and battling with Ford no. 67 for fourth.
GTE-Am. The Ferraris are dominant in the GTE-Am class. The 488 of JMW Motorsport, with Dries Vanthoor, Will Stevens and Robert Smith, has led the race since the early stages. Second place is held by the 488 GTE no. 55 of Spirit of Race, with Aaron Scott, Duncan Cameron and Marco Cioci. Car no. 62 of Scuderia Corsa is still in third, crewed by Cooper MacNeil, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell. The race is due to finish at 3pm.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Battle at dawn
Posted: 18.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 18 June 2017 – The 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans hit the two-thirds mark after a largely quiet night.
GTE-Pro. In the GTE-Pro class, the two Ferrari 488 GTEs of AF Corse are in the leading group. Car no. 51 is particularly competitive in second with James Calado at the wheel. Rigon in no. 71 is fourth.
GTE-Am. The Ferraris in the GTE-Am class are still performing very well. Car no. 84 of JMW Motorsport crewed by Will Stevens, Robert Smith and Dries Vanthoor is out in front. No. 55 of Spirit of Race holds second place a lap behind, with Duncan Cameron, Aaron Scott and Marco Cioci. Another 488 GTE, no. 62 of Scuderia Corsa, is in third, driven by Cooper MacNeil, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Complicated evening
Posted: 18.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 18 June 2017 – The evening and early night were very complex for many of the competitors in all classes and nor were the Ferraris entirely problem-free.
GTE-Pro. The 488 GTE of Risi Competizione suffered the heaviest setback, kicked out for irresponsible conduct by Mathieu Vaxiviere at the wheel of the Oreca no. 28 of TDS Racing. At the first Hunaudières chicane the prototype lapped Ferrari no. 71, then driven by Miguel Molina, and shortly after did the same to Ferrari no. 82. However, even before completing the manoeuvre, the prototype struck the Ferrari, sending it smashing into the barriers. It was the end of the race for the Risi Competizione car, at that time driven by Pierre Kaffer, while Molina only just avoided the incident. Over an hour after midnight, Ferrari no. 51 is fourth with James Calado while no.71 is sixth with Miguel Molina.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am class, Ferrari no. 84 is comfortably in command after a Dunlop tyre exploded on Aston Martin no. 98, which had been in the lead. Dries Vanthoor, Will Stevens and Robert Smith are driving a perfect race, but Marco Cioci, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott with Ferrari no. 55 of Spirit of Race are still doing very well as are Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Cooper MacNeil in no. 62 of Scuderia Corsa. Aside from the Risi Competizione car, all the Ferraris are still in the race as they approach the halfway mark.
24 Hours of Le Mans – First two hours: great start for Pier Guidi
Posted: 17.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 17 June 2017 – At 3pm precisely Formula 1 boss Chase Carey waved the flag to signal the start of 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
GTE-Pro. In the GTE-Pro class Alessandro Pier Guidi, in the 488 GTE no. 51 of AF Corse, took command of the race ahead of the Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim, while no. 71 slipped back a few positions with Sam Bird at the wheel. Toni Vilander in the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione held onto eleventh place. Thiim and Darren Turner, with the Aston Martins, which are very fast on the straights, overtook Pier Guidi but the group is still fairly compact. Pier Guidi had a great battle with the 91 Porsche and finally kept third place giving the car to James Calado few seconds before the 2 hours bell.
GTE-Am. The only Ferrari to suffer a problem was DH Racing no. 83 in the GTE-Am class. The car, entrusted to Krohn Racing, suffered a puncture and had to return to the pits after just three laps. The highest placed Ferrari is no. 62 of Scuderia Corsa, in third with Townsend Bell. Marco Cioci is fifth in Spirit of Race car no. 55, Stevens is seventh in the 488 GTE of JMW Motorsport, while Alessandro Balzan, who set off last in the 488 GTE of Scuderia Corsa, has climbed to tenth after a disastrous qualifying.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Ferrari cars competitive in night-time qualifying
Posted: 16.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 16 June 2017 – A Ferrari will start from the front row in the GTE-Pro class in the 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans that will start on Saturday at 3 pm, the No. 51 AF Corse 488 GTE of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Michele Rugolo. The sister car, the AF Corse 71 of Sam Bird, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina, was fourth while Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Pierre Kaffer will start from 11th in the Risi Competizione car. In the GTE-Am class the fastest Ferrari was the No. 62 of Scuderia Corsa. The 2016 class winners Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler are joined this year by Cooper MacNeil in their 488 GTE. It was also a successful day for the No. 55 Spirit of Race crew of Cioci-Scott-Cameron and for the JMW Motorsport trio of Vanthoor-Stevens-Smith.
GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class the best times for Ferrari were those recorded by AF Corse in the first session. Only at the end of the second session, that ended well after 9 pm because of a series of accidents involving some cars of the LMP2 class, did the times begin to drop. In the 71 car, the best placed after Q1, Sam Bird was able to repeat his time of 3’52”2. Similar times were also recorded by teammates Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina. Sam Bird, however, improved the best time of the 71 car significantly when he was able to stop the clock at 3’51”086, the fourth best time. In the 51 the improvements were more progressive. Starting from Wednesday’s 3’53”123, Alessandro Pier Guidi was able to set 3’52”952. James Calado later improved that time with a 3’52”374 and then with a 3’52”087. It was the newcomer Michele Rugolo who took the most laps in the 51 car after Lucas Di Grassi was declared unfit to race by the Medical Delegate. In the final minutes James Calado was back in the car and improved significantly, getting a 3’51”028 that was enough for second place. The Risi Competizione team, on the other hand, had a more complex day. For a rule infringement, all of the Wednesday times of the 82 crew were deleted. When the car emerged from the garage, it was Giancarlo Fisichella at the wheel. The Italian driver first stopped the clock at 3’52”575 and then immediately improved to 3’52”138. Toni Vilander was able to set a pretty similar time while Pierre Kaffer focused more on race pace. The No. 82 Ferrari will start from 11th on the grid. Pole position went to the No. 97 Aston Martin of Turner-Adam-Serra.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am class, with eight Ferrari crews involved, the best Ferrari 488 GTE was third. It was the No. 62 Scuderia Corsa car of 2016 winners Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell joined by Cooper MacNeil, fresh from competing in the Ferrari Challenge North America round last Sunday at Montreal. Fifth place went to the No. 55 Spirit of Race car of Marco Cioci, Aaron Scott and Duncan Cameron, sixth was the No. 84 car of JMW Motorsport driven by Dries Vanthoor, Will Stevens and Robert Smith. The DH Racing 488 GTE, entrusted to Krohn Racing, was seventh with Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Andrea Bertolini. It was a difficult day for the other Scuderia Corsa car, the No. 65 of Christina Nielsen, the only woman competing this year, Alessandro Balzan and Bret Curtis. The car couldn’t run after a technical issue emerged and the trio will have to start from last on the grid. However the race will last 24 hours and the starting place has a limited value, especially if one remembers what happened last year in GTE-Am class. The 62 car of Sweedler, Bell and Segal started last after a terrible qualifying: 24 Hours later the drivers enjoyed the champagne from the top step of the podium.
Parade. As tradition requires, on Friday there will be no activity on the track, as the 60 crews of the 24 Hours will move to Le Mans’ historic centre for the parade that introduces the event. The start of the race is scheduled for Saturday at 3pm, following the second race of the Michelin Le Mans Cup which will be held in the morning.
24H of Le Mans – Discovering the AF Corse #71 488 GTE
Posted: 15.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 15 June 2017 – Ferrari.com brings you to discover the Ferrari crews entered in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Here, we talk about the the 488 GTE #71 by AF Corse driven by the Davide Rigon and Sam Bird that has won the last race before the 24 Hours, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. In this occasion Davide and Sam will be joined by Miguel Molina, usually competing in the FIA WEC in GTE-Am class on the Spirit of Race 488 GTE.
The team. AF Corse has been one of Ferrari’s main clients’ teams for a number of years. The cooperation between Ferrari and AF Corse generated many of the GT successes during the past few years and all those obtained in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) since its inception in 2012. The first year brought the success among teams and constructors, as well as the win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans; in 2013, there was the triple title for drivers, teams, and constructors, e feat repeated in 2014 enriched by the success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans thanks to car No. 51 driven by “Gimmi” Bruni, Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella. In 2016 with the new 488 GTE AF Corse won for Ferrari the World Cup for Manufacturer.
Rigon. Born in Thiene (Vicenza) on 26 August 1986, Davide Rigon debuted in open wheel racing and entered the Ferrari orbit in 2008, when he started competing in GT racing with Prancing Horse cars winning the 24 hours of Spa-Francorchamps for BMS Scuderia Italia. In 2013 he contributed to the success of the 8 Stars Motorsport team in the GTE Am category of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and in 2014 and 2015 he raced in the GTE-Pro class in car no. 71 AF Corse, paired with Britain’s James Calado. The duo took five podiums in 2014, making a decisive contribution to Ferrari winning the manufacturers’ title. In 2015 he came second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans while this year he won the first two races of the season. The following year Davide won two races alongside Sam Bird and was runner up in the Drivers’ standings.
Bird. Sam Bird was born on 9 January 1987 in Roehampton, near London. He started out in open wheel racing and debuted at the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2014 driving a Ferrari 458 AF Corse at Silverstone, finishing on the podium. He then competed with the same car in the 24 Hours of Le Mans winning pole position in the GTE-Am class. In 2015 Bird won the WEC title in the LMP2 class with four victories, three podiums and four pole positions. In 2016 he became an official Ferrari driver for GT racing, pairing up with Davide Rigon on the 488 GTE no. 71 AF Corse. The two were victorious at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps and ended up second in the Drivers’ standings.
