|Date||14.06. – 15.06.2014|
|Distance||5.165,391 km / 3.210,311 miles|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2878
||15. overall / 1. in class LMGTE PRO
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2858||RAM Racing||retired|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2860||RAM Racing||32. overall / 12. in class LMGTE AM|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2844||Krohn Racing||30. overall / 10. in class LMGTE AM|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2838||Team Sofrev ASP||29. overall / 9. in class LMGTE AM|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2848||AF Corse||retired|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2876||
|22. overall / 3. in class LMGTE AM|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2862||
|38. overall / 14. in class LMGTE AM|
|66||Abdulaziz Al Faisal
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2808||JMW Motorsport||27. overall / 7. in class LMGTE AM|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2868||Team Taisan||28. overall / 8. in class LMGTE AM|
458 Italia GT2
F 142 GT 2804
Practice: 2880 – crashed
458 Italia GT2
|F 142 GT 2872||SMP Racing||retired|
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2874
|458 Italia GT2||F 142 GT 2846||8 Star Motorsports||23. overall / 4. in class LMGTE AM|
Le Mans, 15 June – Yesterday, Scuderia Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso waved off the field for the start of the race and his presence seems to have brought Ferrari some good luck. The number 51 458 Italia GT2 won the LMGTE Pro category in the Le Mans 24 Hours, so that the Italian national anthem was played again in France.
Italy’s Gimmi Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella, along with the Finn Toni Vilander, driving for the Amato Ferrari-run AF Corse team, repeated their 2012 achievement, outclassing the opposition despite a few difficult moments.
This was Ferraris 24th class win, to go with nine outright victories. Having started from pole in the class, Bruni dominated the early hours, but then, in wet conditions when two downpours hit the Sarthe circuit, the car struggled and had to give best to Chevrolet and Porsche. The Ferrari men didn’t lose heart and once the track dried out, began an amazing climb up the order.
The Ferrari 458 beat off prestigious names such as Chevrolet, Aston Martin and Porsche, companies that are also rivals in the marketplace. The win owed a lot to the quality of the drivers but also to the exceptional reliability of the cars. The winning car had not the slightest problem. In second place, but almost two laps down, was the number 73 Chevrolet of Garcia-Magnussen-Taylor, with third, almost three laps down going to the Porsche of Holzer-Makowiecki-Lietz.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo was very pleased. “This is a very important victory in an amazing race,” he said. “This result is extremely satisfying and is a just reward for all the hard work from everyone in the team and my congratulations go to them. We dominated the race with a car that was able to outclass some very strong opponents and everyone at Ferrari can be very proud of that.” The Maranello marque and AF Corse also finished on the podium in the LMGTE Am class. In car 61, Italians Marco Cioci and Mirko Venturi and the Argentinian Luis Perez-Companc, finished third, behind the winning 95 Aston Martin of Danes Kristian Poulsen, Nicki Thiim and David Hansson and the 88 Porsche of Ried-Bachler-Al Qubaisi.
The overall win went to Audi, with victory going to the number 2 car of France’s Benoit Treluyer, Switzerland’s Marcel Fassler and Germany’s Andre Lotterer ahead of the number 1 car of Denmark’s Tom Kristensen, Brazil’s Lucas di Grassi and Spaniard and Scuderia Ferrari test driver Marc Gene.
Le Mans, 15 June- With just under six hours to go, a close fight is keeping the fans on tenterhooks in the Sarthe grandstands. It features the battle for LMGTE Pro honours between the AF Corse 51 Ferrari, currently driven by Endurance world champion Gimmi Bruni and the 97 Aston Martin, now in the hands of Bruno Senna. Only half a second separates the two cars after the Ferrari fought back to be in the hunt for the win again.
