Time machine: 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans

The world’s most gruelling – and famous – endurance race saw the AF Corse team of Calado, Pier Guidi, and Serra take the trophy, marking the Prancing Horse’s 27th victory at LeMans. Exactly 70 years after its first.

Afew days before the start of 2019’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans racing week, Ferrari announces a livery change on its two 488 GTE EVOs, slated to compete in the GTE Pro category for the AF Corse racing team. On the roof, a shiny new logo appears: ‘1949-2019. 70ème anniversaire Première victoire au Mans’ (‘1949-2019. 70th anniversary first victory at Mans’).

That was the year Luigi Chinetti and Lord Selsdon drove the 166 MM to victory in an edition of the race which made history in many ways. For starters, it was the first postwar race. During the five years of occupation of French territory during the second world war the circuit and its infrastructure were plundered.
After the end of the war, it took the ACO (Automobile Club de l’Ouest) a full four years to raise the necessary funds and to restore the circuit, which meant that the 24 Hours of Le Mans was only reborn from its ashes in 1949. A previous winner in 1932 and 1934 with Alfa Romeo, Chinetti again took on the role most wanted by racing fans, of the hero.

The Italian, then aged 47, duly complied by driving his number 22 166 MM for no less than 22 hours and 51 minutes. The stunning feat made the first of the nine overall Ferrari triumphs on the Sarthe circuit even more memorable. There were many good reasons, then, for AF Corse – with their 488 GTE EVOs – to go for glory in this year’s GTE Pro category that put 17 cars and six manufacturers to the test. The cars themselves were quite a sight, their multicolour sun visors a tribute to the World Champion Manufacturers title garnered by Ferrari in the previous FIA WEC campaign – its fifth out of a maximum possible of six, and the first ever officially recognised by FIA. Having qualified in 8th and 12th place, respectively, the Ferrari 488s, number 71 and 51, met with very different racing fortunes.

Full story with a really cool video HERE at races.ferrari.com

Photo: Ferrari

Leave a Reply