Molina. Miguel Molina was born in Barcelona on 17 February 1989 and began competing in karts when he was seven years old. In 2005 he made his single-seater debut in Formula Renault trying his hand in the Spanish Formula 3 Championship the following year.He finished sixth in the championship standings that year, winning on his home track in Barcelona at the wheel of the car of Racing Engineering. In 2007 he competed in the World Series with Pons Racing notching up wins in Barcelona and Estoril and finishing seventh in the championship. The following year he moved to Formula 3.5 with Prema Powerteam where he bagged another two wins (the Nurburgring and Estoril) and finished fourth in the standings. As of 2010 he left single-seaters for covered wheel racing and the DTM. He drove Audis for various teams taking part in 87 races and winning three (at the Nürburgring in 2015, and Lausitzring and Hockenheim in 2016). He tasted GT competition for the first time competing in a number of Australian championship races with Jamec Pem Racing. In March 2017 he became an official Ferrari driver for GT competitions. This is his first 24 Hours of Le Mans.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Eleven Ferrari 488s to race at Sarthe
Posted: 15.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 15 June 2017 – The 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans began with the first qualifying session. Drivers and vehicles will compete in the world’s toughest race from 3 pm on Saturday to 3 pm on Sunday on one of the most challenging tracks in existence with its 38 bends and 13,629 metres. The 60 cars lined up at the start will include 11 Ferraris, with three 488 GTEs entered in the GTE-Pro class, and eight in the GTE-Am.
GTE-Pro. The race is now part of the GT World Endurance Championship (WEC), with Ferraris taking part in the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes. Three 488 GTEs will race in the GTE-Pro class, which is only open to professional drivers. Two of the vehicles will compete for AF Corse and one for the US team Risi Competizione. James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi will drive car no. 51 for the Italian team with the last minute addition of Michele Rugolo, replacing Lucas Di Grassi, who had to pull out due to an injured right ankle. In car no. 71, which won the last race at Spa-Francorchamps, Sam Bird and Davide Rigon will be joined by Miguel Molina, another of the official Ferrari drivers, who usually drives for Spirit of Race in the GTE-Am class. Then finally, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander will take the wheel of Risi Competizione’s car no. 80, with the help of Pierre Kaffer, an old acquaintance of the team who for years assisted Fisichella in the 458 Italia GTE.
GTE-Am. Ferrari is also in the running in the GTE Am class, where it has eight cars, two of them under the banner of Spirit of Race. Car no. 55 will be in the capable hands of Marco Cioci, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott, while no. 54, a perennial star of the WEC, is crewed by Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr, with the addition of Olivier Beretta who for this race only takes Molina’s place. Scuderia Corsa is fielding two cars: the 488 GTE no. 62 will be driven by 2016 winners Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler, with the addition of Cooper MacNeil, while no. 65 will be in the hands of the IMSA GTD class champions Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, who are joined by Bret Curtis. Clearwater Racing also has two cars: Ferrari no. 61, crewed as always by Matt Griffin, Mok Weng Sun and Keita Sawa, alongside no. 60 with Alvaro Parente, Richard Wee and Hiroki Katoh. Then finally there is DH Racing with car no. 83 entrusted to Krohn Racing’s Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Andrea Bertolini, and the no. 84 of JMW Motorsport with Dries Vanthoor, Will Stevens and Robert Smith. Two qualifying sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, both lasting two hours, with the first beginning at 7 pm and the second at 10 pm.
The perfect debut. The 24 Hours of Le Mans dates back to 1923. Ferrari has won the French endurance classic on nine occasions, getting also 25 class victories. Its debut in 1949 was perfect: Italy’s Luigi Chinetti brought in British aristocrat Lord Selsdon, aka Peter Mitchell-Thomson, who financed the purchase of two Ferrari 166 MMs. Chinetti drove for most of the race, passing the baton to Selsdon only after building up a very substantial lead. The first victory with an official car came in 1954, when Argentina’s Jose Froilán González and France’s Maurice Trintignant won for Scuderia Ferrari in a 375 Plus. Ferrari again topped the podium in 1958 when America’s Phil Hill and Belgium’s Olivier Gendebien in a Ferrari 250 TR58, beat off an Aston Martin.
