Ferrari GTs Are Tested for 2018 at Paul Ricard
The season doesn’t start with the first race - there is always on-track testing where you can glimpse the competition ahead. 35 cars took part in the Prologue to the WEC, the FIA World Endurance Championship, on the Paul Ricard Circuit on April 6 and 7. They were divided into four categories, with two for the Le Mans Prototypes, LMP1 and LMP2, and two for Grand Touring cars, GTE Pro and GTE. Am.
All the teams were present for the kickoff of the first Super Season, 2018-2019, for the WEC (World Endurance championship). On this occasion, the teams were in action for 30 hours on the 5.8 km circuit, including the night of Friday the 6th and on to Saturday the 7th.
The arrival of new private teams, alongside Toyota Motorsport in LMP1, this category being the most technologically advanced, is ushering in a new wind in the Prototype class, and the quality of the teams already announced will make the races more disputed and animated than ever.
In the highly competitive LMGTE Pro category, BMW joins Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche, bringing the number of entries to ten, with the world’s most competitive GT race on track. There is also a very important LMGTE Am category with Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche. In the quest for the GT Manufacturers’ World Championship title, the stakes will be higher than ever this season.
In the LMGTE Pro category, we found two Ferrari 488 GTE EVOs from AF Corse, presented under a new metallic red livery. World Champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi were in car # 51 and Davide Rigon and Sam Bird were in car #71.
Unfortunately, a fire during refuelling on Friday late afternoon badly damaged car #51, so it was unable to run on Saturday. The other car #71 ran with no major problems.
In the LMGTE Am category, three 488 GTEs were entered: the Spirit of Race #54 with Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and former Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella. Then came the Clearwater Racing #61 with Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matthew Griifin, and finally the MR Racing #70 of Motoaki Ishikawa, Olivier Beretta and Edward Cheever III.
The Ferraris did not achieve the best times in their categories at this prologue but they are ready to battle in the first race on May 5 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Race results with the all-important chassis numbers will be in the June 1 issue, Cavallino 225. Subscribe today.
Information & images from Jean-Bernard Héros.