17 giugno 2016
Le Mans, 17 June 2016 – June marks the annual return for sports car racing’s greatest to France to battle the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe and become the grand victor of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Among the record 60-car entry, eight Ferraris – including examples of the 488 GTE and the 458 Italia GTE – will battle for victory in the endurance classic June 18-19.
Although the last overall win for Ferrari by an American team was in 1965 with the NART 250 LM, Houston-based Risi Competizione and California-based Scuderia Corsa are looking to bring home a victory in the legendary French endurance classic.
Risi Competizione. The 2016 season regulars, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, will be joined by Matteo Malucelli in the no. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE in the GTE-Pro class. All three drivers are endurance racing specialists. Fisichella has six Le Mans appearances and Vilander has seven, and together they’ve driven to victory twice in 2012 and 2014. Malucelli will be making his sixth appearance at Le Mans. Competing in the GTE-Pro class for Team Principal Giuseppe Risi, the team will be making its 12th entry over seven years at the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO)-sanctioned race. Since Risi Competizione’s first appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team’s history includes three victories and three additional podiums.
Scuderia Corsa. After a successful run to the podium at Le Mans last year, Scuderia Corsa makes its return with the no. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia GTE in the GTE-Am class. Led by Team Principal Giacomo Mattioli, the all-American lineup consisting of Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal and Bill Sweedler return as the dynamic trio a second time, preparing to contend for another podium at the endurance classic. At the recent 24 Hours of Le Mans test, the team picked up right where it left off by recording the third-quickest time in the GTE-Am class.
Qualifications. Imminent heavy rain storms greatly affected the second day of qualifications for the coming endurance race. Between caution laps and a red flag in the final session, the Ferrari 458 GTE and 488 GTE had very little room for improvement in their qualifying times. The no. 82 of Risi Competizione, who clocked a 3:53:175 will begin in sevent position in the Pro class, while the no. 62 of Scuderia Corsa with a 4:00:008 will start ninth in the Am category.
Fleet of Prancing Horses. AF Corse. AF Corse will also race in the GTE-Pro category. Behind the wheel of the no. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE will be Gianmaria Bruni, James Calado, and Alessandro Pier Guidi. This will be Pier Guidi’s first time battling the 28-turn course, but he is sure to receive significant insight from his former Le Mans-winning teammates Bruni and Calado. And piloting the no. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE are Andrea Bertolini, Sam Bird and Davide Rigon. In addition, another four examples of the Ferrari 458 Italia GTEs on track in the GTE-Am class are the no. 55 and no. 83 of AF Corse, no. 60 of Formula Racing, and no. 61 of Clearwater Racing.