By Eddie LePine. Photographs by Jack Webster
Alessandro Pier Guidi is one of the fastest drivers to ever drive for the Cavallino Rampante out of Maranello. TheMotorsportDiaries spoke with the 38-year-old Italian in the pits at Daytona International Speedway, where he was preparing to drive the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo for Risi Competizione in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first race in the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Coming off of a very successful 2021 season, which saw Alessandro win the LMGTE-PRO Intercontinental GT Challenge Championship, along with victories driving for Ferrari in two of the toughest 24-Hour races of any season – the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the GTE-PRO class and the overall victory at the 24 Hours of Spa – he was excited to be back in a Ferrari for the start of the 2022 racing season.
“It is a pleasure to be here and it is always nice to start the season at Daytona. Together with Le Mans and Spa, these are the biggest races in the world of endurance racing – and I will try to be in the winner’s circle by the end of the race.
“I know it is very tough, especially this year with so many cars entered, but I was able to do it (win class) in 2014 so I will try my best to repeat. Of course, with Risi it is a good car and a good team – so we have everything we need.”
Alessandro was referring to his first Rolex 24 class win, driving the Level 5 Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia.
Since then, he has had many successes for Ferrari and since 2017 has been an official Ferrari factory driver – not a small accomplishment. He has raced every Le Mans 24 Hours since 2016 for AF Corse, winning class twice and finishing 2nd once. When you consider the 2017 Italian GT2 Championship, the FIA World Championship also in 2017 and they go nicely with his resume of race wins and championships going back to 2005.
Alessandro shows no signs of slowing down either. Whether on the track or off, the time between seasons seems to get shorter and shorter every year.
“There is not really a long off season for me – we finished last year like one month ago and now we are back racing here (at Daytona). I have been testing a lot and working on the simulator at the (Ferrari) factory.”
Alessandro had a great week and clearly he really enjoys racing in America. When asked why, he explained, “It is such a great race – especially this year. In the last few years, it has been very strange (due to Covid). There were not too many fans, but this year we are seeing many people all around the track and it is very nice. I love the track with the banking – it is very different than what we are used to. I can’t wait to race.”
Alessandro went on to have an exceptional race at the Rolex 24, fighting for the class win for the entire 24 hours in a very crowded and competitive GTD-PRO class, taking second in class in a battle that wasn’t decided until the very last lap of the race. For Alessandro and co-drivers James Calado, Daniel Serra and Davide Rigon it was a valiant effort that came up just shy of the top step of the podium.
The Daytona line up was an excellent driving team, as Daniel Serra and James Calado had teamed up with Alessandro to win the GTLM Class for Risi Competizione in a Ferrari 488 GTE at Petit Le Mans in 2019. That 2019 Petit victory was a classic, with the single car Ferrari team besting the multi car efforts of giants like Porsche, Corvette, BMW and the all-powerful Chip Ganassi Ford GT effort.
We had one last question for Alessandro before he got into his Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo for the race. What does he drive when not at the race track? “I like to ride my bike; I cycle a lot. I also have a motorbike – I love it!” When pressed about a personal car, he laughed, “I don’t own a car at the moment.”
He may not need his own car, and who would if they drove for the greatest name in the racing world? It’s perhaps enough to make Ferrari race cars go fast enough to win races and championships, and we look forward to watching Alessandro Pier Guidi race many more times in the near future with IMSA racing in America.