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Ferrari wins Le Mans

9 months ago

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Writer:

Andrew Frankel | Ti co-founder

Date:

11 June 2023

Ferrari has won Le Mans on the centenary of the first running of the race and on the 50th anniversary of its most recent participation as a factory team. The number 51 Ferrari 499P crossed the line after what had been the closest Le Mans in recent history, at least until its battle with the second-placed Toyota GR010 was brought to a premature stop when driver Ryō Hirakawa lost control under braking with less than two hours to go and had to pit for repairs.

For Ferrari drivers Antonio Giovinazzi, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Briton James Calado the win was a dream come true, occurring as it did on the car’s (and, essentially, team’s) debut in the world’s most famous endurance race. It came on the back of not only a fine run for the car but masterly driving by its crew (one excursion into the gravel for Pier Guidi notwithstanding), who negotiated vicious weather conditions to bring the car home.

For Toyota, winners of the last five Le Mans, it will prove a loss rivalled for its agony only by that of 2016 when its leading car retired when cruising to victory with less than five minutes remaining. In this centenary race, a win would have put to bed talk of more recent victories being against unworthy competition. But the loss needs to be seen in the context of a last minute change of Balance of Performance by the ACO and FIA handing a clear advantage to Ferrari.

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