Ferrari Go Back-To-Back At Le Mans

2024 24 Hours of Le Mans
2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

A year after winning the Centenary edition, Ferrari secured another victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2024, the world’s most famous and prestigious endurance race, achieving a feat destined to go down in motorsport history.

The official Ferrari – AF Corse team’s 499P number 50 crossed the chequered flag first after 311 laps to the applause of the 329,000 spectators in attendance (a record for the 24 Hours of Le Mans). Nicklas Nielsen, who shared the cockpit with Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco, drove the car to the finish line.

While the 499P number 50 was the star of the 24 Hours, leading for 72 laps, the third position finish of the “sister” Le Mans Hypercar, the number 51 of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Antonio Giovinazzi – last year’s winners at the La Sarthe circuit – just 36 seconds behind their teammates, capped a memorable day for fans.

This result was the fruit of impeccable teamwork that kept the Prancing Horse’s official 499Ps in contention for the lead throughout the race. The team optimised the performance of the Hypercars and diversified strategies, particularly in tyre choices, during a race marked by rain that resulted in almost seven hours of Safety Car periods, particularly overnight.

This marks the Prancing Horse’s 11th overall victory in the classic French endurance marathon and its second consecutive win following the triumph on 11 June 2023 with the 499P number 51. Previous victories were in 1949, 1954, 1958, and 1960 to 1965. The Maranello manufacturer’s record at Le Mans also includes 29 class wins, for a total of 40 victories.

By triumphing at the 92nd 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Formula 1 GP, Ferrari is the first manufacturer to climb to the top step of the podium in two of the world’s most prestigious races in the same year since 1934. Along with the Indianapolis 500, these two sporting events comprise the “Triple Crown of Motorsport”.

The race, which counts as the fourth round of the FIA WEC 2024, featured the AF Corse team’s 499P number 83, which made its World Endurance Championship debut this season. The Giallo Modena-liveried Hypercar, driven by official Maranello drivers Yifei Ye (who celebrated his 24th birthday today) and Robert Shwartzman, alongside Robert Kubica, was in the spotlight for a long time. It held first position for a total of 83 laps, but had to retire after 248 laps.

    With the 50 points for the victory, Ferrari is now second in the Manufacturers’ standings, nine points behind Porsche. Fuoco, Molina, and Nielsen are second in the Drivers’ standings (nine points off the leaders), while Pier Guidi, Calado, and Giovinazzi are sixth.

    Nicklas Nielsen 499P #50: “Fantastic! It really is a dream come true. The victory seemed very difficult for part of the race, even at the end, when we had a problem with the door. But then everything went well. I’m speechless. I’m very proud of everyone. The last lap was very long, impossible to imagine. I worried about avoiding any risks and getting to the finish line as quickly as possible. I just had to manage the lead.”

    Antonio Fuoco 499P #50: “We were perfect all weekend, so I think we deserve this victory. It’s been a long wait since last year, so we can enjoy it thoroughly. The result is even better because we finished on the podium with the #51. The atmosphere here is always incredible, starting on the test day when you meet the fans with Ferrari flags. These aspects also provide extra motivation to give your best. Even during the race, at night, with the rain, it was lovely to see a big turnout from the public along the track, in the stands. It’s incredible how much passion you can experience. No words can capture this moment.”

    Miguel Molina 499P #50: “We worked hard to achieve this goal. We wanted this victory for a long time. We realised we had a chance to fight for victory, and we gave everything. I am delighted because it’s the best day of my sporting career!”

    Alessandro Pier Guidi 499P #51: “Once again, the Ferrari was the best car at Le Mans. We’ve shown how extraordinary this car is every time we’ve come here. I want to congratulate my teammates: they did an extraordinary job. Our race was tough, but we got on the podium in the end, so having two Ferraris on the podium is fantastic. In the same way, it’s extraordinary to win two years in a row.”

    James Calado 499P #51: “I’m extremely happy for Ferrari because they got another win at Le Mans for the second year in a row. It’s a fantastic result for the team. I’m very proud of the entire team and, obviously, of the #50 guys. They deserved this victory; they have been performing and focused throughout this week. From our point of view, it was a tough race. However, we are talking about a podium, which is still an excellent result. A first and a third place for Ferrari is not a bad way to end a day at Le Mans.”

    Antonio Giovinazzi 499P #51: “The biggest congratulations must go to Ferrari for winning at Le Mans two years in a row. We are a fantastic team that deserves everything we get at the moment. It’s a shame for us in the 51 because we could have done better. But it’s great this way. We took yet another podium after last year. Getting on that podium here is always a great feeling, especially after a race as long and difficult as this one, with the rain and constantly changing weather. This result allows us to get back into the fight for the championship, which is the most important thing to consider right now. And now all eyes are on the next race.”

    John Elkann, Ferrari President: “Our first and third place at Le Mans are a testament to how teamwork allows us to accomplish extraordinary results. I would therefore like to thank everyone who, during these extremely tough 24 hours, have shown courage and great tenacity. It gives me great pleasure that, with this year’s and last year’s result, all the Ferrari drivers have won at Le Mans – and with them all of Ferrari. Only a very cohesive and committed team could achieve this historic result.”

    Antonello Coletta, Global Head of Endurance and Corse Clienti: “Returning to Le Mans and winning again, achieving the Prancing Horse’s eleventh overall victory in its history, is something extraordinary—the result of tremendous team effort that proves last year’s success was no fluke. Finally, in the fourth round of the 2024 season, where, until now, we hadn’t climbed the top step on the podium, we returned to victory in the most important race of the year—an achievement we are very proud of. I want to thank and congratulate the entire team, the drivers, and everyone who supports this project. Each one plays a vital role based on competence and passion.”

    Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of Endurance Race Cars: “Humility, passion, and determination were the foundation of this victory. We arrived at Le Mans knowing that we didn’t have the most competitive car, but aware that we could play to our strengths. Over the last few days, starting with the Test Day, we demonstrated the value of the entire team, analysing critical points and finding the best solutions for a good race. In recent months, although we didn’t use any waivers, we focused on our 499P, aiming to improve it in every way. Even in the most challenging moments of the race, we faced every problem with concentration. In the last phase, when it was time to attack, we decided to continue with the Medium tyres despite the risk of rain, capitalising on our 499P’s potential.”

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