Ferrari closed the Lone Star Le Mans, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, with a podium finish in the LMGTE Pro class and fourth place in the LMGTE Am. The race proved difficult for the Prancing Horse cars even though James Calado secured an excellent third place in the Pro class.
LMGTE Pro. The six-hour race in Austin, Texas, saw AF Corse’s two 488 GTEs perform well enough despite a clear difference in performance with the race-winner, the Aston Martin of Thiim-Sørensen. An excellent Alessandro Pier Guidi and a tenacious James Calado – who triumphed here in 2017 – finished third. During his last stint, Calado engaged in a pulsating duel with Lynn’s Aston Martin which earned him the podium. The result didn’t turn out as expected, but the changing track conditions compromised the car’s balance.
Twin car no. 71 endured a challenging race with Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina at the wheel. While showing a slightly slower pace than their teammates, the Italo-Spanish crew were going well until, to avoid contact with a lapped car, the nose of the 488 GTE violently landed on a bollard on inside of a curve. Even though there was no visible damage, from then on, it was hard for the pair to keep tabs on the leading group. A fifth-place finish moves them up the rankings and provided useful data for the next race, the 1000 Miles of Sebring in mid-March.
LMGTE Am. François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen moved to the top of the class standings after their fourth-place in the Lone Star Le Mans behind the wheel of the 488 GTE no. 83 of AF Corse. They are two points ahead of their closest pursuers, Yoluc-Adam-Eastwood, who won the race. In the final stages, a fast Nielsen reduced the gap on Cairoli’s Porsche, then in third position, without however challenging the Italian driver for the podium. The other Ferraris finished further back, although some placings were affected by the penalties imposed during the six-hour race. Seventh place went to AF Corse no. 54, with Flohr-Castellacci-Fisichella, ahead of the Red River Sport trio, Grimes-Mowlem-Hollings, who put in a convincing performance, while Ishikawa-Cozzolino-Beretta finished tenth for MR Racing.
Standings. With three races to go, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado are still second in the standings on 83 points, 26 points behind Thiim-Sørensen, while Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina follow on 55 points. AF Corse and Collard-Perrodo-Nielsen lead the ranking in the LMGTE Am class on 85 points.