WEC Sao Paulo - First upgrade package for the Ferrari 499P

10 Jul. 2024 • 17:18
AF Corse team is all set for the 6 Hours of São Paulo, round five of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship, taking place next weekend in Brazil. The race starts at 11.30 a.m. (local time) on Sunday, 14 July. Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen will share Hypercar number 50, while Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi will be at the wheel of number 51. Both crews will benefit from the first upgrade package for the Ferrari 499P.

Taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the technical regulations, new solutions have been applied to the Prancing Horse’s Le Mans Hypercar for the first time since its racing debut in March 2023. These upgrades will be used on the Interlagos track, where Ferrari’s Hypercars have never previously competed or conducted testing. The modifications include a redesign of the brake cooling ducts to alter the flow distribution and ensure better cooling efficiency, particularly on tracks that place more stress on the braking system. In its new configuration, the 499P’s distinctive aerodynamic feature is the introduction of a flick under the front headlamps. 


Antonio Fuoco : After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s very special for the team and me to debut on a new track like Interlagos, renowned worldwide for its unique characteristics. I’m sure that climbing into the cockpit of the 499P for the first free practice sessions will be a special thrill. As for the track, we’ve never tested here and could only prepare on the simulator. The sessions at Maranello have certainly been beneficial, but now it’s time for our first on-track feedback to see how well our virtual work translates to reality.


Miguel Molina : I can’t wait to get back on track with the 499P after the extraordinary victory at Le Mans. That result made us very proud and was crucial for the championship. The track is new to the FIA WEC calendar. We’ve prepared as best we can in the simulator, but we’ll only know our potential and that of our opponents after the first track sessions. Interlagos features low-speed corners, especially in the second and third sectors, where careful attention to traffic management will be crucial. We’ll do our best to contend for another win.


Nicklas Nielsen : We achieved a historic victory at Le Mans, and the entire team, including our teammates in the 499P number 51, did an outstanding job. That result will certainly remain etched in my memory, as will the belief that I can rely on an extraordinary car and team. But now it’s time to look to the future, to the next engagement in São Paulo, a completely new track for any Hypercar team. Our goal will be the same as ever: to get on track, achieve the best possible result, and win valuable championship points.


Alessandro Pier Guidi : Interlagos is one of this season’s three new circuits and a track where we’ve never tested. Our work at Maranello in the simulator, preparing for the fifth round of the season, will be crucial in getting the race weekend off to the best possible start. For Ferrari, the appointment in Brazil follows an excellent double podium at Le Mans. We go to São Paulo hoping to further showcase the potential of our 499P and the team, aiming to remain in contention for the top positions.


James Calado : We return to Interlagos ten years after our last race in 2014, when I finished third with Davide (Rigon, ed.) in the Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 in the LMGTE Pro category. A lot of time has passed since then, but I have lovely memories of the track. It’s a very technical and impressive circuit, and I’m happy to race our 499P there. Given the São Paulo layout and the number of cars registered for the 6 Hours, traffic management will be one of the primary factors in achieving a good result.


Antonio Giovinazzi : We arrive in Brazil highly motivated after achieving a historic Ferrari double on the Le Mans podium. The 24 Hours was an uphill race for our crew, but we ended with an excellent third place. At Interlagos, we aim to confirm our competitiveness and try for our first win of the season on this new track for the Hypercar class. In the past, I’ve always been comfortable at São Paulo, and in 2019, I achieved my best finish in Formula 1 with fifth place in the Brazilian GP. I can’t wait to take to the track with the 499P and have a wonderful weekend.


Antonello Coletta : The 499P number 50’s historic victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the number 51’s third-place finish has put us back in contention for the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles. The triumph in France, our second in a row after the Centenary edition, prompted us to accelerate the introduction of the first update on our car for the Interlagos race. In Brazil, we face a difficult yet stimulating challenge on a spectacular track in front of the passionate São Paulo public.


Ferdinando Cannizzo : After the excellent result at Le Mans, the challenge at the top for the world championship titles is even wider open and, in the second leg of the season, doing our best to try and win the championship in every race will be essential.


The Interlagos circuit will see the debut of the first modifications to the 499P. Despite the car’s excellent performance in the 2023 season, we experienced limitations with brake cooling. Therefore, we defined and developed a new cooling duct design in the wind tunnel and on the track to change the flow distribution and deliver greater efficiency. The modification impacted the balance of the 499P, which we restored to the desired value by adjusting other areas of the car.


Specifically, we modified the underbody, adjusted the heights of some ‘gurney flaps’, and introduced a ‘flick’ under the front headlights. The upgrade has allowed us to maintain the 499P's position within the ‘performance window’ specified by the technical regulations. We don’t expect improvements in lap times, but greater versatility and easier adaptation of the car on circuits where braking performance is more demanding and decisive.


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