The Italian round of the FIA World Endurance Championship is set to take place over the weekend of 9 July at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, which hosts the fifth round of the season, 28 days after the chequered flag at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The historic Italian track will be the scene of the Monza 6 Hours with four Ferrari 488 GTE entries in the LMGTE Am class reserved for crews made up of professional and gentlemen drivers. At the start of the race in Brianza’s Temple of Speed will be three Prancing Horse official drivers: Alessio Rovera, Lilou Wadoux and Davide Rigon.
After finishing fifth at Le Mans, the number 54 AF Corse 488 GTE arrives at Monza with the aim of winning precious points towards the standings. At the steering wheel, Rigon will take turns with Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci, with whom the 36-year-old from Veneto is participating for the entire FIA World Endurance Championship season. The trio has so far finished fifth and fourth respectively at Sebring and Portimão in the first two events of the year. Among the highlights for Rigon at the high-speed track, opened in 1922, was the triumph with the 488 GTE in the third round of the 2022 European Le Mans Series.
Lilou Wadoux and Alessio Rovera, with Luis Perez Companc, are back in the World Endurance Championship spotlight after the unfortunate Le Mans that saw them forced to retire early. For the crew of the 488 GTE number 83 of Richard Mille - AF Corse, the ambition is to come away with a notable result, taking off where they left off after a fine win at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in April, which followed the second place clinched in Portugal. Rovera, who hails from Varese, has already picked up several triumphs in Brianza: standing out amongst those was the top step of the podium in LMGTE Am – alongside Nicklas Nielsen and François Perrodo – in 2021 at the first edition of the Monza 6 Hours.
Sporting the number 21 on its livery will be AF Corse’s Ferrari 488 GTE driven by Julien Piguet, Simon Mann and Ulysse de Pauw, who were able to notch up points in the first three outings of the season in the United States, Portugal and Belgium. Completing the field for the Maranello manufacturer will be the number 57 Kessel Racing-entered Ferrari with Takeshi Kimura, Scott Huffaker and Kei Cozzolino; the latter replaces official driver Daniel Serra, with a commitment the same weekend in the stock car championship in Brazil.
The track. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza was built in 110 days and inaugurated in 1922. The 5.793-kilometre track includes three chicanes and five turns, including the iconic Parabolica named after Michele Alboreto. In the history of the Brianza track, endurance races hold a prominent place: among the most important events was the 1000 Kilometres of Monza, which was organised through the 1960s and 1970s with 11 editions included in the World Championship calendar (Ferrari secured five wins in 1965-67 and 1972-73). Since 2021 the Lombardy track has hosted the 6 Hours, part of the FIA WEC calendar.
The standings. After the 1000 Miles of Sebring, the 6 Hours of Portimão, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in the Drivers’ standings Rigon-Castellacci-Flohr are in fourth on 47 points, ahead of Rovera-Wadoux-Perez Companc on 43 points; Mann-de Pauw lie seventh and Serra-Huffaker-Kimura ninth.
The programme. Friday 7 July will feature two free practice sessions from 11.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4.40 p.m. to 6.10 p.m. On Saturday, after free practice 3 from 10.45 a.m. to 11.45 a.m., will be the qualifying from 2.40 p.m. to 3.55 p.m. to determine the starting grid for the 6 Hours, due to get underway at 12.30 p.m. on Sunday, 9 July (local times).