Great victories. After another class victory in 1959, Ferrari began its golden years at Le Mans with six wins in a row and an unprecedented domination on the Sarthe circuit. In 1960 Gendebien, with the driver and journalist Paul Frere, triumphed in an official 250 TR59/60. The following year, the Belgian made it three along with Hill in a 250 TRI/61. Indeed, that year the podium was all Ferrari with Willy Mairesse and Mike Parkes in second and Pierre Noblet and Jean Guichet third. There was another all Ferrari podium the year after when Hill and Gendebien triumphed once again with the 330 TRI/LM Spider. It was total domination in 1963, with victory, two class wins and the top six places in the rankings. The triumph was all Italian, with Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini in the 250 P. The following year Vaccarella and Guichet won with the 275 P, while 1965 saw the last overall victory when the North American Racing Team won with Masten Gregory and Jochen Rindt. Since then there have been 16 other victories in different classes.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Di Grassi not allowed to race, Rugolo joins 51 Ferrari
Posted: 14.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Le Mans, 14 June 2017 – The Medical Delegate at the 24 Hours of Le Mans declared that “driver Lucas Di Grassi is not allowed to take part in the event for medical reasons” after suffering an injury to his right ankle in recent days.
Michele Rugolo will take his place in the AF Corse No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE car alongside James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi. This season the 34-year-old driver from Montebelluna won the Asian Le Mans Series with the 488 GT3 of DH Racing and is currently third in the Blancpain Endurance Cup in which he is driving a 488 GT3 of Spirit of Race together with Pasin Lathouras and Pier Guidi. Rugolo will be contesting the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the fifth time, his best achievement in the French marathon being a third place in GTE-Am class in the 2012 edition on the Krohn Racing Ferrari.
24H of Le Mans – Discovering the #82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE
Posted: 14.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 14 June 2017 – Ferrari.com brings you to discover the Ferrari crews entered in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Here we talk about the other 488 GTE-Pro car #82 by Risi Competizione driven by the Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander that is usually racing in the IMSA SCC series. Fisichella and Vilander will have Pierre Kaffer as third driver.
The team. Risi Competizione is a Houston-based professional Ferrari racing team founded and managed by Giuseppe Risi. The team is headquartered at and co-located with the Ferrari of Houston facility in Southwest Houston. Over the last 20 years, Risi Competizione has been one of the most consistent, winning organizations in world class professional road racing. It is the most successful Ferrari GT racing team in North America and has a history that includes 3 wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 4 wins at the 12 Hours of Sebring and 3 wins at the Petit Le Mans.
Fisichella. Giancarlo Fisichella was born in Rome on 14 January 1973 and developed a passion for motors very early: he was only 8 years old when he started training with karts at the Guidonia circuit. Giancarlo joined the Formula 1 circuit at age 23, when Minardi hired him for the 1996 season. In the following years he raced for Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault, Force India and Scuderia Ferrari. In 2010, he fulfilled the role of third driver for Scuderia Ferrari and competed in the Le Mans Series, at the wheel of an F430 GTC of the AF Corse team. Since 2011, he has been racing in GT competitions at the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia GT with the AF Corse team, first in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and then in the World Endurance Championship. In 2012 he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with“Gimmi” Bruni and Toni Vilander and the following year he was runner up in the drivers’ Championship, but was a determining factor in Ferrari’s and AF Corse’s wins of the Constructors and Teams Championships respectively. In 2014, he won again in Le Mans with Bruni and Vilander, but he raced in the United States for the season participating in the Imsa SCC series. He’s still racing there with the Risi Competizione team with which he was second at the Le Mans 24 Hours and was able to win the IMSA season finally: the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta.
Vilander. Toni Markus Vilander made his motorsport début at the age of five. In 2004, Vilander moved to Formula 3 and, in 2005, he competed in Formula 3000 and in the Italian GT Championship, where he immediately took the title along with his partner Alessandro Pier Guidi. Still with Guidi and Giambattista Giannoccaro, in 2006, Vilander dominated the GT1 class of the Italian GT Championship, while in 2007 and 2008, he won the GT2 class championship of the FIA GT series at the wheel of a Ferrari 430. In 2008, he also took part in the American Le Mans Series alongside Jaime Melo, at the wheel of the Risi Competizione team’s Ferrari 458 Italia GTC, while in 2012 he earned top honours in the Le Mans 24 Hours, alongside Giancarlo Fisichella and “Gimmi” Bruni. In 2013, he partnered with Kamui Kobayashi on the 458 Italia of the AF Corse team in the World Endurance Championship (WEC); however, he took the only win of the season in the last race in Bahrain with “Gimmi” Bruni, thus contributing to the Roman racer’s Drivers Championship, to Ferrari’s Constructors Championship, and to AF Corse’s Team Championship. In 2014, Toni teamed up regularly with Bruni and earned his first GT title in the WEC; he also duplicated the successes in the Teams and Constructors Championships. The most prestigious of the pair’s four seasonal wins was undoubtedly that of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, earned with Giancarlo Fisichella’s help. In 2015, again with Bruni, he won the Silverstone and Fuji races. From 2016 he’s racing in the American IMSA SCC series with Rici Competizione. Last year he was second in the Le Mans 24 Hours and won the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlante in the month of October.
