Ferrari

Lucas di Grassi joins AF Corse for 24 Hours of Le Mans

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Lucas di Grassi will link up with Ferrari’s AF Corse team for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, racing in its No. 51 entry alongside James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

Di Grassi was part of Audi’s LMP1 team prior to its closure at the end of 2016, and has scored three overall podiums at the Circuit de la Sarthe with the German marque.

The Brazilian confirmed to NBC Sports last month that he was chasing a deal to race at Le Mans with a factory team, and was today announced in a seat with AF Corse.

Di Grassi will race in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE at Le Mans alongside Calado and Pier Guidi, who form the marque’s full-season line-up.

“I’m very happy to be back at the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” di Grassi said. “Every professional racing driver wants to be part of history and to race for Ferrari means a lot to me.

“Manufacturer-backed GTE-Pro is undoubtedly the best place to be after my four years in LMP1.”

Di Grassi took to Twitter to stress that the deal would be a one-off for Le Mans only, once again stating that Formula E is his priority with Audi in 2017.

Fernando Alonso completes first test with United Autosports

Photo: United Autosports
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Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first outing with United Autosports, with whom he will contest the 2018 Rolex 24 at Daytona, in their Ligier JS P217 LMP2 chassis.

The McLaren Formula 1 driver completed the test at Motorland Aragon in Spain alongside co-driver Phil Hanson, who will be a teammate with Alonso at next year’s 24-hour Daytona enduro. Filipe Albuquerque, a former GT class winner at the Rolex 24, was also on hand to help Alonso and the team ahead of Alonso’s first run in an LMP2 car, which comes only a couple days after he made his LMP1 testing debut with Toyota. Albuquerque races with Mustang Sampling Racing in IMSA, but will return to United’s European Le Mans Series program for all but one race in 2018.

“I had a great first test with United Autosports. Obviously, we are on a really tight schedule between now and Daytona, but it was nice to jump in the car for the first time,” said Alonso, who will rejoin the team at the official Roar Before the 24 test on January 5-7.

Alonso added, “There’s quite a few switches and things to study so it was important to do this initial shakedown before Daytona, so I could fully learn about the car. I’m happy with everything – the car felt great and the team were fantastic. The atmosphere here is wonderful, like a big family, so today has been amazing. I cannot wait for Daytona.”

Team owner Zak Brown, who also serves as executive director of McLaren Technology Group and helps lead the McLaren Formula 1 effort, shared Alonso’s enthusiasm and was not surprised he was able to acclimate himself relatively quickly.

“Fernando’s first test with United Autosports went awesome as expected. He is a world champion and it is a pleasure to have him in our car,” he said of Alonso’s debut with the team.

Alonso is currently schedule to contest the Rolex 24 with the aforementioned Hanson and McLaren test driver Lando Norris.