WEC/Le Mans

Ferrari takes Sebring pole on its top-class sportscar return

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

Ferrari will start its first race in the top class of the World Endurance Championship from pole position after its long-time stalwart Antonio Fuoco beat the Toyotas in qualifying at Sebring.

Ferrari is making its top-flight WEC debut at this week’s 2023 season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring, racing alongside the likes of WEC dominator Toyota, Peugeot (which debuted its Hypercar in mid-2022) and fellow manufacturer debutants Porsche and Cadillac.

It looked like pre-season favourite Toyota’s biggest competitor throughout practice and it delivered on that promise in the high-intensity 15-minute qualifying session where one of the three drivers from each car took part.

Fuoco, who first joined Ferrari as a junior driver a decade ago, claimed pole in his first qualifying session in WEC’s premier class, having raced in GTE over the past two years.

He earned pole with a 1m45.067s, lapping 0.214 seconds faster than the reigning champion #8 Toyota, which had ex-Toro Rosso F1 driver Brendon Hartley at the wheel.

Fuoco – team-mate to Charles Leclerc during the title-winning F2 season that launched Leclerc into F1 the following year – shares the polesitting Ferrari with Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen.

Hartley was followed by Kamui Kobayashi in the sister #7 Toyota and the second Ferrari Hypercar completed the top four with another Ferrari GTE graduate Alessandro Pier Guidi setting the #51 Ferrari’s qualifying lap – meaning Antonio Giovinazzi and three-time GTE Pro champion James Calado will start their first top-class WEC race from fourth.

Ex-Formula E driver Alex Lynn spent the opening portion of qualifying in the pits but emerged later on to claim fifth place on the grid for Cadillac’s top-class WEC debut.

The sole Cadillac will have the two Penske Porsches behind it with Kevin Estre qualifying the #6 car in sixth and Michael Christensen placing the #5 car in seventh.

Motor Racing Fia World Endurance Championship Wec Prologue Sebring, Usa

Peugeot came off fifth best of the manufacturers with its two cars eighth and ninth fastest in qualifying. Loic Duval beat his team-mate Mikkel Jensen to put the #94 car he shares with Formula E driver Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor ahead of the #93.

Completing the top 10 was long-time endurance racer Olivier Pla in the Glickenhaus #708 entry.

He was just over a tenth and a half quicker than the slowest Hypercar – the Vanwall entry of Tom Dillmann (who set the qualifying time), touring car convert Esteban Guerrieri and the 1997 F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve.

LMP2 pole went the way of the Zak Brown-co-founded United Autosports team with ex-Audi LMP1 driver Oliver Jarvis taking pole for the #23 entry.

Former W Series racer Sarah Bovy put the all-female Iron Dames on pole position in GTE Am – now the sole GTE class in WEC – with a stellar lap late on.

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