Antonio Giovinazzi (Ferrari AF Corse): "The challenge will be even tougher"

Antonio Giovinazzi (Ferrari AF Corse): "The challenge will be even tougher"

Antonio Giovinazzi looks back on Ferrari AF Corse’s emblematic triumph at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary. The Italian ace is sure that competition will be even more intense in 2024 in the race to excellence that is taking shape with the influx of new manufacturers.

Have you now realised at last that you won the 24 Hours of Le Mans Centenary?

Antonio Giovinazzi: I think we did something magical this year at Le Mans, something important for Ferrari, and now, three months after that win, we’re definitely completely aware of it. Our team is very young: taking the Prancing Horse back to Le Mans, in the top class, was already an emotional step for all of us. Having won the race, in the edition marking our return after half a century, is truly magical. Winning in our debut was amazing, and it’s something we’ll always remember.

What do you think were the factors that instigated this victory?

AG: There’s a high number of crucial factors in an endurance race like Le Mans: reliability, performance and speed, and, strictly speaking, a dash of luck. In that fantastic weekend, everything went right and we succeeded in earning a singular result for the whole team.

"The strategy will be working every day on improving"
Antonio Giovinazzi, Ferrari AF Corse

When you think back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans podium, what comes to mind?

AG: I hadn’t won a race since 2016, so many years had passed for me: returning to the top step of the podium dressed in red, with the Ferrari 499P, let me experience some indescribable emotions, a feeling that I’ll always carry with me. There’s nothing like the Le Mans podium: climbing it after a great, hotly contested race like this, in the Centenary edition, was really special.

Can you describe the pressure an Italian racing driver is under when representing Ferrari?

AG: You always feel some pressure when you race for Ferrari – it’s normal – and that’s because when you represent the Prancing Horse you know that the goal is always trying to win. Personally, I grew up with the dream of competing under these colours from when I was a little boy, so winning the world’s most famous endurance race with this team is something that will always stay in my heart.

What strategy will you adopt to retain your 24 Hours of Le Mans title?

AG: There are no secrets to it, apart from the certainty that we’ll keep on working flat out. We’re still a young team with areas we can improve on, so the strategy will be working every day on improving. This is the approach that we’ll also take in the coming edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the only FIA WEC race to escape Toyota this season. In which areas do you think the 499P needs to progress for 2024?

AG: First of all, the 499P proved a great car from the moment it made its debut. In the first season of competition this year, after 6 races held so far, we’ve picked up an extraordinary win at Le Mans, pole position at Sebring on our debut and in France, and several podiums. We obviously have areas for improvement, and after Bahrain, in the winter, we’ll do all we can to continue with our progress in view of the coming season.

BMW, Alpine, Lamborghini and Isotta Fraschini will join the FIA WEC in 2024. How do you view this increased competition?

AG: It’s fantastic to see a championship with so much participation from so many manufacturers and teams. From the perspective of a driver, it means that the challenge on the track against our competitors will be even tougher.

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