Ferrari paid the price for being “honest” in the GTE Pro battle at Le Mans this year and had no chance of beating winning marque Porsche, believes James Calado.
The Italian manufacturer endured a disappointing weekend at La Sarthe with its trio of AF Corse-run 488 GTE Evos, as the best of them finished fifth – two laps down on the victorious Porsche 911 RSR.
Calado and his teammates, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra, managed to qualify the #51 Ferrari fourth in class, but were ruled out of contention early on by a puncture and then lost more time when a damper broke in the morning hours.
They finished eighth on the road, which became seventh after Ford was given a post-race penalty for violating minimum drive-time rules.
But even with a clean run, Calado feels Porsche, which took a dominant 1-2 in the GTE Pro division, was in a different league to its opponents and was always out of reach of Ferrari.
“We were nowhere near the winners,” Calado told Motorsport.com. “We were honest, and we ran to our full potential in qualifying and the race, and the others obviously have got more.
“I wish we had some more to give to compete and make it fair, that’s down to the ACO. I think they know full well what’s going on.
“Even if they do a [Balance of Performance] change, it’s never going to be enough because the gap is so big. The Porsche has such a huge advantage.
“We’d just like to have the chance to fight for race wins, because it makes it so boring for everyone. There’s no motivation for anyone.”
The #71 Ferrari of Sam Bird, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina finished ninth after a three-minute stop-and-go penalty for failing to respect the red light in the pits and a lengthy trip to the garage to repair the front splitter.
Although Porsche was handed a 10kg weight penalty after qualifying, Molina couldn’t believe that the organisers didn’t do more to level the playing field ahead of the race.
“When we saw the last BoP on Friday [before the race], we knew that we wouldn’t have much chance against Ford and Porsche,” Molina told Motorsport.com.
“It was unbelievable that they did not do anything about it. Everyone saw it coming and we warned the FIA and the ACO, but they did not do anything about it.
“I hope that one day the tables will be turned and we will be the ones who can manage the power and how we want our rivals to see us.”
Calado even suggested that Porsche could be storing up performance for next year’s Le Mans.
“It was so easy for them to win this race,” he added. “It was effortless for them. They’ve got so much performance. We had to go flat-out just to stay in their slipstream.
“They’ve saved probably a second, a second-and-half for the next Le Mans.”