Team UK graduates shine at Le Mans as Calado takes historic victory with Ferrari
Motorsport UK Academy Team UK graduate James Calado took a stunning victory at the centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend (10/11 June) in the Ferrari 499P Hypercar he shared with Antonio Giovinazzi and Alessandro Pier Guidi.
Thirty-three-year-old Calado was an integral part of the winning crew, claiming Ferrari’s first overall victory at the French classic in 58 years after a gruelling duel with Le Mans and FIA World Endurance Championship stalwarts Toyota.
The #51 car, run by AF Corse, had started on pole position before a chaotic first quarter of the race in which most of the leading contenders encountered issues, either through rain-related incidents or mechanical gremlins. While positions at the front changed rapidly, the winning Ferrari was consistent, stayed out of trouble and cycled into a natural lead as darkness fell.
As the race ran on, the only remaining Toyota became the Ferrari’s biggest threat, but the Italian team was able to stay ahead and the trio of Calado, Giovinazzi and Pier Guidi took a historic win.
As well as being a 2010 Academy Team UK graduate, Calado is a former Formula Renault UK and GP3 runner-up and finished third in GP2 – now FIA Formula 2 – in 2013 alongside his test driver duties for the Force India Formula 1 Team. A move to sportscar racing with Ferrari followed – career highlights being three WEC GTE titles and two class victories at Le Mans.
2011 Academy Team UK driver Alex Lynn also featured on the podium, with the Cadillac Racing Hypercar he shared with Richard Westbrook and Earl Bamber coming home third.
Motorsport UK Academy Team UK is a national squad of elite competitors selected to receive a bespoke one-to-one performance programme as they compete at the top level of motorsport. Drivers come through the Motorsport UK Academy and a new selection of Team UK elites is picked every year.