SMP Racing will give the new Ferrari 488 GTE car its competition debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, as the Russian-backed squad is set to also field a GT Le Mans class entry in addition to its previously confirmed BR01 Prototype.
Ferrari factory drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander, Andrea Bertolini and Russian driver Victor Shaytar will pilot the 488 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener, according to AF Corse team principal Amato Ferrari, who confirmed the entry to Sportscar365.
It will mark the first outing for the new turbocharged Ferrari, which was formally unveiled last month and has conducted extensive testing and development in Europe.
While the SMP 488 GTE is for Daytona-only, Ferrari said the Spirit of Race squad will field a GT Daytona class Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in selected WeatherTech Championship races next year.
Peter Mann, Matteo Cressoni, Raffaele Giammaria and Marco Cioci will pilot the GTD class entry at Daytona, with Mann, Cressoni and Giammaria confirmed for the Twelve Hours of Sebring as well.
Ferrari said additional races for the GT3 entry are under consideration, including the final two Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup rounds at Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans.
The car, meanwhile, is “99 percent” confirmed for the new six-hour SRO-run Intercontinental GT Challenge round at Circuit of The Americas in March.
Two other 488 GTE cars are expected to join the SMP entry in Daytona, with both Risi Competizione and Scuderia Corsa understood to be finalizing GTLM class programs for next year.