Ferrari Driver Shootout Set for Bruni Replacement

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Ferrari is set to test no fewer than four different drivers, in its search for a replacement for Gianmaria Bruni in its FIA World Endurance Championship lineup. (En Français)

Endurance-Info has learned that the Italian manufacturer will hold a shootout at Vallelunga this week, which will see Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alex Riberas, Nyck de Vries and Miguel Molina audition for the factory GTE-Pro seat.

The test could confirm the fourth and final full-season driver in the AF Corse lineup alongside the returning James Calado, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.

While Pier Guidi is no stranger to Ferrari machinery, Porsche ace Riberas, a race-winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last year, impressed in the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series season at the wheel of DH Racing’s Ferrari 488 GT3 car.

Both GP3 standout de Vries and former Audi DTM driver Molina, meanwhile, have no prior sports car racing experience, but have achieved success in the open-wheel and touring car ranks, respectively.

Despite currently holding a multi-year deal with Ferrari, it’s understood Bruni will not likely be at the wheel of a Prancing Horse this year due to a contract dispute.

Bruni was absent from the Ferrari World Final, while the longtime factory driver also missed last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time since 2013.

Multiple sources have indicated the Italian star could join Porsche mid-season, possibly after the 24 Hours of Le Mans, either in the manufacturer’s WEC or WeatherTech Championship factory entries.

Both manufacturers have yet to officially comment on Bruni’s status, although Dr. Frank Steffen-Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport, told Sportscar365 that he expects to confirm the remainder of its WEC GTE-Pro lineup by next month’s Prologue at Monza.

38 Comments

  1. Jack

    February 5, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Why not Daniel Serra. Guy has been uber quick with scudaria Corsa

    • Wayne

      February 6, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      Not sure how accurate social media is, but Serra’s feed has him in astons recently.

  2. Woody...

    February 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Bummer to lose Bruni to Porsche…Ferrari earned him everything…wins, fame…and I’m sure a great living, will be different to see anyone other than him in the #51…

    • woody2.0

      February 7, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Bummer to lose Bruni to Porsche…Ferrari earned him everything…wins, fame…and I’m sure a great living, will be different to see anyone other than him in the #51…

  3. Mike D

    February 5, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I’m surprised Andrea Bertolini isn’t on this list, unless AF Corse is set on going younger… or Bertolini has other commitments.

    • KW

      February 5, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Bertolini was already confirmed for Blancpain GT and will probably also be in the ELMS GTE class. I guess that Pierguidi also joins the test only to serve as a reference for the other drivers; his role will also be in Blancpain GT plus a few FIA WEC races (including Le Mans) as a third driver. My expectation is to see one of the younger talents in the 4th full season seat. I would bet for Molina, with Riberas and de Vries getting seats in Blancpain GT.

  4. AF

    February 5, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    So Bruni has done a Mako, in the hunt for LMP1 seat time further down the line one would guess. Shame, as for many years he has been Mr Ferrari, though I think Davide Rigon more than fills that criteria.

    • jCage

      February 5, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      And just like Mako I don’t see him getting into the P1. It’s too late in his career for the move, plus there are existing Porsche drivers in line ahead of him.
      I get it from Porsche’s perspective, as they take away the fastest guy in their rival’s lineup (like when they lured Mako from AMR), but Bruni is likely only in that position because the car/team is built around him, won’t happen in Germany.

  5. John Maria Brewknee

    February 5, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I always thought Makowiecki coming from Aston Martin & all the contract disputes therein were a result of Porsche scrambling at the last minute to sign someone to replace the then-recently deceased Sean Edwards.
    If I remember correctly Makowiecki was originally going to be in Sean’s seat at NGT for Daytona in 2014 as well but then didn’t get to do the race. If I’m wrong on any of this I’m happy to be corrected.
    Furthermore, has Makowiecki had any GREAT races since joining Porsche? It seems to me like he’s mostly been an afterthought for the last three years despite a dazzling drive at Le Mans for Aston in 2013. Again, happy to have my memory refreshed, it’s just been a while since I remember Fred being clutch.

    • Georg

      February 5, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      I remember that Porsche hired Mako for WEC and Edwards was never a factory driver nor did he do WEC. He won Nurburgring 24 hours just a few months before his death in a Mercedes. I don’t see these two connected in any way.

      Otherwise agreed, he hasn’t been a bright star lately but he has been on pace and done his job despite a few big mistakes like Sebring last year.

