Gianmaria Bruni sees the move from Ferrari to Porsche as important as his switch to GT racing ten years ago, as the two-time FIA World Endurance Champion takes on a new chapter with the German manufacturer later this year. (En Français)
The 35-year-old Italian was confirmed last month as Porsche’s newest GT factory driver, set for a mid-season debut in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, following a documented and lengthy off-the-track battle with former employer Ferrari.
“This is the beginning of a new challenge for me,” Bruni told Endurance-Info. “I had been hoping for this position for two years but it had not been possible until now. Now I’m at Porsche… I want to thank Porsche for having waited.
“2017 is going to be a year of learning for me. I will discover a whole new environment, a new car and a team which I have long fought against. I’m very excited to drive for Porsche.”
Bruni, who spent a single year in Formula One with Minardi, admitted his transition to Porsche will be as big of an adjustment from when he first drove a GT car in 2007.
“Coming from [open-wheel], it took me a little time to get used to,” he said. “Even if ten years has passed, I am not too old but also not too young!
“I’ll have to make my way as I had to do in 2007 when I landed at Ferrari.
“I had only done two days of testing before the first FIA GT meeting in Zhuhai. Luckily, I had a good GT coach in Stéphane Ortelli. I learned a lot from him.
“GT racing is a big family. I quickly enjoyed sharing the wheel with a teammate and the driving style of a GT car.”
While not having driven since last year’s WEC season finale in Bahrain, Bruni will have to wait until June to get his hands on Porsche’s mid-engined 911 RSR, prior to joining the CORE autosport-run operation for the remainder of the WeatherTech Championship season.
Bruni, though, hasn’t hidden his desires of returning to the WEC full-time with Porsche in 2018, with the IMSA program understood to only be a stop-gap measure in the Italian’s contract dissolution with Ferrari.
It’s unclear who he’ll replace in Porsche’s IMSA lineup, although whoever he ends up getting paired up with, Bruni knows it will be a good fit.
“I know the Porsche drivers, but from the other side,” he said. “I had a lot of fun fighting against them and now I’m part of the Porsche family. It is something positive that I am very proud of.”