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Ferrari Not Yet Ready to Consider GTP Program

Ferrari sports car racing boss states current position on IMSA GTP category…

Photo: MPS Agency

Ferrari is not yet ready to consider fielding its new LMH car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship according to the manufacturer’s sports car racing director.

Antonello Coletta told reporters during last week’s debut of the hybrid-powered Ferrari 499P at Sebring that the current focus is on the vehicle’s maiden FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Stating Ferrari’s position on joining Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche in the GTP class of the WeatherTech Championship, he said that the thought of expanding into WeatherTech Championship competition is likely to be brought up, but not before the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

The Ferrari 499P and other LMH cars can run in GTP provided their builders meet IMSA’s manufacturer eligibility criteria. So far, all five of the LMHs currently race exclusively in the WEC’s Hypercar class.

“Honestly speaking, the first race for IMSA is not an argument in this moment because we are concentrated totally on the WEC,” said Coletta.

“Sure, IMSA is an important championship. In the future, probably [we] will take into consideration the idea to run in IMSA, but at the moment, we are totally concentrated on the WEC.

“Probably after Le Mans, we will take the idea. But now, we are concentrated on this [WEC] matter.”

Coletta noted that the U.S. is an important market for Ferrari’s road car business.

Just over a quarter of Ferrari’s new car sales last year were made in the Americas region.

“It is normal that the USA is the first market for Ferrari,” Coletta stated. “Commercial issues for us are the most important; we sell the [road] cars.

“The world championship is the most important championship in this moment, and we prefer to [go] step by step.

“In 2023, just WEC. In 2024, we will see. I see that before the half-season, it is impossible to make a consideration.”

Coletta would not be drawn to say how a future Ferrari GTP program might look, in terms of whether it would be operated by the AF Corse factory team or a privateer outfit.

Last September, the owner of the independent Ferrari GT team Risi Competizione expressed interest in running the 499P in the future.

“I don’t know,” said Coletta. “Now, Risi is totally concentrated on the GTD [Pro] program. We have two official drivers with him.

“Last year they won the championship in Endurance, and for us it’s one of the most important references in the U.S.

“But I repeat, for the future [GTP] should be an idea, but I don’t know first if Risi is interested in managing the prototype.

“And secondly, our program, I don’t know if we consider IMSA. It is not an argument for today.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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