Sunday, May 19, 2024

AF Corse Shines with Fifth Place Finish in LMGTE Am at the Centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans

AF Corse‘s #54 488 GTE displayed a commendable performance at the iconic Circuit de la Sarthe, securing the top finish among the seven Ferrari entries in the LMGTE Am class for the 24 hours of Le Mans. The team, consisting of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci, and Davide Rigon, showcased unwavering determination throughout the prestigious race, claiming an impressive fifth place in their class.

While AF Corse’s #54 car achieved a notable result, other Ferrari entrants faced greater challenges. Walkenhorst Motorsport‘s #100, driven by Chandler Hull, Jeffrey Segal, and Andrew Haryanto, secured a respectable eighth place. Kessel Racing‘s #74, piloted by Kei Cozzolino, Yorikatsu Tsujiko, and Naoki Yokomizo, clinched the ninth spot.

However, not all Ferrari teams experienced a fortunate outcome. The second Kessel Racing car, #57, featuring Takeshi Kimura, Scott Huffaker, and works driver Daniel Serra, encountered an untimely end. In an ambitious bid to regain positions, the car collided with a barrier, leading to an early withdrawal three hours ahead of schedule.

Similarly plagued by misfortune was JMW Motorsport‘s 488 GTE, driven by Louis Prette, Giacomo Petrobelli, and Thomas Neubauer. After nightfall, the team was forced to abandon their pursuit at Le Mans, joining AF Corse’s #21, manned by Simon Mann, Julien Piguet, and Ulysse De Pauw, which had earlier withdrawn from the race. Another setback unfolded for the Richard Mille AF Corse-run #83, achieving impressive speeds courtesy of works driver Alessio Rovera. However, the car encountered a sudden, violent thunderstorm during Luis Perez Companc‘s stint, leading to its premature exit. Frenchwoman Lilou Wadoux, representing the Piacenza-based team, lost control of her car on a flooded section of the track, fortunately emerging unharmed.

Reflecting on the race, Davide Rigon from AF Corse’s #54 expressed mixed emotions: “The race had started well, showing we could do great things with the car and also with the team strategy. I drove a lot and was also in the lead for long stretches, and that is something really thrilling here at Le Mans. Then as time went by, we realized that we were lacking something compared to the others due to BoP issues, and we couldn’t keep hold of the lead.

Driving this car is always really nice and gives me great satisfaction. Anyway, we are happy with the result; they are also important points towards the standings, and that’s good. I wish to pay my compliments to Pier Guidi, Calado, and Giovinazzi and to Hypercar. They are all friends, and what they managed to do today is something historic for Ferrari and for motorsport.”

Daniel Serra from Kessel Racing’s 488 GTE, #74, expressed his disappointment but remained focused on the future, “It was a great race. We followed an excellent strategy and were even in the lead for several hours. But unfortunately, during my stint, at the Indianapolis corner, I experienced a tyre problem, went off the track, and was forced to retire. This is racing, and you have to accept it. It can happen. Now we must look to the future and think about the next race.”