The situation seems settled in the LMGTE Am class where the 95 Aston Martin has a comfortable lead over the Proton Competition Porsche 88 car. There’s a Ferrari in third, the 61 car driven at the moment by Mirko Venturi. Leading overall at the moment is the number 1 Audi driven by Scuderia Ferrari test driver Marc Gene. He is in the car that was totally destroyed on Wednesday with Loic Duval at the wheel and he has a one lap lead over the number 20 Porsche of Mark Webber.
Le Mans, 14 June – The Le Mans 24 Hour race is now a third of the way through and the order in the classes in which Ferrari is competing are beginning to take shape. In LMGTE Pro, AF Corse’s 51 car continues to close in on its rivals that moved into the lead, profiting from the two spells of rain that fell during the first three hours of the race. Currently, Gimmi Bruni is back at the wheel and has closed to within 10 seconds of the 97 Aston Martin of Stefan Mucke and 17 of the class leader, the 74 Chevrolet driven now by Oliver Gavin. In the LMGTE Am category, two Aston Martins head the order, the 98 car driven by Pedro Lamy and Nicki Thiim in 95. Best placed Ferrari is SMP Racing’s number 72 458 GT2, currently piloted by Andrea Bertolini. Leading overall it’s still the number 7 Toyota driven by Alexander Wurz. Second is the number 2 Audi with Marcel Fassler at the wheel.
Le Mans, 14 June –By the fourth hour of racing two storms have hit the La Sarthe circuit and it’s affected the Ferraris. The 458 Italia GT2 seems to be struggling more than its rivals when it comes to get the rain tyres up to temperature and that has lost Ferrari the lead in both categories.
In LMGTE Pro, car 51, of Gimmi Bruni, Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella, with Bruni at the wheel was able to hold on to first place for the first hour, but after the first downpour he dropped behind the 74 Chevrolet of Jan Magnussen. Another shower and the car also dropped behind the 91 and 92 Porsches. Vilander is driving now, on a track that has dried again. He is making up ground and is 34 seconds off the class leader. The RAM Racing 458 GT2 is lying seventh, over two minutes off the leader, while the number 71 car of Rigon-Kaffer-Beretta has retired. There was an encouraging start for the LMGTE Am runners, with Sam Bird running quickly enough to ride shotgun to Bruni, keeping ahead of the 74 Chevrolet. Again though, problems came with the rain. In the downpour, Bird failed to see a yellow flag and ended up hitting the Toyota of Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre and the Audi of Italy’s Marco Bonanomi, both LMP1 cars. The 81 Ferrari and the number 3 Audi had to retire while the Toyota rejoined, but after a long delay.
Leading the category is the number 98 Aston Martin of Nygaard-Lamy Dalla Lana, who have around ten seconds in hand over the 77 Porsche of Dempsey-Foster-Long and 21 over the 53 Ram Racing Ferrari of Mowlem-Patterson-Hamilton. The latter is currently driving and is catching those ahead. Fourth is the 72 SMP Racing car of Bertolini-Shaitar-Basov. Leading overall is the number 7 Toyota of Stephane Sarrazin, Alexander Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima, 33 seconds ahead of the number 2 Audi of Benoit Treluyer, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler. Next updated around 23h00 CET.
Le Mans, 14 June –Driver, supporter and guest starter: Fernando Alonso was all of these on Saturday at the Le Mans 24 Hour race. In fact, the Spanish Scuderia Ferrari driver flagged the race off with the traditional French tricolor at 3pm. Fernando arrived at the circuit around noon. At the track, he met the President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Pierre Fillon and the President of the FIA, Jean Todt, after he which he endorsed the Federation’s road safety campaign. Then, wearing a race suit and helmet, Fernando tried the cockpit of a Ferrari 512 S, which was entered in the 1970 24 Hours by Scuderia Filipinetti for the German Herbert Muller and the Englishman Mike Parkes. The Spaniard then did one lap of the track in this, one of the last prototypes built by Ferrari for Endurance racing, when he was given an enthusiastic welcome from the 250,000 spectators who lined the 13.6 kilometre-long track. Fernando said he was struck by the atmosphere of the event. “It’s nice to be here and you can feel a special mood linked to this really fascinating form of racing,” said Fernando. “It would be nice to actually take part on track one day. I often speak with President Montezemolo and, while the priority remains winning again in Formula 1, an interesting format like Le Mans is worth keeping an eye on too.”
