The most successful season in Prancing Horse history is the work of individuals and teams the world over, but with one principal architect: Antonello Coletta. The Head of Attività Sportive GT at Maranello plays a fundamental role within the competition arena, helping create the ideal conditions for competitive racing. Clear objectives and ambition, but also the humility of someone who knows that success only comes through hard work.
Let’s start with the end of the season, with the World Championships won in Bahrain. An extraordinary result at the end of a fierce battle with Porsche.
“The confrontation was tough and closely-fought throughout the season, in fact, the balance of wins and final placings more or less balances out. We won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is a hugely important achievement in every sense of the word. The season culminated in the final race in Bahrain, where there was an intense battle right down to the wire, but we managed to bring it home, so we are very pleased that yet another world title has come back to Maranello.”
World champions once again. It's an impressive feat to have won 11 world championship Pro class titles since 2012. What's the secret?
“First of all, I'd say that these numbers testify to Ferrari’s commitment to this activity and to the company’s technological level, which is evidenced by the highest number of titles ever won in the category, by far. We are lucky enough to start from excellent models, even though the race version has to be completely reworked for it to comply with regulations. To this we add a very close-knit group of people, an exceptional team, and continuity, which I never tire of repeating. With minor additions made each year, we retain the same people and this has created a very solid group.”
Also in terms of numbers, this season was full of triumphs, with wins in the major championships. How would you sum up the year?
“It is the most successful season ever for our brand in the endurance world and that sums up the results of 2021 in a big way. Winning the two most important 24-hour races, the World Championship, having replicated the win in the GT World Challenge Endurance Cup and having brought home a lot of other championship titles, all point to the excellent work done by everyone.”
Successes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 Hours Spa-Francorchamps made 2021 very special. The presence of President John Elkann at Le Mans also gave the team an extra boost.
“To have had him with us for the first time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans while also managing to win, was, firstly, an incredible satisfaction and doubly so as it gave an extra boost to the whole team, the drivers and the team in general. We certainly felt his presence because he was with us for a large part of the race, which testifies to his passion and the intensity with which he lived the event.”
Competizioni GT never stops moving and now, beyond this successful present, the future is already in mind, with the LMH and GT3 projects in the pipeline.
“2022 will see us engaged in a very complex year because, obviously, there will be the usual GTE and GT3 championships involving the 488, but also as we will be on track with the new GT3 and the Hypercar in preparation for the 2023 season. It will be a very intense year in which all the people working in Competizioni GT will be called upon to do double duty. We shouldn’t lose sight of the results but we can’t slip up with the development side either. It will therefore be a tricky year, intense, but fundamental to lay the foundations for a great future.”
The announcement of Alessio Rovera as official driver is another clear signal for the future. What made you decide to take a chance on the driver from Varese?
“Ferrari always keeps a close eye on young talents and, where possible, Italian drivers. We come from a long tradition of Italian drivers in our Competizioni GT team. Rovera has stood out for his ability, his seriousness and his dedication to work. We have had the chance to observe him in other championships in recent years and have appreciated his aptitude. This year, alongside the other official driver Nicklas Nielsen, he did very well in the World Championship and so we had little choice but to take him on, especially in view of the fact that we need young people for the future.”
The non-professional activity, the Club Competizioni GT, was also successful.
“The Club was founded in the middle of the Covid period, so it had some initial teething problems for obvious reasons. Today, we can say that it is turning out to be very successful. At the Finali Mondiali we had a very significant participation, before that too, there was a fantastic event in Japan involving many cars. We are selling the 488 GT Modificata which is dedicated to those who participate in the programme and the feedback we have had about the car has been enormous and the level of appreciation by the people who have driven it on track has been absolute; so we are very pleased indeed. The 2022 calendar looks very interesting, so we are expecting an increase in numbers.”