Ferrari AF-Corse Reveal Drivers for Third 499P

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Official Ferrari drivers Yifei Ye and Robert Schwartzman. Credit: Ferrari Media Centre

Following the reveal of their continued driver line up for their existing numbers 50 and 51 cars, Ferrari AF-Corse have unveiled who will be driving their third Ferrari 499P in the FIA WEC. 2023 LMP2 champion Robert Kubica will be joined by official Ferrari drivers Robert Schwartzman and newcomer to the Scuderia Yifei Ye.

Poland’s Robert Kubica enjoyed a great year in the final season of the LMP2 class in the FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship). His Team WRT car was only off the podium in one round, the season opener at the 1000 Miles of Sebring. From then on, they achieved two third positions, one second, and three wins at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, 6 Hours of Fuji, and the season finale at the 8 Hours of Bahrain.

Kubica’s Team WRT LMP2 car at Fuji in 2023. Credit: 2023 FIA WEC / FocusPackMedia – Gabi Tomescu

This third Ferrari has an uphill battle before it. It is joining a very competitive and established Hypercar class. As a driver with great experience, Kubica is aware of the challenge before them. “We will have to try to keep our feet on the ground and do our best,” he said, adding “especially at the beginning of the season it will not be easy, but we will try to maximize track time to gain crucial experience.” With other teams, such as Lamborghini, making their debut in 2024, and the Ferrari team having finished second in the 2023 constructors championship, they stand a real chance to be competitive.

Former Ferrari Academy driver Robert Schwartzman was promoted to Ferrari reserve driver in 2023. He competed in an F1 practice session for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, and competed for AF-Corse in the 2023 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup, securing a win at the final round at the 3 Hours of Barcelona. In November 2023, Schwartzman posted the best overall time in a 499P in the rookie tests at Bahrain.

Yifei Ye’s Hertz Team Jota Porsche in Belgium in 2023. Credit: 2023 FIA WEC / FocusPackMedia – Harry Parvin

For Chinese driver Yifei Ye, 2024 will be his second season in the WEC and his first full-time season. The 23 year old competed in all but two rounds of the 2023 WEC season for Hertz Team Jota in a Porsche 963. While they never got onto the podium, they had a competitive season. Ye even enjoyed a stint in the overall lead of the prestigious Centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans before he unfortunately lost control, leading to a crash that required a 20 minute repair stint in garage.

Now joining the team that ultimately won that race, Ye has another achievment under his belt by joining the Scuderia. “When I heard I would be an official Ferrari driver, I was thrilled. For me, this is¬†a dream come true” Ye enthused. He is very clear about his future dreams, saying “If becoming a Ferrari official driver is an achievement and a new starting point in my career, my dream is to become the first Chinese driver to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the first to become world champion in an FIA championship.” He is certainly joining a good team to help him on that journey.

The #51 Ferrari 499P that won the Centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans. Credit: 2023 FIA WEC / FocusPackMedia – Harry Parvin
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Lifelong fan of motor sport, covering the FIA World Rallycross Championship and the FIA WEC, the shortest and longest races covered by the FIA!
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