June, 25th – The analysis of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the AF Corse Team and the Ferrari 458 Italia was certainly contrasting between the GTE Pro and GTE Am class. The result did not smile on the 458 Italia in the Pro this year; however, the team achieved a great double podium in the GTE-Am category thanks to the performances of the squads composed of Piergiuseppe Perazzini-Lorenzo Casè-Darryl O’Young and Jack Gerber-Marco Cioci-Matt Griffin.
It’s time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Following victory in the 2012 race – with Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander - AF Corse will line up at the event of the year five Ferrari 458 Italia GT2, split in both GT categories, Pro and Am. The team of Amato Ferrari will, yet again, be the only Italian representative in the Le Mans 24 Hours, this year celebrating 90 years.
Two cars will start in the category which Ferrari and AF Corse dominated in the 2012 French race. In the Ferrari 458 Italia N°51, Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Matteo Malucelli (ITA/ITA/ITA); the trio composed of Kamui Kobayashi, Toni Vilander, Olivier Beretta (JPN/FIN/MCO) will be at the wheel of the 458 Italia N°71. Both squads are well able to win, as shown by the numerous successes of each driver.
In the GTE Am category, Yannick Mallegol, Howard Blank e Jean Marc Bachelier (FRA/USA/FRA) will alternate in the Ferrari N° 54. The Ferrari 458 Italia N°55 will be driven by Piergiuseppe Perrazini, Darryl O’Young, Lorenzo Casè (ITA/CAN/ITA). Jack Gerber, Marco Cioci, Matt Griffin (ZAF/ITA/IRL) will race at La Sarthe in their Ferrari 458 N°61.
In addition to these five cars, AF Corse will manage the 8 Star Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 with the drivers Enzo Potolicchio, Rui Aguas, Jason Bright (VEN/POR/AUS).
Both GT categories will have 13 squads, many of them relying on the best drivers in the motorsporting world.
Saturday, June 22nd at 3pm (GMT +1), the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most prestigious race in the world, will take off.
Double podium in the 24 Hour of Le Mans gained by the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2. In GTE Am category, Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Lorenzo Casè and Darryl O'Young take the checkered flag in second position. Third place at La Sarthe thanks to the performances of Jack Gerber, Marco Cioci and Matt Griffin.
In the GTE Pro category, Kamui Kobayashi, Toni Vilander and Olivier Beretta finish fifth while Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Matteo Malucelli are sixth.
GTE PRO - The fact that most prestigious endurance race in the world would not look kindly at Ferrari was clear right from the very beginning: the “balance of perfomance” was decisively adverse for the cars that dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2012. Following the start, some unlucky events affected the race of the Prancing Horse cars. At the end, the best result was the fifth place of the Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 N°71 driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Toni Vilander and Olivier Beretta (JPN/FIN/ MCO). One position behind was its sister car, the 458 Italia GT2 N°51 with Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Matteo Malucelli (ITA/ITA/ITA).
GTE AM – The things went much better in the GTE AM category where two of the three AF Corse 458 made it to the podium. Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Lorenzo Casè and Darryl O’Young (ITA/ITA/HKG) took the second podium step in their Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 N° 55. In third position, Jack Gerber, Marco Cioci and Matt Griffin (ZAF/ ITA/IRL) in their Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 N° 61. Both the cars fought long and hard with the Porsche N° 76 (the eventually class winner) taking the chequered flag with a small gap from the winner. In summary, the double result is memorable. Finishing in eleventh, even though it did not see the flag due to a crash in the 12th hour, was the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia N°54 driven by Yannick Mallegol, Jean Marc Bachelier and Howard Blank (FRA/FRA/USA).
There was disappointment regarding the 8Star Motorsports 458 Italia N°81 – managed by AF Corse – with the crew composed of Enzo Potolicchio, Rui Aguas and Jason Bright (VEN/POR/AUS). These drivers were among the favourite for the GTE AM victory, but the explosion of a rear tyre in the first half of the race and the further damage this caused to the car forced the team to carry out a 30 minute pit stop before to rejoining the race. At the end, they were ninth.
In the Championship (the 24 Hours of Le Mans is part of the FIA World Endurance Championship) the playing field is now very open. Ferrari is second among the GT Manufactures with 116 points (just 2 behind Porsche), while AF Corse is in third position in the teams championships on 60 points (14 behind nearest rival Porsche Team Manthey). The championship continues on September 1st at the Sao Paulo Circuit in Brazil.