Back in the pits, Fernando went to wish his friends and colleagues in the AF Corse team the best of luck, meeting up with the two crews that took pole in the LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am categories – Gimmi Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander the former, in car 51 and Sam Bird, Stephen Wyatt and Michele Rugolo the latter, in car 81. Alonso spent a long time walking down the grid with the head of Ferrari’s Racing Activity, Antonello Coletta, the two of them meeting his friend and former Formula 1 rival Mark Webber. After waving the cars off, Fernando stayed to watch the opening laps before paying a visit to Race Control, from where all 55 starters can be monitored throughout the race.
Le Mans 14 June – The warm-up for the 82nd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours went off without any particular drama this morning prior to the 15h00 race start. At that time, flagging the competitors away will be Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso.
Prancing Horse cars were not quickest in either of the two categories in which they are entered, as the drivers chose not to push too hard on a track that was still cold in the early hours of the morning. The most important news of the session concerns the return on track of the AF Corse 71 car for Pierre Kaffer, Olivier Beretta and Davide Rigon, after its accident in qualifying on Thursday. The new chassis arrived at the La Sarthe circuit yesterday evening and the mechanics worked through the night to build up the car. The 458 GT2 was thus able to take to the track for the warm-up, completing ten very important laps. It will still be a very difficult race, as it will take a while for the drivers to get used to the car, but just getting to the start is already a great achievement.
Fastest in the LMGTE Pro class was Jan Magnussen who did a 3.54.938 in the Chevrolet, while “Gimmi” Bruni stopped the clocks in 3.56.062 in the number 51 Ferrari run by AF Corse. In the Am category, Richard Westbrook was quickest in the 95 Aston Martin in 3.57.520, while the best Ferrari was the number 90 car entered by 8 Star Motorsports for Montecalvo-Roda-Ruberti, third in 3.59.469.
Le Mans, 13 June – Ferrari’s Le Mans 24 Hours got off on the right foot, especially for the AF Corse 458 Italia GT2 cars. In both the Pro and Am LMGTE classes, cars from the team run by Amato Ferrari set the fastest times in qualifying.
In the Pro category, Gimmi Bruni, the world champion in the class in the 2013 WEC, set a time of 3.53.700 so that he and Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander start ahead of the rest, first of those being the Chevrolet of Magnussen-Taylor-Garcia, over a second down and the Aston Martin of Turner-Mucke-Senna. However there was also a serious set back in this class, as James Calado destroyed his 458 number 71, injuring himself in the process. It was not that serious but the doctors have declared him unfit to race on safety grounds. AF Corse has been granted permission to change the car, just as happened with the Audi number 1 on Wednesday. Calado will be replaced by the German driver Pierre Kaffer, who has already won Le Mans in 2009 in the Risi Competizione Ferrari. However, it’s not entirely sure the Davide Rigon and Olivier Beretta car will start, as it faces a difficult race against time to get the car race-ready. The RAM Racing 458 of Matt Griffin, Alvaro Parente and Federica Leo were fifth.
Fastest time too in the LMGTE Am class, courtesy of the 81 AF Corse car driven by Sam Bird, Michele Rugolo and Stephen Wyatt. The time of 3.54.665, set by Bird, was noteworthy because it would have been good enough for second fastest in the Pro category. The Ferrari clearly outpaced the two Aston Martins of Dalla Lana-Lamy-Nygaard and Poulsen-Hansson-Thiim. Outright pole went to the Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima, who did the fastest lap, in 3.21.789 with team-mates, Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz. There is no track action today, apart from the drivers’ parade and the procession of historic cars. It all heats up again on Saturday morning with the warm-up session starting at 09h00. The Le Mans 24 Hours gets underway at 15h00, when the cars will be sent on their way by a special guest starter, Scuderia Ferrari driver, Fernando Alonso.