Kaffer. Pierre Kaffer was born in Bad Neuenahr on 7 November 1976. After karting he made his debut in single-seaters competing in Formula 3. He moved over to closed wheels in 2002, initially with Porsche and then for Audi with which he won the 12 Hours Sebring in 2004. After two seasons in DTM, he returned to GT racing in 2007 moving to the United States the following year. In 2009 he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the F430 of Risi Competizione with Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni, while the following year he triumphed in the International GT Open with the AF Corse team. Pierre is one of the stars of the GT racing world, this season also competing in the United States. This will be Kaffer’s tenth 24th Hours of Mans.
24H of Le Mans – Discovering the #65 Ferrari 488 GTE of Scuderia Corsa
Posted: 11.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 11 June 2017 – Ferrari.com leads you on a trip to discover the crews of Prancing Horse customers entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Let us take a closer look at Scuderia Corsa and its second crew. This team is for two thirds the champion in IMSA GTD class: we are talking about Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan that will race with Bret Curtis in the French marathon.
The team. Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo founded Scuderia Corsa in 2013 to meet the needs of Ferrari customers who wanted to race their cars. The team takes part in the Ferrari Challenge North America as well as the Pirelli World Challenge and the IMSA SportsCar Championship where is the Teams’ and Drivers’ title holder with Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan. It competed at the Le Mans 24 Hours getting on the podium in 2015 and winning it in 2016 with Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Jeff Segal.
Balzan. Alessandro Balzan is one of Italy’s most successful GT drivers. Born in Rovigo on 17 October 1980, after starting out in karting he soon saw a future in closed-wheel cars. In 2001 he won the Clio Cup Winter Series, and the following year was victorious in the Alfa Romeo 147 single-make championship. After racing in the Tourism championships, he moved over to GT, winning the Italian Porsche single-make championship on three occasions and becoming Ferrari Challenge Europe championship in 2012. Then in 2013 he triumphed in the Grand-Am Championship with the Ferrari of Scuderia Corsa, while in 2016 he helped Christina Nielsen to victory in the GTD class of the IMSA title with the 488 GT3 of Scuderia Corsa. This is his first time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Curtis. Bret Curtis is a US driver, born in 1966, who started out in high-level competition in closed-wheel cars in 2009. Since then, increasingly impressive results led to his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014 and in 2017 to his first outing in a Ferrari at the French classic marathon. This season he has also taken part in the Ferrari Challenge North America in the new 488 Challenge with its 650 hp-plus engine.
Nielsen. In 2016 Christina Nielsen became the 58th woman to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. She was born for this, with her father Lars-Erik a five-time winner of the French classic. Christina came to the race after winning a very important title, the GTD of the IMSA along with Alessandro Balzan. She has just finished an autobiography, but is already dreaming of a rewrite that will include another great result.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Discovering the 488 GTE no. 60 of Clearwater Racing
Posted: 08.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 8 June 2017 – The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most famous races in the world, the one that every manufacturer, team and driver wants to win. Eleven Ferrari 488 GTEs will be at the 2017 edition, three in the GTE-Pro class and eight in the GTE-Am. The Ferrari.com journey through the Prancing Horse crews competing at Le Mans continues in the GTE-Am class with a look at Clearwater Racing’s car no. 60.
The team. Clearwater Racing is one of the most successful GT teams in Asia. It has been in existence for 10 years and has won many titles including three drivers’ championships and three team wins in the GT Asia Series. It also has three victories in the Sepang 12 Hours to its name along with the Asian Le Mans Series 2015-16. In 2016 the team debuted in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing fourth with Mok-Sawa-Bell and the 458 Italia GTE. In 2017, Clearwater Racing is competing in the World Endurance Championships with Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin, but will redouble its efforts in the French classic by deploying a second 488 GTE crewed by Hiroki Katoh, Alvaro Parente and Richard Wee.
Katoh. Hiroki Katoh, a Japanese driver born in Kanagawa on 23 February 1968, is closed-wheel expert and is by far the most experienced driver in this crew. After starting out in Formula racing categories, he has devoted himself to closed-wheels since 2000 with many major victories at home but also abroad. He is back for his seventh 24 Hours of Le Mans, after a break since 2008. His best result was fifth in a Panoz powered by an Elan engine, along with Johnny O’Connell and Pierre-Henri Raphanel.
Parente. Alvaro Parente, born in Oporto on 4 October 1984, is an extremely fast Portuguese driver. After dabbling with Formula 1, in the early 2010s he became a star performer in GT, often behind the wheel of a McLaren. He has won an International GT Open championship and the Pirelli World Challenge 2016. He has also won the 2016 edition of the Bathurst 12 Hours. He has competed at Le Mans just once before, in 2014 when he had to retire at the wheel of the Ferrari 458 Italia GTE of the RAM team, when he raced with Federico Leo and Matt Griffin.
