After 50 years, Ferrari makes a successful return to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Ferrari won the Le Mans 24 Hours 100th anniversary race with a lineup that included Britain’s James Calado.
In a race that saw numerous car manufacturers return, the 33-year-old was part of a three-driver lineup that defeated overwhelming favorites Toyota.
For the first time in 50 years, Ferrari competed as a top-level works team.
“It’s a fantastic achievement after such a long time,” Calado added.
“This will go down in history,” said Ferrari’s most high-profile British driver since Nigel Mansell in the 1980s, “and it will go down in history.”
After a stint by veteran Formula One driver Antonio Giovinazzi, the number 51 Ferrari crossed the line first, with Alessandro Pier Guidi at the wheel.
It means that, 58 years after their last triumph, Ferrari has now won their tenth top-level Le Mans victory in one of the most thrilling races in recent memory.
Following the advent of new ‘hypercar’ rules, which allow for a larger design brief than other series, several manufacturers have returned to sportscar racing, resulting in Ferrari, Peugeot, Porsche, and Cadillac producing quite distinct looking cars.
Toyota was the only manufacturer left in the sport five years ago, and was anticipated to win a sixth consecutive Le Mans in 2023 after winning every race in the World Endurance Championship this season thanks to the improved GR10.
However, several early crashes and severe rain showers scattered the field, and as the race settled down over the night, the Ferrari began to show unexpected consistency.
After running within seconds of each other for hours, Toyota’s Ryo Hirakawa spun near the end of the race at Arnage circuit, and Ferrari held on.
Cadillac, entered by General Motors, finished third, with a driver lineup that included Britain’s Richard Westbrook.