The curtain has fallen on the first edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual, a unique event involving 200 drivers and 50 LMP2 and GTE class cars. Ferrari, which lined up four examples of the 488 GTE that last year won the real race, ended the day with the no. 71 crewed by Miguel Molina, Federico Leo, Amos Laurito and Jordy Zwiers, its best performer in seventh position.
Red flags. The race was hampered by various technical problems on the official server, causing two red flags and some unusual situations. This further penalised Maranello’s cars, which were already struggling to fight their opponents on equal terms due to the Balance of Performance set before qualifying. The 488 GTEs failed to match the potential shown in the free practices both in terms of pace and fastest lap. Despite these difficulties, the Ferraris had looked set for an impressive result courtesy of a top-level performance by Enzo Bonito who had driven the no. 52 into second position. However, the car then fell back due to a connection problem suffered with Antonio Giovinazzi at the wheel. The car, also driven by David Tonizza and Charles Leclerc, finished in eighteenth position.
Steering wheel. Previously, the Ferrari contingent had pinned their hopes on the no. 51 of Nicklas Nielsen, David Perel, Kasper Stoltze and Matteo Caruso who were permanently in the top ten, before a problem with the steering wheel software cost the quartet more than five laps. It wasn’t a lucky day either for the 488 GTE no. 71 driven by Molina, Leo, Laurito and Zwiers. After suffering some contacts and damage, the Ferrari was left frustrated by the first display of the red flag that put it a lap behind the leading cars. A thirty-second stop&go imposed in the last hours of the race on Amos Laurito for a contact the stewards considered avoidable and the speed gap with the Corvettes because of the BoP, prevented Federico Leo from holding onto sixth place in the final minutes. He finally crossed the line in seventh, first among Ferrari crews.
Monte-Carlo. Behind him came the Ferrari of Strong Together, crewed by Giancarlo Fisichella, Felipe Massa, Francesco Castellacci and Tony Mella. French sim-racer Mella shone in the 488 GTE no. 54, making up a lot of ground in various stages of the race before finishing in eighth. The crew of the car that wore the colours of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation raced the 24 Hours from the headquarters of the Automobile Club of Monaco.
Museum. All the other Ferraris competing took part in an unusual and evocative installation at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, where the “Ferrari at 24 Heures du Mans” exhibition, which recounts 70 years of the Prancing Horse’s victories on the French circuit, is currently being held. During opening hours, extended for the occasion until midnight on Saturday, visitors could watch the race and the usual goings-on at the pit wall, where Ferrari Competizioni GT engineers offered support to the drivers.