The best of the Ferrari GTEs will set off from ninth position on the starting grid of the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans, after Friday’s time trials. The 488 GTE no. 52 driven by Enzo Bonito of the FDA Hublot eSports Team, lapped in 3:48.717, two-tenths of a second faster than the second Prancing Horse car, AF Corse no. 71, qualified by Jordy Zwiers. The Dutch driver’s time of 3:348.934 on the 13,626-metre French circuit earned him twelfth place, just ahead of Kasper Stoltze in no. 51; the Danish driver clocked 3:49.058. The 488 GTE no. 54 of Strong Together qualified in twentieth with Tony Mella recording a time of 3:51.481, while pole went to the Porsche no. 93. Maranello’s virtual cars were subject to Balance of Performance adjustments, which significantly slowed the 488 GTE and will require further refinement for the race setup.
Curiously, the Ferraris will start from a position similar to the 2019 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which culminated in triumph for the trio of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra, precisely 70 years after Ferrari’s first win on French soil. The 24-hour marathon is scheduled to start on Saturday at 3 pm. A pit has been set up at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello so that the drivers of cars no. 51, 52 and 71 can receive the support of the Ferrari Competizioni GT engineers who, as in real life, are positioned on the pit wall. The Museum’s opening hours have been extended on Saturday until midnight to allow fans to attend the event. Fans can also follow the live streaming of the race on the FerrariRaces website and social media channels.
The comments after the qualifying session.
Enzo Bonito: “Tomorrow we’ll set off from ninth position, and Charles will be behind the wheel of the car at the start of the race. The qualifying wasn’t satisfactory even though we did our best. We were hoping for a better position, but we did everything we could. It’s a long race, and so we won’t let this result get us down. We are aiming to be competitive tomorrow”.
Jordy Zwiers: “After setting a good time without taking any risks, I failed to improve because I didn’t keep to the track limits, but we’re hoping to make a comeback in the race”.
Kasper Stoltze: “It was a difficult qualifying. I was in a good position, but made a little mistake that didn’t cost me much but deprived me of a couple of tenths. However, we are behind, in twelfth position, and so it will be a difficult race because the cars in front of us are fast. We have a tough challenge to overcome, but we believe we’re in with a chance and will give it our all”.