Monza, 21 April 2017 – The Blancpain Endurance Cup kicks off this weekend with 53 cars entered including numerous Ferraris. There are seven official Maranello drivers taking part in the 3 Hours race, which starts on Sunday at 2:45 pm. The Ferraris will be competing in three classes.
Overall. Three 488 GT3s will compete in the main class, which is only for professional drivers. The cars belong to three different teams although all will be technically assisted by AF Corse of Amato Ferrari. Kaspersky Motorsport debuts in the main series with the leading trio of Marco Cioci, Giancarlo Fisichella and James Calado. Fisichella and Calado are official Ferrari drivers and over the last two years have competed together at the wheel of the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione, winning the Petit Le Mans in 2016 together on the Road Atlanta track. The other crew capable of challenging for the title belongs to SMP Racing, comprising Russia’s Victor Shaytar and official Ferrari drivers Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina, both back from the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the first round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Then comes the third Ferrari in this class, the no. 50 of Spirit of Race, crewed by Thailand’s Pasin Lathouras, the Asian Le Mans Series champion Michele Rugolo and Ferrari’s standard bearer in the WEC, Alessandro Pier Guidi, who took second place at Silverstone.
Pro-Am Cup. Car no. 11 of Kessel Racing is seeking to keep the Pro-Am Cup class title. The 488 GT3 of the Swiss team will be driven by Poland’s Michael Broniszewski, Andrea Rizzoli and Matteo Cressoni. Two other official Ferrari drivers will be competing in the class. Car no. 51 of AF Corse team, as in 2016, will be crewed by Japan’s Motoaki Ishikawa, Italy’s Lorenzo Bontempelli and Monaco’s Olivier Beretta. Then car no. 53 of Spirit of Race will see the return of the historic trio of Niek Hommerson, Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini who have notched up several previous victories in this championship. The final 488 GT3 in the class is the no. 333 of Rinaldi Racing, with Alexander Mattschull, Rinat Salikhov and Daniel Keilwitz.
Am Cup. Three Ferraris are also racing in the Am Cup category. The other car of Rinaldi Racing, the no. 488, will see Pierre Ehret and Rino Mastronardi at the wheel, while AF Corse’s entry will be entrusted to Alex Demerdjian, Davide Rizzo and Abigail Eaton. Finally the 488 GT3 of Kessel Racing will be in the capable hands of Marco Zanuttini, David Perel and Jacques Duyver, who won the Coppa Shell in 2015 as part of the European series of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. The programme includes 90 minutes of free practices on Saturday (10:45 am to 12:15 pm) followed by the pre-qualifying session (4:05 pm to 5:35 pm). Qualifying will start on Sunday at 9:50 am while the 3 Hours race gets underway at 2:45 pm.