The Ferrari teams due to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 gathered a lot of useful data on the only day of testing with under two weeks to go to the start of the most eagerly awaited race of the season.
GTE-Pro. In the GTE-Pro class all three cars involved, the 488 GTEs no. 51 and no. 71, full-season competitors in the FIA World Endurance Championship and no. 52, which will only take part in the Sarthe classic, completed the arranged programme allowing drivers and technicians to refine the details for the race of 16 and 17 June. The day’s schedule included tests to assess tyre behaviour, mechanical set-up and aerodynamics. The drivers most involved included Daniel Serra at the wheel of the car no. 51, Miguel Molina in no. 71 and all the drivers of no. 52, with the experienced Toni Vilander directing the work and preparing the 488 GTE for Pipo Derani and Antonio Giovinazzi. Just over an hour and a half before the end of the session, Alessandro Pier Guidi went off track in car no. 51 car bringing the day’s test session to an early close.
Unchanged performance. In terms of absolute performance, the values seen in the first race at Spa-Francorchamps were confirmed, with the Fords and the Porsches ahead of the packand the Ferraris alternating with the BMWs further back.
GTE-Am. Ferrari crews were more comfortable in the GTE-Am class. In this category, which Ferrari has won every year since 2015, the programme was similar to that of the GTE-Pro class albeit obviously with Bronze drivers more involved. A place in the top positions was taken by the 488 GTE of Spirit of Race, with Giancarlo Fisichella, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci. The 488 GTE of reigning champion JMW Motorsport, with the car driven by Liam Griffin, Cooper MacNeil and Jeff Segal, the latters arrived overnight after the IMSA race of Detroit, in the US; the 488 GTE of Clearwater Racing also took to the track, with Keita Sawa, Weng Sun Mok and Matt Griffin; the MR Racing car for Olivier Beretta, Eddie Cheever III and Motoaki Ishikawa and the 488 GTE of Keating Motorsport/Risi Competizione crewed by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Lucas Stolz.
Countdown to the race. The week of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will open next Sunday with technical scrutineering and the so-called ‘pesage’ ceremony. From Wednesday, the action on track will come alive with free practices and qualifying. Friday won’t see any driving, but there will be a big party with a parade in the streets of the city centre. The 24 Hours race will start on Saturday at 3 pm.