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Ferrari’s First Spa 24 Win Since 2004

Is the Prancing Horse set to score more success in international enduros?

The 2021 Spa 24 Hours marked Ferrari’s biggest overall 24 Hour race win since 2004, and arguably the most significant, thus far, of the 21st century with the Iron Lynx Team and their factory-blessed driver squad, showing intent for the team and the brand in endurance racing both on the customer and factory front.

Whilst there has not been an overall 24 Hour race win in mixed class sportscar racing for the Ferrari marque since the 1998 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona with the Doran Moretti 333SP, there have, of course, been significant GT class wins both at Daytona and at Le Mans.

Overall race wins since then though in 24 Hour races though have been fewer and further between with just the 2004 Spa 24 Hours win for the BMS Scuderia Italia 550 Maranello to score on the truly significant international events.

There have been others a little further down the feeding chain, the most recent a 2017-2019 hat-trick of wins in the 24H Portimao for the Scuderia Praha outfit (the 20-19 effort pictured above).

There have been a couple of overall wins too in the Britcar 24 Hours at Silverstone in 2010 (the MJC Ferrari 430 which featured current Prodrive boss John Gaw on the driving strength) and 2011, the Eclipse Motorsport entered 430 for father and son Michael and Sean McInerney and Phil Keen.

The efforts of Ferrari customers at the Nürburgring 24 Hours have always fallen short with the best showings put in a decade ago by the Farnbacher Racing efforts with Hankook, their best shot coming in the 2010 race taking second place, on the lead lap in their 430GT2 with the late Allan Simonsen, Dominik Farnbacher, Leh Keen and Marco Seefried.

At Spa, there have been other very strong performances, and multiple class wins in the GT3 era too.

There has been remarkable consistency for the marque throughout almost the whole history of the race as a GT-only encounter.

After 2001, the first all-GT race saw neither of Ferraris entered complete the race there was an immediate and profound improvement in fortunes, 2002 seeing JMB Racing take fourth overall and second place in N-GT with their #50 Ferrari 360.

2003 and it was better still as the #22 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 550 Maranello came home second overall for the marques first ever Spa 24 overall podium finish.

That was bettered once again in 2004 with the overall win for the same car, Fabrizio Gollin, Luca Cappellari, Enzo Calderari and Lilian Bryner taking the win ahead of a GPC Ferrari 575 GTC that featured current WRT boss Vincent Vosse on the driving squad, the overall result a very rare instance indeed in the modern era of two different models from the same marque filling the top two places in a major endurance race. The 2004 win would be the third in the Spa 24 for Ferrari after victories in 1949 and 1953.

2005 saw the arrival of the (Ferrari-powered) Maserati MC12s, the 550 though still able to score 3rd and 4th against the newer cars.

2006 saw the top Ferrari finish 6th, a class win in GT2 for AF Corse and the 430 GT2 before a fallow year in 2007 that saw no Ferrari in the top ten, or on a class podium aside from the remarkably pointless ‘relay’ class for the Coupe de Roi – the less said about that the better.

2008 saw BMS Scuderia Italia take the GT2 win, 5th overall with an AF Corse 430 GT2 also on the class podium.

The following year, 2009 saw another step forward, 4th overall for AF Corse and the F430 GT2, heading home a 1,2,3 in GT2 with the pair of CRS-entered 430s completing the class podium.

The final year before the all-GT3 era saw AF Corse/Team ALD Vitaphone take 5th overall, 3rd in GT2 in the final outing for the GT2 spec cars.

2011 and the best effort was 5th, ex multiple overall race winners Vita4One with a 458 GT3 (this the eventually disqualified sister #2 car to the class-winning #29).

The same overall result was repeated the following year by an AF Corse crew that took the win in Pro-Am with a crew that included 2021 hero Alessandro Pier Guidi.

2013 and a third consecutive fifth place was scored, again by AF Corse and again by the Pro-Am winning squad, this time though by a team that included the 2021 Pro-Am wining pair of Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin (seen below with Amato Ferrari). They headed a one-two in the class for Ferrari ahead of SMP Racing.

2014 and the streak of fifth place finishes were replaced by… sixth! but it was the completion of a hat-trick of Pro-Am class wins for AF Corse and Ferrari with the 458 GT3, a second car coming home third in class with a crew featuring Aussie superstar Craig Lowndes.

The streak of Pro-AM wins for AF Corse and Ferrari would be extended to four in a row in 2015 with a fourth place overall finish for another crew featuring Pier Guidi!

2016 would see no finisher in the top ten for Ferrari for the first time since 2007 in the first year for the new 488 GT3 but would see a podium sweep in the Am class with Kessel Racing taking the win with their #888 Ferrari 458 GT3.

Kessel would repeat the class win the following year, the AM class again a one-two for Ferrari with the best overall finisher just 17th but still a Pro-Am podium finisher.

2018 and another Pro-Am win, for another emerging Ferrari customer team, Rinaldi Racing, though again with a growing Pro class the overall finishing position was relatively modest – 15th overall (SMP Racing the best overall finisher in 10th).

2019 would see Rinaldi repeat their class winning form – this time in the AM class, 28th overall, remarkably the best overall finish too for the marque!

2020, and a now somewhat more reliable 488 GT3 Evo would see the best Pro car come home in what had become a traditional 5th place! Sky Tempesta Racing would give Ferrari its only class podium, second in Pro-Am.

With Ferrari switching its focus to Hypercar in 2023 and with a new customer GT3 offering due soon thereafter though, there’s every possibility that the picture in the next decade could be very different indeed from the last. We’re getting used to talking of a new golden age in sportscar racing. What part will Ferrari play in the next chapters?