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Fisichella: Blancpain GT “One of the Most Important Championships”
- Updated: December 15, 2016
Giancarlo Fisichella was announced last month as one of the drivers to take Kaspersky Motorsport and Ferrari up to the top class of the Blancpain GT Series in 2017, and the Italian driver is confident of his chances.
Teaming up with Marco Cioci and a yet-to-be-announced third driver, Fisichella will drive one of two expected Pro Cup Ferrari 488 GT3s in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup next season.
This marks Ferrari’s return to the top class of the premier European GT3 series, with the first 488 GT3s to be entered for the full season.
“I’m really happy about this new program for me, [doing] Blancpain Pro for next year, thanks to Kaspersky Lab, which is obviously our main sponsor,” Fisichella told Sportscar365. “It’s going to be very important for Ferrari and Kaspersky Motorsport to do well in this championship.
“One of my teammates is already confirmed, which is Marco Cioci and we are waiting for the third one, but it will probably be one of the Ferrari [factory] drivers.
“I think it is the first time ever that Ferrari has been involved in the Pro category, and they want to do well. I am really looking forward to the season.
“I already did some races last year and it was a fantastic championship and a fantastic organization. I liked the racing itself because on a few occasions we had more than 50-55 cars.”
The 43-year-old, who had 225 Formula 1 starts from 1996 to 2009, undertook a partial Blancpain GT Endurance Cup program this season, racing at Monza, Silverstone and the Total 24 Hours of Spa in a Pro-Am class AF Corse Ferrari.
He has high praise for the series and finds the GT3-only format an attractive aspect as compared to other championships.
“It’s just GT cars, which is nice because you can win overall,” Fisichella explained. “You don’t have to watch the mirrors all the time because of LMP1s, or DPs in America.
“Most of the manufacturers like Ferrari, BMW, Porsche, Audi, are really focused on this championship and it’s very important.
“Every [endurance race] has more than 50 cars, and this means it is a really important championship for the manufacturer teams and for the drivers. It is one of the most important championships around the world.”
Fisichella is also excited for the opportunity to race with long-time friend Cioci in the same car.
“He’s great,” he said of his co-driver for 2017. “I’ve known Marco for more than 30 years. We were racing in go-karts together when we were around ten years old, and we grew up together.
“He was born in Rome where I was born, and he’s a good friend of mine. I raced with him a month ago in Vallelunga and two years ago as well. We won the Six Hours of Vallelunga together.
“He’s a great driver, he’s quick but especially is very reliable in the race and he is very consistent. He knows everything about GT3 cars and endurance races. I’m really happy to work with him.”
With three different manufacturers: Mercedes-AMG, McLaren and Audi being used to win each of the three different drivers’ champions (overall, Endurance and Sprint, respectively), it is clear to see that the Blancpain GT Series enjoys an impressive level of competition.
Fisichella agrees, and therefore looks forward to a close battle with several different manufacturers next season.
“I think all of the manufacturers are really strong,” he admitted. “Usually in the past, Audi is really strong, [but also] Mercedes, even BMW, who won the 24 Hours of Spa.
“It’s a tough championship because the manufacturers are really strong, and the teams as well are really competitive. It depends on the BoP. If the BoP is really equal, I think we can do well.”
Nevertheless, he is confident that he and Kaspersky Motorsport will be able to perform well, with his sights set on race wins.
“We will do just the Endurance races, and we’re there to win,” Fisichella added. “We’re there to get the best results and we want to score podiums, score points in every race, and try to win.”