AF Corse’s Gianmaria Bruni is upbeat about his title chances, after a strong start to the FIA World Endurance Championship season for Ferrari.
The Italian ace and new-for-2016 co-driver James Calado mounted an impressive come-from-behind run — after starting last and serving a three-minute stop-and-hold penalty for a post-qualifying engine change — to finish second in GTE-Pro, behind teammates Sam Bird and Davide Rigon, who dominated the race from the onset.
Sportscar365 caught up with Bruni, a two-time series champion, to get his thoughts on the start of the season and the switch to the new Ferrari 488 GTE car.
Were you surprised by the level of performance from the car at Silverstone?
“I was surprised about the others not showing the [pace]. It’s very hard how they can justify their performance.
“They were slower than last year. You should go faster in the new regulations. That’s funny but I’m sure it’s been discussed in another room.”
How do you think the BoP adjustments will change things this weekend?
“I’m sure [the Aston Martin] will be closer. Aston is very fast on top speed and they got some help with the weight. I’m sure it will be interesting.”
Is the Ferrari 488 GTE a big change for you, driving wise?
“It’s more of an evolution. It’s an evolution of the new regulations.
“The car is definitely a step ahead, from a chassis point of view, the aerodynamics and engine and gearbox. It’s all at a different level and better.”
Was there a lot of lessons learned from the car’s first two outings at Daytona and Sebring, to help AF Corse and Ferrari for the start of the WEC season?
“We are sharing the same group. The official drivers are also racing in the American championship. We’re sharing the feeling and are working from there.
“James and I also went to Daytona to compete. That gave us experience and we’ve taken it under our belt for sure.”
How has it been working with James?
“It’s been really good. We did Sepang and Daytona together and Silverstone, so it’s been perfect. It’s strange after so many years we have been together [to not have Toni] here is different. I will see him in Le Mans.”