Le Mans, 12 June – Ferrari made its mark on the first qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours with the 458 Italia GT2 setting the fastest time in both categories in which it is entered. The session was held up by several red flag periods caused when cars went off and got stuck in the gravel, on what was a dirty and tricky track. In fact, the two hour session was stopped half an hour early when Fernando Rees crashed his Aston Martin, seriously damaging the barriers at the Porsche corner. Against this difficult background, the excellent lap set by “Gimmi” Bruni in the LMGTE Pro class takes on even more significance. On his fifth of ten laps in the AF Corse 51 car, he posted a 3.54.754 to beat Stefan Mucke in the Aston Martin by over three tenths and the Manthey Porsche by almost eight. Things went less well for AF Corse’s car 71, as it was no less than three and a half seconds down.
On top in the LMGTE Am category was the SMP Racing 458 Italia GT2 with a lap in 3.56.787, on its fourth of nine laps. Second was another Maranello machine, the AF Corse 61 car driven by Luis Perez Companc, Marco Cioci and Mirko Venturi, 132 thousandths behind.
Provisional overall pole went to Porsche number 20 crewed by Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley. Worth noting that Audi is rebuilding its number 1 car, destroyed in free practice and with Frenchman Loic Duval forbidden from taking part, his place is taken by Scuderia Ferrari test driver, Marc Gene. The second qualifying session starts at 19h00 today.
Le Mans, 11 June – The Le Mans 24 Hours got off on the right foot for “Gimmi” Bruni, who along with Giancarlo Fisichell and Toni Vilander is chasing another victory after a class winning performance in the 2012 classic at La Sarthe. The Italian was quickest in the LMGTE Pro category, stopping the clock in 3.57.028. Bruni covered 29 laps despite the time lost after the frightening accident that befell France’s Loic Duval in an Audi. Fortunately, he is virtually unscathed although his car was completely destroyed at the Porsche corner.
In the final moments of the session, after the red flag break, Bruni beat the factory Aston Martin of Turner-Senna-Mucke by 58 thousandths and the Chevrolet of Magnussen-Garcia-Taylor by over a second. Fourth was car 71 with the AF Corse crew of Davide Rigon, James Calado and Olivier Beretta, who lapped in 3.58.263. the third 458 did less well: the RAM Racing car, in the hands of Matt Griffin, Alvaro Parente and Federico Leo.
Comfortably fastest in the LMGTE Am category was the Aston Martin of Poulsen-Henemeier Hanss-Thiim with a 3.57.015, almost two seconds faster than the best of the Ferraris, which was third, the 81 AF Corse car crewed by Stephen Wyatt, Michele Rugolo and Sam Bird. The other ten 458 Italia GT2s in the category filled places from sixth downwards. First qualifying starts at 22h00 tonight.
Le Mans, 10 June – It’s the second day of scrutineering in the Le Mans town square for the 55 cars entered in the 82nd edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours held on Saturday and Sunday: Scuderia Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso will be the special guest starter. No less than 14 of them are Ferrari 458 Italia cars, entered in two categories, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am. The Le Mans 24 Hours was first staged in 1923 and has run since then, with the exception of 1936 and then the war years and immediate post war period, 1940 to 1948. Ferrari has won the French endurance event nine times and has taken 23 class wins. The first one came on the company’s debut in 1949, when Luigi Chinetti, an Italian who had settled in the States, along with Peter Mitchell-Thomson (Lord Selsdon) financed the purchase of two Ferrari 166 MM s.
Chinetti drove for almost the entire race, only handing over to Thomson when he had a huge lead over his rivals.