      • Bandit

        February 5, 2017 at 8:45 pm

        The general belief is that Porsche had just signed Edwards just before the accident, and then had to scramble to sign Mako as a new works driver

        • Gigi

          February 6, 2017 at 6:35 pm

          I don’t know if this is true;
          but guys, what a big pilot was Sean…

  6. John Maria Brewknee

    February 5, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    And what happened to the rumor of Lucas Luhr getting a shot at this seat?

  7. Bunta

    February 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    What is Benoit Treluyer doing this season?

    • Olly

      February 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Apparently rumours have him Linked to Signatech Alpine.

  8. Olly

    February 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    No Luhr, damn but hopefully it’ll be Pier Guidinor Riberas.

    • Olly

      February 5, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      Or*

  9. JBV

    February 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    If Pier Guidi is not there as a reference, I don’t see him getting beaten at a shootout. If he is just there as a reference, then Riberas has a pretty good shot at getting the nod.

  10. Jeff Wagner

    February 5, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    Jamie Melo and Matteo Malucelli are available for a test.

    • Avery

      February 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Didn’t drugs and alcohol bust Melos career?

      • Woody...

        February 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm

        Melo will never drive for Risi or AF…and it was alcohol…too bad too, a naturally gifted driver…

        • Joao

          February 5, 2017 at 7:42 pm

          He’s back

          • Olly

            February 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm

            Where is he racing at?

          • Joao

            February 6, 2017 at 9:37 am

            Racing a 488 for Easyrace at the Italian GT championship

        • Jeff Wagner

          February 6, 2017 at 4:27 am

          He was gifted in the way of very quick but crashed WAY too much and raced way too rough and unsportsmanlike.

        • woody2.0

          February 7, 2017 at 3:48 pm

          Melo will never drive for Risi or AF…and it was alcohol…too bad too, a naturally gifted driver…

    • Jeff Wagner

      February 6, 2017 at 4:29 am

      P.S. I named both of those sarcastic, not seriously!

      • Jeff Wagner

        February 6, 2017 at 4:30 am

        Melo and Mateo being available for a test that is.

  11. Franck The Tanck

    February 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    The Montagny ban is up… Get him in a car ASAP

    • Olly

      February 5, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      That’s what I was hoping for! I’d love to see him in a Prototype in either IMSA or WEC.

    • Jeff Wagner

      February 6, 2017 at 4:24 am

      Franck Montagny doesn’t deserve chance #2 for what he did and when there are drivers like Patrck Long and Christophe Bouchut without P2 rides in IMSA already how it is.

  12. Justin Porter

    February 5, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    I would love to see Christophe Bouchut given a chance to excel again. Even if it was with Level 5, he had some amazing Ferrari drives.

    • Jeff Wagner

      February 6, 2017 at 4:21 am

      Justin Porter…Great name brought up! Christophe Bouchut is on the long list of drivers like Patrick Long that should be in a P2 car in IMSA as their ability is unquestioned. At least getting Christophe in a top ride like this one shouldn’t be too much to ask but it nearly ALWAYS is. Let’s hope Christophe can get into a top ride like this one or any other like Patrick Long is even if not a P2 car.

  13. David Chaste

    February 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Pier Guidi should get it. He was even the starting driver in their Daytona entry (Spirit of Race). He knows the cars and the organization Ferrari in and out.

    Unless the others prove they have a clear advantage in speed, media/fan savvy, or even a knack for bringing in quality sponsors to the team (Alex Riberas $$$), this will just be a formality, to land Pier Guidi…And he speaks Italian. One of the reasons Ferrari had signed Olivier Beretta was because his Italian was flawless.

    • Tim

      February 15, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Not sure why you put $$ signs with Riberas. He’s a hard working young gun that has earned his rides and doesn’t come from a $$ background.

      Would like to see him get the nod but I’m sure it will be a tough decision with guidi in the mix.

  14. Juneracer

    February 6, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Bouchut…really? Has the level gone that low!

    • Jeff Wagner

      February 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Justin Porter suggested a driver, and I agreed it was a good suggestion. You can disagree but try to put in a little effort and put YOUR suggestion out there next time too and add to the conversation. It takes no effort just being a keybord Rambo. I’m not trying to pick a fight but you can tell Justin Porter is an educated Sportscar Racing fan and I’m sure you are too Juneracer, It just isn’t fair when knowledgeable fans get jumped on. Make sure to attend an IMSA race this year if you can, see you there!

  15. juneracer

    February 7, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Bouchut…just ask around any paddock. he’s not a team player and has a behavior attitude issue. there’s a reason you don’t see him in a car in IMSA. word gets around. find a driver, just one “Pro” driver that has positive things to say about Bouchut. he doesn’t play well with others…

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