For “Autodromo Nazionale di Monza” read “speed”. Monza is the fastest of the “classic” circuits, with its long straights interspersed with three chicanes – Rettifilo, Roggia and Ascari - and three turns, the two Lesmo ones and the Parabolica. This track will host the World Endurance Championship for the first time. Daniel Serra, the official Ferrari Competizioni GT driver who will be at the wheel of the AF Corse 488 GTE #52, talks us through it.
“Monza is a very special track, especially because it is our home track”, begins the Brazilian. We mustn’t make driving errors because they weigh so heavily on the final time”.
The first hazard is the first chicane, which offers different difficulties depending on the race stage. “We take the first chicane after hitting top speed on the straight, so the braking is quite violent. From the fastest point, we enter the slowest point of the entire track. The secret is to exit well because there’s a long stretch ahead of us down to the Roggia chicane, which is a great place to pass”. The first chicane is also often the scene of overtaking and is one of the places where contacts or accidents easily occur, compromising the race.
Lesmo 2 is one of the drivers’ favourite turns. Serra continued: “It is a challenging turn because if we are too aggressive, we lose time on exit, so we need to be patient on entry and have the right trajectory to find the speed in the stretch before Ascari”.
One of the favourite spots for fans, back in attendance from this race, is the chicane named after one of the drivers who wrote the history of Ferrari, Alberto Ascari, Formula 1 world champion in 1952 and 1953. “This sequence of turns is really demanding”, continued the two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, “with the changes of direction between the turns making it important to keep up a high-speed until the exit because we are met by a long straight that leads to the Parabolica”.
The final hazard on the circuit is this long right with a legendary name. “It’s one of the fastest turns on the track”, Serra concluded. “Like all the other turns on this circuit, we need to handle the exit with care because it leads onto the main straight where there are always opportunities to pass. However, in qualifying, we have to be particularly careful because it is one of the few points where drivers are required to respect the track limits”.