Wee. Born on 28 December 1964, Richard Wee aka “Rocket” is very active in Asia in closed-wheel competitions. He has always competed for Clearwater Racing, also winning a number of podiums in the GT Asia Series. This is his first 24 Hours of Le Mans.
24 Hours of Le Mans – Discovering the 488 GT3 no. 84 of JMW Motorsport
Posted: 06.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 6 June – Ferrari.com is embarking on another episode of its journey among the crews due to take part in the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the wheel of a Prancing Horse car. In the GTE-Am category we are going to find out more about the JMW Motorsport team and its crew.
The team. Jim McWhirter founded JMW Motorsport in 2009 in Holywood, Northern Ireland. McWhirter already had links with Ferrari and motorsport for some years, when he was very closely associated with Virgo Motorsport. JMW Motorsport usually takes part in the European Le Mans Series championship where it is one of the top teams in GT. In 2015, its 458 Italia GTE took second place in the season’s first race, the 4 Hours of Silverstone. In 2016 it dominated the season, but eventually lost out on the title in an unlucky final race. The team won its last outing with the 458 Italia GTE and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be its first with the new 488 GTE.
Smith. Robert Smith is a British driver and started competing at high level in the 2012 Britcar Championship. In 2015 he started to race in the European Le Mans Series with the Ferrari 458 Italia of JMW Motorsport. In 2016 he won at Spielberg, Paul Ricard and Spa-Francorchamps missing the title in an unfortunate last race.This is his first 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Stevens. Born in Rochford, Surrey, 25 years ago, Britain’s Will Stevens has followed the usual route taken by today’s young drivers. He began with karting before going over to single-seaters and joining Formula 1, the world’s biggest stage. He made his debut in the top category in the final race of 2014, at the wheel of an uncompetitive Caterham. The following year he drove the Marussia but that single-seater was also tremendously uncompetitive. So he moved over to GT and Endurance races. This is his first time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Vanthoor. Not to be confused with his powerful brother Laurens, Dries Vanthoor is just 19 years old. He made his debut in single-seaters in 2015 before moving quickly to covered-wheel racing. In 2017 he was involved in the Blancpain Sprint Cup, while his debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans will also be the Belgian driver’s first race in a Ferrari.
Le Mans 24 Hours – Discovering the 488 GTE #83 of DH Racing
Posted: 05.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 5 June 2017 – Ferrari.com is continuing its journey among the crews due to take part in the next 24 Hours of Le Mans behind the wheel of a Prancing Horse car. Staying with the GTE-Am class we are going to take a close look at the 488 GTE no. 83 of DH Racing, which in fact will compete in the colours of the Krohn Racing Team on the occasion of the French classic.
The team. DH Racing was founded in 2016 with a first aim of winning the Asian Le Mans Series championship. The team competed with two cars and triumphed with Michele Rugolo. Its victory in the championship secured it a place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for which occasion the car has been handed over to members of the Krohn Racing team. The car will be in green colour and crewed by Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson and Andrea Bertolini.
Bertolini. Andrea Bertolini was born in Sassuolo (Modena) on 1 December 1973 and made his debut at 11 years old in the minikart category. In 2001 he had his first outing in GT races and the following year at the wheel of the Ferrari 360 Modena of team JMB in which he came fourth. In 2003, with the same team, he won the N-GT title while the following year he became a test driver for Scuderia Ferrari. It was at this time that the development of the Maserati MC12 began. He competed in this car in the last four races of the 2005 season together with Mika Salo. Bertolini ended up winning virtually everything with the Maserati. With Ferrari he took the laurels at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 in the 458 Italia GTE of SMP Racing along with the Russians Aleksey Basov and Victor Shaytar.
Jonsson. Niclas Jonsson is a Swedish driver born in 1967 who began his career in Europe with Formula 3 and became closely linked to US-based Tracy Krohn. This is also Jonsson’s twelfth time at Le Mans, and he has as a second place to his name, achieved in 2007 with F430 GT2 of Risi Competizione along with Krohn and Colin Braun and two thirds in 2009 (with Krohn and Eric Van De Poele) and in 2012 (with the 458 Italia GTE of Krohn Racing together with Krohn and Michele Rugolo).
Krohn. Tracy Krohn, an American driver born in 1954 also has plenty of experience, a long-term feature of the US motor sport scene. He has wins to his name both in the Grand-Am and IMSA championships. Tracy will be competing in the French classic for the twelfth time, the ninth in a Ferrari. He was second in 2007 with a F430 GT2 of Risi Competizione together with Nic Jonsson and Colin Braun and was third twice, firstly in 2009 (with Jonsson and Eric Van De Poele) and then in 2012 (with the 458 Italia GTE of Krohn Racing together with Jonsson and Michele Rugolo).
