Frankie Montecalvo and Gunnar Jeannette co-piloted the No. 53 Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia in the LM GTE class at some of the most famous tracks in the world.
Keasbey, NJ – For American sportscar racer Frankie Montecalvo, the 2013 summer was an incredible European adventure that took the New Jersey native across the Atlantic to battle at some of the most famous tracks in the world in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS).
Based in Silverstone, England, Ram Racing formed in 2012 and contested its first full season in 2013. Ram Racing campaigned two full-time Ferraris for the 2013 season. The sister race car, the No. 52 Ram Racing Ferrari driven by Johnny Mowlem and Matt Griffin earned the LM GTE championship title.
Four of the five circuits were brand new venues for Montecalvo. The only track where Montecalvo had previous track time was the season finale at Paul Ricard in the South of France. Montecalvo studied each circuit before the events, in addition to viewing footage from previous races and driving the track on racing simulators.
Despite his rookie status at the other four tracks, Montecalvo showed the competition he could learn and adapt to the tracks quickly – in both wet and dry conditions – lead laps and challenge for wins.
The European Le Mans Series season was unlike any race season for Montecalvo and Jeannette. The five races were spread out over a period of six months. In addition to seeing many of the tracks for the first time in their careers, the American racers battled the time zone variable. Montecalvo also combined his campaign with a U.S. program aboard an Aston Martin with Multimatic Motorsports in the Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge.
While Montecalvo’s 2013 European adventure has come to an end, he is already working on 2014 plans, as well as keeping an eye to return to the American Le Mans Series for the season and series finale race at Petit Le Mans on October 19.
“The season as a whole was a great year. This is the first time I’ve been with a team that’s performed that well, especially in its first year. Ram Racing was one of the best teams that I’ve ever been a part of in my career. I’m really looking forward to and hoping to be able to drive with them next year. We’re talking but nothing is definite, yet. This is the time of year where you want to figure out your plans for the next season. Hopefully, we can work again with Ram Racing. It is really a great organization and talented group of people.
“This season was really eye-opening for me. We raced at new tracks that we’ve only heard of before. It was great experience seeing some of the different cultures around the world and drive a race car at the same time. It was great.
“We raced our way to three podiums. All in all, I learned a lot and I’m disappointed the season is over already, especially with how it ended at Paul Ricard.
“One of the most memorable event of this year was driving in the rain at Silverstone. That race had the worst conditions that I’ve ever seen. It was also one of my first rain races ever. It was one of the craziest conditions that I’ve ever been a part of, so I’ll never forget that. I was doing everything I could to stay out of trouble and not crash.
“Looking forward – by driving at all the ELMS circuits, I really challenged myself having to learn the tracks and get up to speed as fast as I could against racers that have competed there before, especially when we only have two hours on track. That’s one of the biggest learning experiences from this year that I can apply to the rest of my career.
“I think I’ve grown as a driver. I wouldn’t say this was one of my best seasons, but we had three podium finishes. We had hard racing and it was awesome driving with Gunnar plus Johnny Mowlem and Matt Griffin. All three of those guys have so much experience that I’ve tried to learn from them and build from that. This season was good for me. I didn’t want the season to end because I feel like I was getting stronger as a driver at every race.
“Thanks to Ram Racing for bringing me on board this season. I’m thrilled that Johnny and Matt were able to get the team championship for Ram in its first ELMS season.
“Even though the ELMS season is over, I’m hoping to be able to go to Petit. I’d really love to drive at the final ALMS Petit Le Mans race for several reasons. Petit was the first professional road race that attended. It was the 2008 race and that’s where I met Gunnar. Petit hits home for my racing career and I really hope to be a part of it this year.”
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