With 21 racing seasons - 11 of them in the FIA World Endurance Championship - during which he has won three titles in the LMGTE Pro class, Alessandro Pier Guidi is the most experienced driver of the two crews that from 2023 have taken Ferrari back into the top class dedicated to the Hypercar. The driver from Piedmont shares the number 51 499P with James Calado, with whom the 39-year-old driver was crowned champion in 2022, 2021 and 2017 at the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GTE, also alongside Antonio Giovinazzi. “When I put the visor down, my mind becomes free and I enter into symbiosis with the car. There’s no room for anything else,” explains Pier Guidi, who holds a career tally of 290 starts, 118 podiums and 52 wins (in the FIA WEC 41 races, 23 top-three results and 11 wins respectively).
The beginnings. The alchemy that unites the driver with a race car, the adrenaline rush and the intense thrills experienced during weekends on the track are the secret of a passion born from the very earliest years. “Speed is what I love the most,” says the driver of Hypercar number 51. “As a kid, I went with my parents to see a kart race and fell in love with that vehicle. I asked if I could have one. I was very small, but my dad and mum agreed. So, at the age of three, I started driving my little go-kart around the backyard, just for fun.” That passion was fuelled by the exploits, seen on television, of Formula 1 champion Ayrton Senna: “For me, he was the greatest of all time. From him I learnt two values: dedication to work and the will to win.” From playing to competing was a short step. “I won my first race near my home in Tortona. there was a little boy who always came first: that time I managed to beat him and saw the surprise in the eyes of the public. It was a real thrill.”
The engineer in the helmet. A degree in Mechanical Engineering (“Sometimes it helps me to better understand the problems with the cars; if I can I give our technicians an opinion, but I fully respect the work they do.") Pier Guidi has throughout his career related his passion for driving with his passion for the technology that shapes a race car. “Many people believed in my potential: as a young boy, Top Car, which helped me to race go-karts, then the PlayTeam with whom I made my debut in cars in 2005,” tells Pier Guidi. “Another key role was played by Amato Ferrari, who got me started driving for AF Corse and brought me closer to the world of Ferrari Competizioni GT. It was Amato who introduced me to Antonello Coletta, thanks to whom I became an official driver for the Prancing Horse in 2017, the season of the first title as world champion.”
The successes. The three LMGTE Pro class winners’ laurels represent the most brilliant of the trophies in Pier Guidi’s cabinet, results obtained by “working hard, always believing in myself and the team, and never giving up. My philosophy of life is this: try to improve as much as I can every day. Of the 11 wins in the World Endurance Championship, the two that have a special ‘flavour’ were those won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019 and 2021. “The first one I will never forget,” he recalls. “We worked the whole year to be ready with our 488 GTE. Crossing the line first, seeing the chequered flag fly, watching the team come up to the race wall to celebrate gave me indescribable thrills.”
The Hypercar. On 6 July 2022, the driver from Piedmont was the first to climb aboard the Ferrari 499P, which left the garage at the Fiorano Circuit for the shakedown, beginning a new sporting adventure for the Maranello manufacturer. A historic moment. “Driving our Hypercar is a source of pride,” he explains. “Building such a complex car in such a short space of time makes you realise the commitment, passion and technical level of a company like Ferrari. When I drive my Hypercar, I especially love the acceleration when cornering, which is really impressive compared to GTs, and the speed on fast turns, which are the parts of the circuits that I appreciate the most.” Half a century on from 1973, when Ferrari said goodbye to the top class of the World Endurance Championship, the return of the Prancing Horse has brought with it a new set of objectives. What are Pier Guidi’s ambitions? “The essence of racing is in achieving the win. Whoever says it is enough to participate is lying. My dream is to keep on winning with our Hypercar.”