Le Mans 24 Hours – Discovering the #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE
Posted: 02.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 2 June 2017 – Ferrari.com leads you on a trip to discover the crews of Prancing Horse customers entered in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Let us take a closer look at Scuderia Corsa and its crew. This team is reigning champion in GTE-Am class and two thirds of the champions among drivers return this year for a very difficult mission: winning two Le Mans 24 Hours in a row: we are talking about Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell that will race with Cooper MacNeil.
The team. Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo founded Scuderia Corsa in 2013 to meet the needs of Ferrari customers who wanted to race their cars. The team takes part in the Ferrari Challenge North America as well as the Pirelli World Challenge and the IMSA SportsCar Championship where is the Teams’ and Drivers’ title holder with Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan. It competed at the Le Mans 24 Hours getting on the podium in 2015 and winning it in 2016.
Bell. Versatility is the word that identifies this driver best. Townsend Bell switches seamlessly from uncovered to covered wheels. Indy Lights champion in 2001, in 2015 he won the IMSA SCC with Bill Sweedler and the 458 Italia of Scuderia Corsa and was third in the French marathon while the following year he won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Sweedler and Jeff Segal. Back in 2014 he won the 24 Hours of Daytona at the wheel of the Ferrari of the AIM Autosport team.
MacNeil. A native of Hinsdale, Illinois, Cooper MacNeil started racing at a very early age and, at the age of 18, he was already a star of his country’s car racing scene competing in the Grand-Am championship. He has won the American Le Mans Series in 2012 and in 2013, when he also debited in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The following year he was fifth at La Sarthe and in 2016 he debuted in the Ferrari Challenge North America, a series in which he’s competing also this year.
Sweedler. Bill Sweedler has competed in various US championships. In 2015, on a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, he won the IMSA SCC in the GT-Daytona class with an incredible come-from-behind performance that culminated in the last race in partnership with Bell. That year he was third at the Le Mans 24 Hours and won it the following year. In 2017 he’s racing to make two in a row. In 2014 he won the 24 Hours of Daytona at the wheel of the 458 Italia of the AIM Autosport team.
Le Mans 24 Hours – Discovering the Spirit of Race #55 488 GTE
Posted: 01.06.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 1 June 2017 – The 24 Hours of Le Mans is among the best-known car races in the world, the race that all constructors, teams, and drivers want to win. Eleven Ferrari 488 GTEs will be racing, three in the GTE-Pro class, and eight in the GTE-Am class. The journey of Ferrari.com to discover the Prancing Horse crews competing at Le Mans goes on with the GTE-Am class, and specifically with car No. 55 of the Spirit of Race team driven by Duncan Cameron, Aaron Scott and Marco Cioci.
Cameron. Duncan Cameron started car racing quite late but immediately showed his ability. The Liverpulian driver is fast, makes few mistakes and is always highly motivated. He already raced at the Le Mans 24 Hours twice, while with the AF Corse team in 2016 and with Spirit of Race this year he has taken part in various championships such as the European Le Mans Series, the Blancpain Endurance Series, which he won in Pro-Am class in 2016, the International GT Open and the Biritsh GT Championship.
Cioci. Born on 26 September 1975, Marco Cioci is a successful Italian driver. He’s born in Rome and first started racing karts in 1988. He started racing on covered wheels in 2004. In 2008 season he took part in Italian GT Championship and the following year was second and then third in 2010. He’s a five-time winner of 6 Hours Vallelunga, won the Abu Dhabi Gulf 12 Hours and claimed 1st in the 24 Hours of Dubai. In the ELMS and on some races of the FIA WEC championship he has collected 4 pole positions, 16 podiums and 8 race wins from 2010–2016. In the WEC he has a record of 3 pole positions, 6 podiums and 3 race wins collected in three years. In 2016 he was on the podium in the ELMS at Spielberg, he also in the International GT Open and picked up 2 podiums at Spa-Francorchamps and Paul Ricard. In 2017 he’s part of team Kaspersky Motorsport in the Blancpain Endurance Cup alongside Giancarlo Fisichella and James Calado.
Scott. British driver Aaron Scott, born in 1977, won the 2011 British GT Championship at the wheel of a Ferrari and then made his way in endurance competitions, competing in the Blancpain championship in the Asian Le Mans Series and the Endurance Le Mans Series, where he is racing this season for the AF Corse team. This is his second Le Mans 24 Hours while in 2017 he has been involved by Spirit of Race in the European Le Mans Series chanpionship.
Le Mans 24 Hours – Discovering the Clearwater Racing #61 488 GTE
Posted: 31.05.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 31 May 2017 – The 24 Hours of Le Mans is among the best-known car races in the world, the race that all constructors, teams, and drivers want to win. Eleven Ferrari 488 GTEs will be racing, three in the GTE-Pro class, and eight in the GTE-Am class. The journey of Ferrari.com to discover the Prancing Horse crews competing at Le Mans starts with the GTE-Am class, and specifically with car #61 of Clearwater Racing.
