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Ozz Negri Takes Seventh in 24 Hours of Le Mans

Marks full return after suffering COVID-19

LE MANS, France (21 September 20120) – Ozz Negri raced to the finish of the 2020 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend, starting from pole and coming home seventh in the hugely competitive GTE-Am class. 

Negri shared the controls with his Luzich Racing co-drivers Côme Ledogar and Francesco Piovanetti. The Le Mans 24 outing was the first for Piovanetti, who Negri has worked with for several seasons. The years of preparation and tutelage in IMSA WeatherTech, Asian Le Mans, and Michelin Le Mans Cup competition paid off, as Piovanetti delivered a solid performance in his debut in the daunting race. 

The Luzich Racing squad performed well, with Ledogar adding impressive race pace to go with the remarkable pole-winning speed he showed in qualifying. 

“What a race!” said Negri. “This was one of the races that I enjoyed the most—the car was just a dream to drive. What a team and teammates. Francesco never put a foot wrong, and Côme is an extraordinary driver.” 

Negri started the race from pole, and was an early feature in the race broadcast after he was sent spinning following a close encounter with one of the podium-winning Toyota Prototype machines.

“I was super lucky in the beginning when the P1 car went on my inside in the last second and put me on the wet part of the track,” said Ozz of his spin heading into the Dunlop corners. “But even though I was backwards, I knew what to do with the car to stay away from the wall and to save the tires to be able to keep going and not have to pit.”

The  2020 edition of the 24 being set in September meant that there were two extra hours of darkness for the field to contend with. While the radars threatened rain for much fo the opening half of the race, the event didn’t include the traditional deluge that occasionally greets the races. But the added night session time increased the challenge.

“On my first night stint, there was a lot of fogging and I was having a hard time seeing, so I would have to hold my hand out to try to get some air in between gearshifts,” said Negri. “Fortunately, my daughters had a good solution with some anti-fog and it was all set after that.” 

As the race edged on to the 2:30 PM local checkered flag, Negri had to dig deep for his final run, but was thrilled with the final stint as he added another huge 24 hour race to his resume.

“My last stint was my best, by far,” said Negri.  “The car was amazing to drive the team never missed a beat, and the car never went to the garage. I am so blessed to have had the experience at Le Mans with the Ferrari.” 

His return to La Sarthe was even more relished as it marked a full comeback after suffering from COVID-19 earlier this summer.

“I wasn’t sure I could race, or at least have the stamina to race until a week ago,” said Negri. “I was tired in the end but had visited the Ferrari doctor, and they helped a lot so I was able to make the most of that last stint. It was tough-I had not been able to get to the tests, so I had to learn the car quickly, and also try to leave as much track time in practice for Francesco as I could, and also let Côme work on the car to be as quick as it was in qualifying. He’s a great guy and should have a bright future.”