Ferrari, a victory at the 2023 Le Mans 24-Hours that became an instant legend and in the words of the Italian team’s big boss John Elkann: “Unforgettable!”
At the end of the triumphant roller-coaster, the 24-hour ride of the Ferrari 499P at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, joy and emotion within the Maranello team and among the Italian press are skyrocketing. The day after, in fact, there was no shortage of words of praise for the feat at the Sarthe on Saturday and Sunday, accompanied also by the words of some protagonists who, in fact, already seem ready to raise the bar even further.
It was a historic, legendary, epic day experienced by Italy thanks to Scuderia Ferrari at Le Mans where, 50 years after its last participation and 58 years after its last victory in 1965, a redhead triumphed again in the most representative race, conic and emblematic of the motorsport world, now in its 91st running, and 100 years since the first one in 1923.
A victory by the Ferrari 499P hypercar rewrites the pages of motorsport history, of the very classic Sarthe race and that of Scuderia itself. A success which, above all, demonstrates to the jaundiced world the skill, the talent, at times the genius of an Italian team (Ferrari and AF Corse which manages the two cars on the track), wonderfully directed by Antonello Coletta and Amato Ferrari who in just over a year has been able to give birth from nothing to this truly ambitious project.
Full of expectations with an impossible challenge on the horizon: returning to compete in World Endurance Championship (WEC) racing and, if possible, winning the 24 of Le Mans by beating Toyota, the dominant force for several years. It was just a dream before this incredible weekend.
Coletta: Le Mans 24 Hours is a WEC race and we won it, so why not win the title too?
A project which, thanks to work, commitment and passion, took shape day after day until it reached its climax at Le Mans when at the end of a practically perfect week dominated with consistency and top-level performance. James Calado’s Alessandro Pier Giudi and Antonio Giovinazzi were the ones who did the honours.
A race won by the #51 Cavalino, the meaning of it captured by the words of team boss Antonello Coletta after the race: “Coming back here after 50 years and winning is the most important result for Ferrari and for us it is an incredible satisfaction. I would like to remind you that a year ago this car did not exist, it was only on a sheet of paper, today we celebrate the victory.
“We are proud of all the people involved in the project. Without them, we would not have had the car to celebrate. The 499P is still young, it requires experience, but in the future, we can have another dream. The 24h is a WEC race and we won it, so why not win the title too?”
In addition to the drivers, Italian newspapers were full of praise for Prancing Horse’s feat, with Ferrari-poet Leo Turrini his pen gushing with pride in his Profondo Rosso column, not hiding his emotion and, above all, with positive words also for President John Elkann; notably much more involved in the hypercar project, or appears to be, than with the Formula 1 project.
“Beautiful emotion. Ferrari triumphs at Le Mans on the centenary of the race, half a century after his farewell, 58 years after the last acute one with Rindt at the wheel. You know my opinion on John Elkann as president. Negative. But he was right about Le Mans, so thank you,” wrote Turrini.
Elkann: We lived an unforgettable day
With an opportunity he does not have with the Scuderia’s F1 team theses days, Elkann wasted no time and did not miss the opportunity to gush about the success of the Reds at Le Mans: “We lived an unforgettable day, which I dedicate to all those who work at Ferrari.
“We are proud to have brought Italy to the top step at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, celebrating the centenary of the most important race. The emotions gifted to Tifosi on a historic day link the past, the present and future, reminding us of the importance of having the courage and humility to always improve,” beamed Elkann.
Roberto Chinchero also wrote about it in his piece for Motorsport Italia, speaking of a triumph that has become a legend in real time: “The car was immediately ‘beautiful’, ‘fast’, ‘podium-worthy’, and now a project that has bent the tough competition.
Ferrari was exuberant at Le Mans, confirming that with work and skill, you can succeed even to change the rules of the game. The chequered flag saw exultation mixed with emotion. There were above all those who believed in the Ferrari 499P project right from the start, led with fervour by Coletta.
From joyful shiny eyes to pats on the back, at the end of the day, drivers – Pier Guidi, Giovinazzi and Calado – have written a historic page in the legend of Ferrari, and we all had the privilege and good fortune to witness the making of this fable, in real-time.