The team. Clearwater Racing is one of the most successful GT Racing teams in the Asian region. The team, which has been in existence for ten years, has won numerous titles including three GT Asia Series Driver’s and Team’s championships, three overall victories in the Sepang 12-Hours and the 2015/2016 Asian Le Mans Series Championship. In 2016 Clearwater Racing made its debuta at the Le Mans 24 Hours finishing the race in fourth place with Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Bob Bell. This year the Singapore team is competing in the FIA WEC for the entire season collecting a win in the first race of the year at Silverstone. For the Le Mans race the effort has been doubled with the #60 car also fielded by the team.
Mok. Weng Sun Mok, a Malaysian driver born in 1962, has raced in the Ferrari Challenge APAC, is a three-time winner of the GT Asia Series and debuted in the Le Mans 24 Hours last year. He also has experienced many endurance races such as the 24 Ore of Dubai, the 12 hours of Sepang, and the 12 hours of Bathurst.
Sawa. Keita Sawa, a Japanese driver born in 1976, has competed in the Ferrari Challenge APAC and, in the 2015-2016 season, won the championship in the Asian Le Mans Series. This will be his second year at Le Mans following the fourth place collected last year. He has experience in endurance races like the 24 hours of Dubai, in which he participated twice.
Griffin. Born on 1 October 1981, Matthew “Matt” Griffin is one of Ireland’s strongest drivers. After karting he made his debut in a single-seater in 2001 before moving to GT racing in 2003. In his first year eight wins secured the GTC class of the British GT Championship. In 2012 he came first in the Gulf 12 Hours with the 458 Italia of AF Corse, while the following year he took the GTE title of the European Le Mans Series in a 458 Italia of RAM Racing. In 2014 he took part in a number of championships with different Ferrari customer teams, while in 2015 and 2016 he paired with Duncan Cameron in the European Le Mans Series championships and the Blancpain Endurance Series where he won the Pro-Am class title 2015. He has competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours five times, achieving a fantastic third place in 2013 with the 458 of AF Corse with Jack Gerber and Marco Cioci in the GTE-Am class.
Le Mans 24 Hours – Discovering the Spirit of Race #54 488 GTE
Posted: 30.05.2017 / Source: Ferrari
Maranello, 30 May 2017 – The 24 Hours of Le Mans is among the best-known car races in the world, the race that all constructors, teams, and drivers want to win. Eleven Ferrari 488 GTEs will be racing, three in the GTE-Pro class, and eight in the GTE-Am class. The journey of Ferrari.com to discover the Prancing Horse crews competing at Le Mans starts with the GTE-Am class, and specifically with car No. 54 of the Spirit of Race team.
The team. Spirit of Race is an AF Corse offshoot founded in 2014 for American competitions but that now also races in Asia and Europe. It made its debut in the 24 Hours of Daytona 2014 and some of its biggest triumphs include that at Zhuhai in the Asian Le Mans Series 2016-17 with Marco Cioci, Nasrat Muzayyin and Rui Aguas, in the 6 Hours of Vallelunga 2016 with Cioci, Alexander Moiseev and Giancarlo Fisichella and at the 24 Hours of Barcelona in 2016 with Alexander Coigny, Gino Forgione, David Iradj-Alexander and Tom Dyer.
Beretta. Olivier Beretta was born on 23 November 1969 in Monte Carlo. After making his debut in karts in 1983, he switched to the French Formula 3 championship in 1989 and then Formula 3000 two years later. He drove in Formula 1 for the Larrousse team in 1994 and as a test driver with Williams in 2003 and 2004, before switching to the world of endurance racing in 2005. He is one oof the most winning drivers and raced at Le Mans already 20 times winning seven editions with Chrysler and Chevrolet. He was runner-up in 2015 in the AF Corse No. 71 458 Italia GTE alongside Davide Rigon and James Calado.
Castellacci. Francesco Castellacci De Villanova made his GT debut in 2010, winning the 2011 Euro GT3 championship along with Federico Leo at the wheel of the 458 Italia of AF Corse. The pair stood out for their tactical intelligence and consistent results, so much so that they took the title with just one victory at Silverstone to their names. In 2014 he made a decisive contribution to Andrea Rizzoli and Stefano Gai winning the Pro-Am title of the Blancpain Endurance Series in the 458 Italia GT3 of the Scuderia Villorba Corse. In 2017 he is competing in the WEC together with Flohr and Miguel Molina in Spirit of Race car no. 54.
Flohr. Thomas Flohr, a Swiss driver and businessman, debuted in GT races in 2012 at the 6 Hours of Vallelunga in a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Kessel Racing, finishing seventh with Castellacci. Over the years, his improvement has been impressive with a first win in the GTC class at the 4-Hour Spielberg of 2016 along with Castellacci and Stuart Hall. In 2017 he is making his WEC debut with the Ferrari 488 GTE of Spirit of Race.