2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner Ozz Negri will return to Le Mans this week as he takes to Circuit La Sarthe for the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans. Negri will co-drive the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO with Côme Ledogar and Francesco Piovanetti in the GTE-AM class for the American-flagged Luzich Racing.
The 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans has been rescheduled from its traditional June date to this weekend (September 19-20), and will feature a remarkable 22 entries in the GTE-AM category as part of the nearly 60-car, four class field.
Negri has raced with Piovanetti since 2018, as the businessman has continued to develop his race craft with outings in IMSA WeatherTech, Asian Le Mans, and Michelin Le Mans Cup competition.
“The 24 is an incredible race—such a huge event, so of course it’s a shame we will be racing without fans this year but that is just how it is,” said Negri. “The team is very strong and I know the car will be prepared, so we can just focus on building our setup through the sessions to have what we need for the race.”
Negri first competed on the 8.47-mile circuit in 2016, earning a ninth place class finish in LMP2 class for Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) in a Honda-powered Ligier. Sharing the driving duties with co-drivers John Pew and Lawrence Vanthoor, the team led the race on the way to a debut top-ten result for Negri and MSR.
“Last year was a very different experience for me compared to my first time there in 2016 in the Ligier,” said Negri. “It was a completely different experience to race a GTE car here and I really enjoyed it. The Ferrari is such an amazing car, it was awesome to be on that track in that car last year and we are really excited to be back in a 488 Evo this year for the 24.”
Negri is looking forward to his return to the 24 Hour, having partnered with Piovanetti for the 2019 Road To Le Mans with Spirit of Race onboard a Ferrari GT3 entry.
“Francesco (Piovanetti) has been making progress every time out,” said Negri. “Our main focus is on finishing this race, and it will be a different challenge this year with so much of the race happening at night.
Ledogar has two Le Mans 24 Hour starts, in 2018 for Jackie Chan DC Racing in LMP2, and then again in 2019 onboard a Ferrari 488 GTE in GTE-AM competition.
“Having a driver like Come (Ledogar) on the team will be a big boost, he also has experience here and a lot of speed,” said Negri. “Putting things together for a race like this is a bit of a puzzle between the drivers and the teams and the car, and I feel like this is a really good combination so we are just eager to get going and get some laps under our belts to prepare.”
The altered event format will see two three-hour practice sessions on Thursday ahead of a 45-minute qualifying session. A four-hour practice session will close out the ontrack running on Thursday, with Friday providing a Hyperpole session following one hour of final practice. Race day opens with the traditional AM 15-minute warm up ahead of a 2:30 PM local start time on Saturday, September 19.