Ferrari Hypercar adds Monza test for Le Mans prep

Ferrari Hypercar adds Monza test for Le Mans prep

Le Mans/WEC

Ferrari Hypercar adds Monza test for Le Mans prep


Ferrari AF Corse is set to take its pair of 499P Hypercars to Monza after the third round of the FIA WEC season at Spa-Francorchamps next weekend, for a final test ahead of the car’s Le Mans 24 Hours debut in June.

Giuliano Salvi, the Ferrari GT & Sports Race Cars race and testing manager, confirmed to RACER that the entire crew and all six drivers will be present at the “Temple of Speed” as it looks to get some additional running in before the Le Mans Test Day. It will also be useful in helping the team get a baseline set up for the FIA WEC’s race at Monza in July, which will be the program’s first on home soil in front of the tifosi.

However, this final test will not be the 499P’s first at Monza, as it took its 499Ps to the Autodromo back in February for some running before the season opener in Sebring.

“It will be a good training session for everyone,” Salvi said. “The circuit is closer in terms of lift-to-drag ratio to Le Mans. It’s a low-downforce circuit. So we are going there to test different setups and settings for running at high speed — this will help us prepare for Le Mans.”

Salvi also confirmed that the team will use the traditional Monza layout for the test. In the past, LMP1 Hybrid teams were filmed testing at Monza without the first chicane to increase the time spent at top speed at the circuit. However, Ferrari, which will share the venue with Porsche for the test, has confirmed that it will use the traditional layout.

The test at Monza will come after the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps next week, which is set to be a hugely important race for the program, following a pair of podium finishes in the opening races of the season.

The 499P isn’t a stranger to Spa, as the team tested at the Belgian circuit in the off-season, though mainly in wet conditions. Ferrari hopes to make further progress with its 499Ps on its return and close the gap with Toyota.

Last weekend in Portimao, Ferrari was again Toyota’s closest rival. It looked set for a double podium before its No. 51 developed an issue with its brake-by-wire system, which ultimately led to a right-front brake disc failure late in the race.

The team, and in particular, Antonio Giovanazzi and Alessandro Pier Guidi, were forced to take a cautious approach to their stints. They were tasked with managing the brake temperature, with Pier Guidi’s pace suffering badly as the problem worsened.

Still, despite that setback in Sunday’s race, Salvi feels the team has made significant progress since the season began, with a new car and a newly assembled staff, which have only raced together twice.

Technical glitches hindered the Ferrari 499P Hybrids in Portimao, but the team is confident it can take a more aggressive approach each time out. Motorsport Images

“The team in Sebring was working together in a race environment for the first time,” he explained. We were testing a lot but it’s a brand-new team with younger, bright brains, but that is inexperienced. We still need a lot more time working together.

“The workflow was smoother (in Portimao) — we improved massively. We had more control over what we were doing on track. We were better at fuel management too. We need another step like that for Le Mans — we need to be ready to face big endurance races.”

Interestingly, Salvi revealed that the team had opted for a conservative approach in Portugal. He hinted that it will become bolder as the season progresses, once it becomes more comfortable with the 499P as a package.

“Every time we put the car on the ground we learn something,” he said. “In Sebring we were probably not nursing the tire enough; here (in Portimao) at the end of the day we probably could have pushed more at the beginning and during the race. We were trying to cure the left-front corner, which was critical here. We could have pushed more. We still need to improve.

“If we didn’t have the issue we would have been second and third, which would have been an exceptional result. Unfortunately, we couldn’t achieve that, but we take the positive of the second position of car No. 50.

“Every time we see the checkered flag we get tons of data. Testing is limited — we don’t have many days to spend on track. The car is brand-new, it’s fragile and complicated. We needed to nurse it. We can push more. Every time we race we will be more aggressive.”