LeMans 24 hours winner Antonio Giovinazzi on what driving the Ferrari 499P feels like

Le Mans 24 Hour Race
Le Mans 24 Hour Race - Antonio Giovinazzi wins in France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Former F1 driver and 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Antonio Giovinazzi has described his experience of driving the Ferrari 499P Hypercar. He believes the driving style in itself wasn't too different from F1 cars, but was impressed by the speed of the Hypercar.

The Italian star drove the car to success at the legendary WEC event, winning on debut. After an incredible 58-year wait, Ferrari triumphed with their first outright victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours race.

Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, and Antonio Giovinazzi formed the winning team, earning the prestigious title in the special centenary edition of the event. They also surpassed Toyota in the process.

Crossing the finish line with a lead of one minute and 21 seconds, Pier Guidi secured the triumph for the #51 Scuderia. They outpaced the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID driven by Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa.

Throughout the race, marked by numerous retirements, the battle for top spot primarily revolved around the fierce competition between the #51 Ferrari and the #8 Toyota. However, it was the Ferrari 499P that demonstrated superior pace, particularly in the latter half of the race.

Giovinazzi said about driving the 499P, as reported by Top Gear:

‘‘To be honest, the driving style is not much different from an F1 car. It’s a racing car so you drive it the same way. Of course, it’s 200kg heavier [than an F1 car] so you can feel this under braking, the change of direction on the car is more ‘lazy.’
‘‘But I was surprised in the speed coming here, in the last sector, how much you can feel the downforce we have… It’s quite impressive. So the Porsche corner is pretty fast. This is a real car, a proper car…”

Ferrari still clueless about the issues that plague their F1 challenger

Rather contrastingly, Ferrari is still struggling in Formula 1. According to team principal Frederic Vasseur, if the technical issue plaguing the SF-23 this season had been identified earlier, the team would have been able to address it by now.

As per Formu1a.uno, Vasseur said:

"If we knew, we would have already solved it. There are so many people working there but it's not easy because it's not even the same problem. In qualifying, you are also in the open air, not in the race, which is why Charles [Leclerc] also had more problems being in traffic."

Unfortunately, the Scuderia had a disappointing performance in Spain, with their drivers finishing in the fifth and 11th positions.

Despite displaying promise during pre-season testing, the renowned Italian team has faced challenges. As a result, it has fallen behind competitors like Mercedes and Aston Martin in the battle for the second spot in the championship standings.

Ferrari has also implemented upgrades to Carlos Sainz's car, but has still struggled to maintain competitive race pace. Additionally, their rivals at Mercedes have introduced upgrades that have propelled them ahead of Ferrari in terms of performance on the race track.

It will be interesting to see how the Scuderia fares on the streets of Montreal in two weeks' time.

Quick Links

Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman