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AF Corse Set for Four-Car Ferrari 488 GTE Effort
- Updated: January 11, 2017
AF Corse is set to return to a four-car operation in the FIA World Endurance Championship this year, with the addition of a second season-long GTE-Am entry, alongside its two factory Ferrari 488 GTEs in the GTE-Pro class. (En Français)
The Italian squad has confirmed a pair of GTE-Am entries, one for the previously announced Clearwater Racing effort with Matt Griffin, Mok Weng Sun and Keita Sawa and a second Ferrari 488 GTE for a driver pairing moving up from the European Le Mans Series.
Speaking with Endurance-Info, team boss Amato Ferrari said that Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci plan to compete on the world’s stage in a Vista Jet-backed Ferrari.
A third GTE-Am entry is expected for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, under the DH Racing banner via the Chinese team’s automatic invite from the 2015/17 Asian Le Mans Series.
Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard, who along with Rui Aguas took AF Corse to the 2016 GTE-Am title, will move to LMP2 in a TDS Racing-entered Oreca 07 Gibson.
AF Corse’s GTE-Pro driver lineup, meanwhile, remains undetermined in the wake of Gianmaria Bruni’s potential switch to Porsche.
James Calado, Sam Bird and Davide Rigon, however, are all expected back, with a number of drivers rumored to potentially fill the fourth full-season seat, should Bruni not return.
“I’m first trying to set up the programs, then we put the names of the drivers on the cars,” Ferrari told Endurance-Info during last weekend’s Asian Le Mans Series round in Buriram.
Ferrari said they are planning at least five Ferrari 488 GT3 cars for the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, including entries under the Kaspersky and SMP Racing banners, along with up to two 488 GTE cars in the European Le Mans Series.
The team’s two-car commitment for the WEC GTE-Am class comes as a significant boost to the depleted category, which up until last week only had a single confirmed entry in Paul Dalla Lana’s Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
It’s understood Proton Competition is also planning a return with at least one Porsche 911 RSR, with the status of Larbre Competition unknown.