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Le Mans dream ends in the 14th hour

The Garage 59 team’s first attempt at the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans ended just before sunrise when a technical issue stopped the #59 Inception Racing / Garage 59 Ferrari in its tracks as the team headed into the 14th hour of the race.

After taking a podium finish at the Paul Ricard 1000kms the previous weekend with one of the its McLaren 720S GT3 cars, the team went straight into Le Mans week to run the #59 Ferrari 488 GTE for Alexander West, Côme Ledogar and Marvin Klein.

The team made good, steady progress throughout the practice sessions and Ledogar qualified the car in 12th position for the start of the race.

The atmosphere on race day was incredible as the fans were back at Le Mans for the first time since the 2019 race and they were enjoying every moment of the great event. It was Ledogar who took the start and he made great headway in the first hour, hustling the Ferrari up into the Top 10.

Everything ran like clockwork from then on. With support from Ferrari experts, AF Corse, the Garage 59 squad delivered perfect pit stops and a perfectly executed strategy for over 13 hours.

After Ledogar’s opening run, Klein took the wheel for his first taste of racing at Le Mans, the Frenchman loving every moment of his “dream come true” rookie experience, before handing the Ferrari over to West who delivered a faultless double stint.

This cycle continued into the night and by the halfway mark, the #59 Ferrari was eighth in class and second of the GTE Am Ferraris, still running beautifully.

Until it wasn’t.

As the race entered its 14th hour, West had jumped back in for his next stint but during his out lap the Ferrari lost drive and he had to pull off at the first Mulsanne Chicane. The team leapt into action with the engineers searching the data to see what could be wrong as a team of mechanics went out to find Alex to offer verbal assistance.

After running through all the possibilities the team concluded that the drive shaft had broken, which is terminal. No getting back to the garage. No more racing.

“Endurance racing can be cruel sometimes,” said West. “Once we realised it was the driveshaft we knew it was game over and we had to retire from the race. Before stopping we were the second Ferrari in our class and I was looking forward to racing into the sunrise. Until then everything had gone perfectly: faultless pit stops, great strategy, no punctures, no contact and then we were out.

“Le Mans is tough; that’s what makes it the race that everyone wants to win. I want to thank the team, including the guys from AF Corse, who all worked together so well and really pushed for us, and of course my team mates Côme and Marvin. I’m sure we’ll be back.”

Garage 59 has another quick turnaround, travelling on to Zandvoort in the Netherlands for the next two rounds of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup this weekend.


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