There are some people who look forward to August for a few days of well-deserved rest at a popular holiday resort, and there are people like Alessandro Pier Guidi. The driver from Tortona, in 2021, opted for a more unconventional summer, spending a month kitted out in racing overalls and becoming the driver to beat. Unfortunately for his rivals, however, beating him turned out to be no mean feat, with Pier Guidi taking victory in two of the top 24-hour races on the GT scene: the Spa 24 Hours and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“It's been a fantastic month for me”, explains Pier Guidi, “with two wins in two endurance races as tiring, intense and demanding as the Spa and Le Mans”. There was no shortage of headlines and amazement for the former, where Pier Guidi claimed victory thanks to a sensational overtaking move. Neither was there a shortage of comparisons between the latest win at the world's oldest and most notorious endurance race and the Italian’s maiden 2019 triumph at Le Mans. “Thinking back to that success, the feeling is similar yet different too. Although it’s true that the first victory is always special, I must admit that even the second one brings emotions that will take me a few days to fully sink in. Once you cross the finish-line, you think back to all the work you did before and during this long week and you realise that the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the greatest race in the world.”
For a Ferrarista normally quite sparing with his smiles at race weekends, the one that beamed across his face at the end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans spoke a thousand words about the joy and satisfaction of the triumph. And although the Italian played a decisive role in achieving the goal, sharing it with his team and fellow crew members is imperative for him. “We all ran a superlative race, error-free and pushing ourselves to the limit throughout the 24 hours. During the race we told ourselves that things were going well and that we could be in the fight for the win, but you never know what can happen in such a long race.”
It might have looked easy from outside the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE, but inside the cockpit the impression is a very different one. "It wasn’t an easy win, not at all. The Corvette had great pace throughout the race and we had to push hard from the very first lap. There were a lot of difficulties, whether it was early on with James [Calado, ed.] driving with practically no visibility or grip, or during Côme’s [Ledogar, ed.] stint when he drove with slicks in the wet, not to mention the night where practically everything happened and, being realistic, it’s impossible to predict what might be ahead around the next corner. We were very good, but we were also lucky to be able to take advantage of one of the last 'slow zones' to create a gap over our rivals. The fact that we wore out the tyres less during the night meant that we were able to count on fresher compounds in the latter stages.”