Le Mans 24 Hours: Ferrari wins prestigious endurance race after 50-year absence

Ferrari may have had very little to cheer about in Formula One in recent years, but the Italian manufacturer made a triumphant return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after a 50-year absence.

One of the most prestigious motor races in the world – and one part of motorsports’ ‘Triple Crown’ along with the Monaco Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 – Le Mans is won by the team that covers the most distance in 24 hours.

Ferrari entered this race – the 100th anniversary of the event – in the new Hyperclass category, the top class with the fastest cars in the 2023 edition. This year’s top speed was an eye-watering 347.8 kilometers (216 miles) an hour set by Ferrari’s Antonio Fuocco.

The trio of former F1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado eventually ran out comfortable winners, covering 4,659.40 kilometers (2,895 miles) to usurp a Toyota Gazoo team that entered as the overwhelming favorite on a five-year winning streak.

Victory was Ferrari’s 10th top level win at Le Mans and its first since 1965.

“For me and Alessandro it’s an even more special feeling,” Giovinazzi said, according to F1.

“We first drove this car last July, so to have achieved this result, pole and victory, after just under a year, is undoubtedly fantastic.

“It was by no means a given that we’d make it, but the entire team and my team mates did a great job, and here we are today.

“Thanks to Ferrari, who made all this happen. We are back to winning ways after 50 years, and we should be very proud.”

Ferrari’s F1 driver Charles Leclerc was watching on from the team’s garage and admitted he would one day like to compete at Le Mans.

“I mean, why not? Why not? I would love to, it’s an incredible event,” he told Eurosport.

“For sure, one day in my life I want to tick that box. When will it be, I don’t know. Again, I’m just extremely proud of what Ferrari has done today.”

Elsewhere, Hollywood star Michael Fassbender crashed out of the race during his stint behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 while racing for Germany’s Proton Competition.

Fassbender made his Le Mans debut last year, crashing out twice during the race but eventually finishing a very respectable 51st out of 62 with Proton.

“We are gutted!” the Proton team tweeted. “Car #911 is no longer running the Le Mans 24 race.

“Few minutes before the end of his stint #MichaelFassbender lost control of the car and went into the barrier with no chances to repair the damage.

“Le Mans was no[t] kind to us this year!”

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