Spa, 4 May 2017 – The World Endurance Championship stops off this weekend at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps track for the second round of the 2017 season. Ferrari will be there with four 488 GTEs competing for three customer teams.
GTE-Pro. As usual the two 488 GTEs of AF Corse will be appearing in the GTE-Pro class. Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado will be in car no. 51, after finishing second in the opening race at Silverstone on Easter weekend. Sam Bird and Davide Rigon will alternate in car no. 71. The pair dominated the Ardennes race last year. Davide Rigon described the circuit for Ferrari.com: “Spa-Francorchamps is one of the favourite tracks for all drivers. The names Eau-Rouge and Raidillon alone send a thrill up the spine. It is spectacular to see and also fantastic for us to drive. With the progress that GTs have made on the aerodynamic level at this point you take it flat out like in Formula 1, something unthinkable only a few years ago.” Davide also recalled the joy of last year: “In 2016, Sam and I did a great race that brought us our second win in the WEC. It would be great to be able to repeat it, although no other track has so many variables to take into account such as temperature, asphalt, weather, with the rain coming and going.” The passion of the public, with so many fans of Italian origin, might be worth an extra gear: “For us ‘Ferraristi’ to compete in Belgium is always special, because we really have so many fans in this country,” concluded Davide.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am class, the Clearwater Racing team’s Ferrari 488 arrives in Belgium as world championship leader after winning the Silverstone race with Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and a Matt Griffin in great form. The Singaporean team is also targeting a win at Spa-Francorchamps, where the main opponents will be Matthias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy with Aston Martin and the other Ferrari of Spirit of Race crewed by Miguel Molina, Ferrari official driver, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr, who were in the mix until the final lap at Silverstone. The race will be on Saturday, starting at 2:30 pm, while qualifying is scheduled for 2:50 pm on Friday.
History. The Spa-Francorchamps track is special for drivers, teams and constructors, but Ferrari and the Ardennes track are linked by a special relationship. Indeed, it was at the 24 Hours Spa, on 9 July 1932, that the Prancing Horse made its debut on the cars of Enzo Ferrari, at the time Alfa Romeos. The symbol inherited from Francesco Baracca proved immediately lucky with the race dominated by the 8C 2300 MM of Scuderia Ferrari. Victory went to Antonio Brivio and Eugenio Siena, who were followed by teammates Piero Taruffi and Guido d’Ippolito. Since then, the Ferrari name and symbol have amassed over 90 wins at the Belgian track. The first Ferrari victory dates back to the 24 Hours of 1949, when Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas took the laurels in a 166 MM registered by Chinetti himself. The most recent was in 2016 and came with the 458 Italia GTE of JMW Motorsport driven in a European Le Mans Series race by Andrea Bertolini, Rory Butcher and Robert Smith.