Ferrari 499P makes debut at Sebring, immediately takes pole
Half a century since it last raced at the top level of endurance, Ferrari makes a statement return
Turns out Ferrari knows how to make a fast race car. Who knew? We say this because the Ferrari 499P has taken pole position for the 1000 Miles of Sebring on its racing debut, 50 years after it last featured at the top level of endurance racing.
Rather appropriately, it was the #50 car of Antonio Fuoco that set the fastest time in qualifying with a 1:45.067, fending off the vastly more experienced pair of Toyota GR010s by two tenths and almost half a second respectively. Yowzer.
The second 499P will start the race in fourth place, with Cadillac’s sole V-Series.R, Porsche’s 963 duo and two Peugeot 9X8s following on behind. Glickenhaus ended up four seconds off the pace in 10th, just ahead of Vanwall. We're loving this Hypercar shootout already.
The last time Ferrari started on pole in a top level endurance race was all the way back in 1973, when Arturo Merzario and Carlos Pace began the 24 Hours of Le Mans in P1, eventually finishing second.
“Taking pole position is truly unbelievable,” said Fuoco. “I want to thank the entire team involved here and at Maranello for the extraordinary effort of the last eight months. I am proud of all of them, and I can’t wait to compete.
“Tomorrow, we will set off from pole position and try to do our best, knowing that the race will be long and will run on a track like Sebring that is very demanding for the car. Given the high afternoon temperatures, tyre management will be a crucial factor in the race”.
The question now is: can Ferrari convert single-lap pace into a race win? Perhaps don’t look to the F1 team for inspiration…
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