The 6 Hours of Fuji, the sixth and penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, ended with a triumph in LMGTE Am class for AF Corse’s number 54 Ferrari 488 GTE, ahead of its number 57 sister car, courtesy of Kessel Racing, which after the race was dropped to third place due to a 10-second penalty for exceeding the speed limit during a Full Course Yellow. Ninth and twelfth, respectively, were the number 87 Richard Mille AF Corse-run 488 GTE and the number 21 AF Corse entry.
Davide Rigon, 488 GTE #54 AF Corse: “Thomas and Francesco did an amazing job in the opening part of the race giving me — along with the perfect strategy adopted by the team — the opportunity to get on board our 488 GTE and give the best of myself. I was able to push hard right from the first laps without having to think too much about saving fuel. I have to admit that I had a lot of fun today behind the wheel of a well-balanced car, so I should thank the whole team and Ferrari, who allowed us to bring home our first triumph in 2023. We arrived in Japan with the hope of doing well in a 6 Hours of Fuji that is never easy. The final hour seemed never-ending and I felt really great when I crossed the finish line”.
Thomas Flohr, 488 GTE #54 AF Corse: “I am very happy with the win here in Japan, for which I want to congratulate the whole AF Corse team who did a great job. After the 6 Hours of Monza, when we had some technical problems, we arrived here at Fuji stronger. When the contact with Ben (Keating, Ed) happened, we were also pretty lucky about keeping the car on the track, so we were able to carry on doing a great job, which shows how strong and prepared our team is”.
Francesco Castellacci, 488 GTE #54 AF Corse: “Our strategy was a winning one today. After Thomas’ start, we anticipated the first pit stop, a choice that allowed me to overtake several competitors during the second stint. I am very happy; both my teammates, the team and Ferrari did an exceptional job to get this first win of the season”.
Scott Huffaker, 488 GTE #57 Kessel Racing: “We ended the 6 Hours of Fuji with a great result for Car Guy and the Kessel Racing team. In Japan we had the goal of getting on the podium: we made a very good start getting the fourth position, then when it was my turn to drive we were unlucky, I came into contact with a Porsche and we dropped precious seconds, but we managed to pull back: we are really happy with this race”.
Takeshi Kimura, 488 GTE #57 Kessel Racing: “Unfortunately, in this race we didn’t have Daniel Serra as a partner, who was replaced by Ritomo Miyata. I am very happy with the result that gave me the chance to get on the podium in my ‘home’ race, for which I want to thank both the Kessel Racing team and Ferrari, who provided us with an excellent car”.
Ritomo Miyata, 488 GTE #57 Kessel Racing: “I finished on the podium in my first race with Ferrari. It was a very challenging race weekend for me, but both Takeshi and Scott as well as Kessel Racing supported me as best they could. All together we did a great team effort for which I want to thank the team and Ferrari”.
Alessio Rovera, 488 GTE #83 Richard Mille AF Corse: “It’s a real pity about what happened at the start because we could have won today as we did at Spa. Our Ferrari was competitive and well balanced and we did the best we could to come back up. It wasn’t easy and there wasn’t even a neutralisation that could have helped us out in the chase over the next six hours. The work we did with the team during free practice paid off in terms of the set-up and this must be the starting point for us ahead of the final round in Bahrain”.