Round four of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Europe 2023 will take place against a spectacular backdrop. For the fifth time in its 30-year-plus history, the Prancing Horse one-make series will support the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year the race celebrates its centenary and will feature Ferrari’s return on the track in the top class, after 50 years, with the 499P hybrid hypercar. This exceptional occasion will see no fewer than seventy-one Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo cars compete on the 13.6-kilometre Circuit de la Sarthe from 7 to 10 June. Never before have so many Ferraris appeared in a single race of the Maranello manufacturer's one-make series. All the cars will be on the track together in the round’s only race, which will take place a few hours before the start of round four of the FIA WEC.
Trofeo Pirelli. The French outing marks the season’s halfway mark, with attention in the main class focused mainly on Eliseo Donno (Radicci Automobili), the current leader in the overall standings and winner of four of the six races, as he attempts finally to break the resistance of his closest rivals. Besides the young and promising Thomas Fleming (HR Owen – FF Corse) and Bence Valint (Rossocorsa – Ferrari Budapest) and the more experienced Max Mugelli (CDP – Eureka Competition), his challengers will include the Frenchman Thomas Neubauer (Charles Pozzi GT Racing), the reigning Trofeo Pirelli world champion, who is also competing in the 24 Hours in the 488 GTE of JMW Motorsport.
Franz Engstler (Charles Pozzi GT Racing) leads the group of twenty-four Ferrari Challenge 488 Evos in the Trofeo Pirelli Am, the race’s most crowded class. The German driver’s run of victories was temporarily interrupted in Race-1 at Spielberg by Hanno Laskowski (Emil Frey Sportivo), currently his closest pursuer, 27 points behind. Besides the return of Nicolò Rosi (Kessel Racing), the French event will also feature many drivers from the other Prancing Horse one-make series, including North America, the UK, and the new Japanese series, who, if they earn them, will still take points for the continental standings.
Coppa Shell. Despite having to settle for third and fifth place at Spielberg, Axel Sartingen (Lueg Sportivo – Herter Racing) remains well ahead in the Coppa Shell overall standings and is a serious candidate for the season title. A tight battle is developing behind him, which will continue at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with drivers from other series also expected to join in. Fons Scheltema (Kessel Racing), Willem van der Vorm (Scuderia Monte-Carlo), Manuela Gostner (CDP – MP Racing) and Alexander Nussbaumer (Gohm – Scuderia GT) are currently separated by five points and aim to close the gap on the leader.
Kirk Baerwaldt’s (Kessel Racing) zero points in an unlucky Race-2 at Spielberg opened everything up in the Coppa Shell Am standings. Motohiko Isozaki (Cornes Motors Shiba) lies 12 points behind him. Italy’s Giuseppe Ramelli (Rossocorsa – Pellin Racing), currently third, will not compete in the French contest, thus opening the way for comeback attempts by Tommy Lindroth (Baron Motorsport), third and second in Austria, and Martinus Richter (MERTEL Motorsport), who took his second win of the season on the Styrian circuit.
Programme. During the busy Le Mans week, Ferrari Challenge Europe drivers will take to the track on Wednesday, 7 June, with a free practice session, followed by another on Thursday, 8th. A single qualifying session for the Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell will last 45 minutes on Friday, 9 June, while the 35-minute race will kick off on Saturday, 10 June, at 9.30 a.m.
Qualifying and the race will be broadcast live, free of charge and with English-language commentary, at live.ferrari.com and on the “Ferrari” YouTube channel. In Italy, the Sky platform will broadcast Saturday’s race live on channel 207 (Sky Sport F1) with the connection starting from 9.15 a.m.; delayed replays in the same channel on Saturday from 2 p.m., Sunday from 12.30 p.m. and from 4 p.m.. In the UK and Germany, the race will be broadcast on Sky Sport F1.