Saturday, 18 March 2023 21:23

Ferrari 499P debut with podium at Sebring

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The Ferrari 499P made its debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship finishing in third place in the 1000 Miles of Sebring. 

Car number 50 driven to the finish line by Antonio Fuoco secured third, and finishing seventh with the other Hypercar which arrived at the checkered flag with Alessandro Pier Guidi behind the wheel.

Fifty years after the marque last participated in the premier class of endurance racing, Ferrari showed up in Florida earning a historic pole position with Fuoco, who shares the car with Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, and a fourth place on the grid with the three-time world champion in the LMGTE Pro class, crewed by James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi.

For most of the race both 499Ps were the chief challengers in the battle with the two Toyota Hypercars for the first places in the standings, despite a Drive Through and a five-second penalty for an infraction during a pit stop served by the crew of number 50. The episode that affected the running of Hypercar number 51, on the other hand, took place two hours from the finish line, when a contact between Pier Guidi – fifth at the time – and the 488 GTE entered in the LMGTE Am category, driven by Francesco Castellacci, forced the Piedmontese driver to return to the pits to allow the technicians to carry out the necessary repairs, losing a few laps.

The last hour of the 1000 Miglia ensured a show especially for the third step of the podium. Fuoco, who remained at the wheel for 110 of the 217 laps completed by his crew in line with the strategy set by the AF Corse team, resisted the pursuit of the Cadillac and, after pit stops by both cars, rejoined the track ahead of the American team and thus secured the position at the end of the race, won by the number 7 Toyota.

The World Endurance Championship will be back in the spotlight on the weekend of April 16 on the Portuguese circuit of Portimão which will host the second act of the season with the 6-hour race.

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