In 1954 came the first official factory win, when Scuderia Ferrari entered three 375 Plus. The winning duo also raced successfully for Ferrari in Formula 1, Argentina’s Jose Froilan Gonzalez and the Frenchman Maurice Trintignant. There was a class win three years later, with Ferrari winning outright again in 1958, when the American Phil Hill and the Belgian Olivier Gendebien beat stiff opposition from Aston Martin at the wheel of a Ferrari 250 TR58.
After another class win in 1959, Ferrari’s golden years at Le Mans began with six successive victories and a level of dominance never seen before at the Sarthe circuit. In 1960, Gendebien, with his fellow countryman and journalist Paul Frere were victorious in a 250 TR59/60. The following year the Belgian made it three in a row, again with Hill in a 250 TRI/61, when adding to the impressive performance the entire podium featured Ferrari drivers. In second place were the other factory drivers, Willy Mairesse from Belgium and the Englishman Mike Parkes. Third was a privare 250 GT SWB entered by Belgian Pierre Noblet and the Frenchman Jean Guichet who also won their category.
The following year there was another all-Ferrari podium with the race won once again by Hill and Gendebien in the 330 TRI/LM Spyder. In 1963 Ferrari was the undisputed force in the event, taking the outright win, two class wins and a clean sweep of the top six places in the classification. It was an all-Italian victory as the drivers of the 250 P were Ludovico Scarfiotti and Lorenzo Bandini. The following year, Vaccarella and Guichet won in the 275 P, while 1965 saw Ferrari’s final outright win with a car run by North American Racing Team and driven by American Masten Gregory with Austria’s Jochen Rindt.
After that came a further 14 wins in various classes, the last one being in 2012 thanks to Italy’s “Gimmi” Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella and the Finn Toni Vilander, who secured the LMGTE Pro category win in the AF Corse 458 GTC. This year, the trio has reformed to try and give Ferrari a 24th class win There are two more Prancing Horse cars in the same class: the second AF Corse team for Italy’s Davide Rigon, the Englishman James Calado and the Monegasque Olivier Beretta, already a six time winner at Le Mans and the RAM team’s car for Matt Griffin, Alvaro Parente and Federico Leo. Ferrari is also after the win in the LMGTE Am category, with eleven cars entered, four of them from AF Corse.
Maranello, 14 February –Eleven nominated with three reserves. A football team? No, the number of 458 GT2s Ferrari will enter to tackle the 82nd Le Mans 24 Hours, the most prestigious endurance race in the world. In the GTE-Pro class, AF Corse, the reigning world champion team is entering two cars, the first in the hands of champion Gianmaria Bruni and the second for Scuderia test driver, Davide Rigon. Among the drivers who will contest the event with the team from Piacenza will certainly be Toni Vilander, while the others will be announced in the coming weeks. A third Ferrari will be competing in the same class, entered by the team which won the 2013 title in the European Le Mans Series. Ram Racing will field the Irish driver Matt Griffin, who was the ELMS champion last year, when sharing the 458 GT2 with Johnny Mowlem. The latter will be taking part in another car in the GTE-Am class, where a further seven cars are entered. Four of them are from the AF Corse stable and will be driven by Luis Perez Companc, Yannick Mallegol, Peter Mann and Steve Wyatt: the Australian gentleman racer won the right take to take part thanks to taking the GTC class win in the Asian Le Mans Series.
The French Sofrev Asp team, GTR team and driver champions in the 2013 Blancpain Endurance Series, will be taking part with a world champion, albeit a footballer. Fabien Barthez, part of the team that won the FIA World Cup in 19987, will be tackle the 24 Hours after having secured the drivers’ title in last year’s French GT championship teamed with Morgan Moulin-Traffort. SMP Racing will also field a Maranello driver in the shape of Andrea Bertolini, while 8 Star Motorsports, reigning FIA WEC champions, will again be racing with the Venezuelan Vicente Potolicchio. On the bench for the moment are three teams which, along with a further five, contribute their passion for flying the Prancing Horse flag in GT series around the world: JMW Motorsport, Team Taisan (GTE champions in the Asian Le Mans Series 2013) and Risi Competizione.