24h Le Mans
Ferrari President John Elkann's exciting weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Ferrari President, and official starter for the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans, John Elkann experienced a weekend at the crossroads of the past, present and future. After lowering the French flag and releasing the competitors on Saturday afternoon, he visited the 24 Hours Museum on Sunday morning.
For Ferrari President John Elkann, his visit to Le Mans was an opportunity to rediscover the scene of the action and "the importance of the passion for motorsport and the enthusiasm of this 24 Hours of Le Mans community from all over the world, whether they are drivers, mechanics, engineers, all its participants and spectators. At Le Mans, nighttime is extraordinary, for example watching the cars as they brake going into the Mulsanne corner at the end of the Straight."
After giving the official start at the race on Saturday, Elkann headed to the 24 Hours Museum on Sunday morning. As a welcoming gesture, ACO Culture and Heritage Director Fabrice Bourrigaud opened the special tour by offering Elkann an offical program from the 1976 24 Hours for the Ferrari president's birth year. "The Museum spotlights not only the history of the race, but also the overall evolution of the automobile. It reminds of the importance of auto racing in pushing technological limits and highlights stunning human achievements." The Morgan LMP2 driven in 2016 by quadruple amputee Frédéric Sausset made a strong impression on Elkann: "Frédéric Sausset's accomplishments are truly epic."
A high point of the visit was certainly the set-up combining two legendary cars in Ferrari's history: the 166 MM, the pearl of the Museum's permanent collection, and the 250 GTO, graciously donated by gentleman driver and collector François Perrodo who drove the car from the U.K. Elkann got on board both iconic autos. "The 166 MM and the 250 GTO both reflect the essence of Ferrari: maximum performance, beauty, aesthetics, these are all the elements that make the marque timeless."
During the visit, Elkann and Bourrigaud discussed their future collaboration for the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2023. They agree the goal will be to pay proper tribute to Ferrari's shared history with the legendary race. "The 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the perfect opportunity to do something extremely special, and to look to the future and keep the story going." As he spoke those promising words, a new chapter for Ferrari at Le Mans was being written on the track. For the first time ever, the AF Corse team, an official Ferrari representative, was on its way to winning both LMGTE classes, in a single edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans!
PHOTOS: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), 24 HOURS OF LE MANS, SATURDAY & SUNDAY 21-22 AUGUST 2021. Two exceptional images from John Elkann's weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans: the start of the race where he waved the French flag (at top) and his visit to the 24 Hours Museum where he got behind the wheel of the 166 MM first Ferrari winner at Le Mans in 1949 (above).