Ferrari wrapped up the 2017 endurance season with an impressive trophy haul, claiming two world GT titles and two European Le Mans Series crowns, as well as clinching yet another class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
For the first time, FIA GT World Endurance Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championship titles were up for grabs in 2017 adding an extra touch of spice to the rivalry between Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin and Porsche in the LMGTE Pro class. However, despite mixed fortunes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Italian giant came out on top once again.
The skill and experience displayed by AF Corse, already LMGTE Pro class winners at Le Mans in 2012 and 2014, took the team and the Italian manufacturer to the top of their respective World Endurance Championship standings for the fifth time in six seasons, with the two Anglo-Italian crews of Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado (three wins) and Davide Rigon/Sam Bird (two wins) demonstrating great complementarity. Pier Guidi deserves a special mention as he had the daunting task of replacing compatriot Gianmaria Bruni – one of the world’s greatest GT drivers – who had joined Porsche. And what a way to celebrate his début season as a designated driver in LMGTE Pro – as GT World Champion Driver with James Calado!
On top of the five wins for AF Corse in LMGTE Pro, the Ferrari 488 GTE also triumphed on three occasions in LMGTE Am. While Clearwater Racing and Spirit of Race, the two full-season entries in this class of the World Endurance Championship, claimed one victory each, the season’s highlight was undoubtedly the Le Mans win for British outfit JMW Motorsport, who also took the LMGTE class title in the European Le Mans Series.
While the competition has undoubtedly got tougher over the years – especially at Le Mans with the presence of Corvette – Ferrari shows no signs of weakening. Whether this continues to be the case in 2018 with the new Aston Martin Vantage and the arrival of the BMW M8 GTE alongside Ford and Porsche, only time will tell.
Photo: In addition to the GT World Endurance Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ Championship crowns, Ferrari took the LMGTE Am class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and captured the European Le Mans Series LMGTE Drivers’ and Teams’ titles through British team JMW Motorsport (pictured).