AF Corse’s number 54 Ferrari 488 GTE took victory in the LMGTE Am class at the 6 Hours of Fuji, allowing the trio of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Davide Rigon to claim their first win of the season in the sixth and penultimate round of the FIA WEC 2023. The result, which follows the one clinched by the 488 GTE Richard Mille AF Corse at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, was accompanied by a third-place finish for the crew of Kessel Racing. The Kimura-Huffaker-Miyata trio, who finished runners-up, were lumbered with a 10-second penalty at the end of the race that dropped the crew onto the lowest step of the podium.
The victory for the AF Corse-run Ferrari, was achieved thanks to a perfect pace and strategy in the second half of the race, after having risked prematurely ending the race following a collision with a Corvette – driven by Keating in that instance – and later sanctioned by the race stewards. Rigon, at the wheel in the last double stint, after acquiring the 488 GTE from an excellent Castellacci, made a comeback to a well-deserved win, allowing a convincing Thomas Flohr back onto the podium of the Japanese circuit after his win in 2017.
Kessel Racing’s number 57 turned out a very positive showing over the course of the six hours, with the drivers able to offer a high-level performance even in the frantic finale where the untimely reduction in speed during a fast Full Course Yellow phase ultimately cost the Swiss team second place.
The race of the other two 488 GTE entries in the event proved to be more complicated. The number 83 of AF Corse driven by Rovera-Wadoux-Pérez Companc – after a mistake at the start – ended the race in ninth place, while several penalties were to stop the number 21 of Koizumi-Mann-Cozzolino from posting a top ten finish.