Le Mans, FRANCE (June 3, 2022) – After a whirlwind week in the United States that included an unveiling party in Greensboro, N.C. and a successful shakedown test just three days later on the Watkins Glen International road course in New York, the No. 74 Bee Safe Racing/Riley Motorsports No. 74 Ferrari 488 GTE Pro Evo team has arrived in France in preparation for next weekend’s 90th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Le Mans campaign is being fielded by American entrepreneur and Ferrari Challenge competitor Roy Carroll and his wife Vanessa and entered by championship winning sports car racing team Riley Motorsports and team owner Bill Riley. Carroll competes with Riley Motorsports in the U.S.-based IMSA Ferrari Challenge series but has handed the driving duties of the No. 74 Bee Safe Racing/Riley Motorsports Ferrari at Le Mans over to a trio of professional and experienced sports car endurance racing drivers.
“Our team is certainly not under any misconception that this it is going to be easy for us to be competitive against three factory teams,” Carroll said “This is definitely a “David vs Goliath” situation. However, with Riley’s experience at Le Mans and the driver lineup we have I truly believe we are capable of being competitive.”
The driving trio for the No. 74 Bee Safe Racing/Riley includes veteran Le Mans competitor Sam Bird (Great Britain), Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Felipe Fraga (Brazil) and V8 Supercar champion and sports car endurance race winner Shane van Gisbergen (New Zealand).
Carroll also competes with Bee Safe backing in his Riley-run IMSA Ferrari Challenge program, a series in which he has competed for four years.
Both The Carroll Companies and Bee Safe are based in Greensboro where Carroll and his family literally took the wraps off the Bee Safe Racing/Riley Motorsports Ferrari 488 GTE Pro Evo in the well-attended unveiling May 17.
“It has been a dream to have the first car to enter the historic Le Mans race from a Greensboro owner embraced by the community,” Carroll said. “I have met a lot of people from Greensboro that are very excited about our entry and hopefully gaining more exposure for our community.”
Immediately following the unveiling, the Riley team quickly transported the Ferrari to Watkins Glen where Bird put the new car through its first on-track laps in a successful shakedown run Friday, May 20.
Wasting no time after the shakedown, the Riley team prepared the Ferrari for airfreight delivery from New York to France where it has now arrived in Le Mans. The team took part in Friday’s traditional “Scrutineering” technical and safety checks in downtown Le Mans and now shifts focus to this Sunday’s official Le Mans pre-test, which is the first time competitors will have a chance to take to the 8.467-mile “Circuit de la Sarthe” in preparation for next weekend’s twice-around-the-clock race, June 11 – 12.
While the Carrolls, Bee Safe and van Gisbergen are all Le Mans first timers, Riley Motorsports brings generations of sports car endurance racing experience to this year’s race. Riley and his legendary father Bob Riley, who is in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, have fielded teams and race cars designed by sister company Riley Technologies at Le Mans for nearly 30 years.
“A lot of great people have come together to put this program together, starting with Roy and Vanessa Carroll and Bee Safe Racing who are sponsoring the team and own the car,” Riley said. “The 24 Hours of Le Mans has always been special, especially as an American team and particularly for me as a sports-car kid growing up. This is also an effort of all the best people we currently have around us at Riley Motorsports to make this happen, and we are grateful for them all. A fair amount of the crew are Le Mans veterans. We called a meeting with everybody and just about everybody put their hand up when we asked who wanted to go to Le Mans. So, we were able to pick and put together a pretty good list of personnel.”
Fraga made his Le Mans debut with Riley Motorsports in 2019 and earned a second-place finish competing with a different team in the GTE-Am class in last year’s 24-hour race.
“For me, it is a great pleasure to be part of this team,” Fraga said. “I started driving with Bill Riley and Riley Motorsports in 2019 as his Silver-rated driver and I am so happy we have kept this partnership going and in the fourth year now. I can’t put in words how happy I am to be part of the Bee Safe Racing program with Bill. It already feels like this is my home, and doing Le Mans with an American team, in a Ferrari and with Bill is just perfect. It will be amazing to share the car with Shane van Gisbergen and Sam
Bird. They are two drivers I really admire, and I have always watched them.”
Van Gisbergen is a two-time champion (2016 and 2021) in the V8 Supercar series that is contested in Australia and his home-country of New Zealand. He has also been successful in a variety of cars in sports car endurance races, including setting qualifying and race-lap records and co-driving to victory in the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour on the Mount Panorama Circuit in Australia. He makes his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut next weekend.
“We were at the track Thursday, doing the seat fitting stuff, getting ready and meeting the team and learning the car,” van Gisbergen said. “For me, it’s my first time here, so it’s pretty cool, and a very prestigious race to come and finally do after watching it on TV all of these years. We are in a Ferrari and straight into the Pro class and have a couple of great teammates with Felipe and Sam. They have pretty good experience with these cars and this track, so I will be leaning on them as much as possible. We get to test this weekend, get a feel for it, and then get into the race next week.”
– While Bird was the first to drive the Bee Safe Racing/Riley Motorsports Ferrari at Watkins Glen, he will be the last of the No. 74’s trio of drivers to take the wheel in Sunday’s test. Bird is one of several drivers entered at Le Mans also competing in Saturday’s FIA Formula E World Championship race in Jakarta. Right after the Formula E race is finished, Bird will begin the more than 7,000-mile trip from the Capital City of Indonesia to France.
– A key part of any 24 Hours of Le Mans effort is securing an entry for the annually over-subscribed race. Riley Motorsports locked down the 2022 entry for Carroll’s Bee Safe Racing Ferrari after winning last year IMSA WeatherTech LMP3 Championship with Gar Robinson. Like the Carrolls, the Robinsons – Father George and second-generation champion driver Gar – are another one of the fine families Riley is fortunate to be associated with. “The Robinsons earned the entry along with Riley Motorsports in IMSA LMP3 class, and just getting an entry for Le Mans is always one of the first things you need to finalize,” Riley said. “George and Gar plan to be at the race next weekend and we look forward to having them join the rest of the team.”
– MotorTrend+, as well as the MotorTrend TV channel, will be the exclusive outlets in the U.S. and Canada where fans will be able to stream and watch next weekend’s full 24 Hours of Le Mans in its entirety, from qualifying to race end. MotorTrend is available on cable TV systems such as Spectrum and North State in addition to streaming services such as Sling Orange, YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T and DirecTV. The race also can be viewed on MotorTrendondemand.com. A seven-day free trial is available and subscriptions are $4.99 monthly or $44.99 annually.
About Bee Safe Storage and Wine Cellar: Bee Safe Storage, a subsidiary of The Carroll Companies, is a premier self-storage facility leader with over 40 locations across North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida and Montana. Bee Safe was named to the Inside Self Storage Top 100 Operators in 2020 and 2021. For more information about Bee Safe Storage and Wine Cellar, please visit www.beesafe.com or follow the company on Facebook and Linkedin.
About The Carroll Companies: Founded and headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, more than 30 years ago, The Carroll Companies has since grown strategically and diversified into a real estate conglomerate specializing in land development, construction, ownership, hospitality, management, and publication with a total estimated valuation of over $4.5 billion. The Carroll Companies was founded by Roy Carroll, II in 1983 with a commitment to surpassing industry expectations by providing innovative, cost-effective developments and services. For more information, please visit www.thecarrollcompanies.com and follow the company on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.