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Calado, Bird Confirmed at AF Corse

James Calado, Sam Bird join AF Corse for FIA WEC season….

Photo: FIA WEC

Photo: FIA WEC

Open-wheel standouts James Calado and Sam Bird will make the switch to the FIA World Endurance Championship this year, having both signed with AF Corse.

Calado (pictured, above) was confirmed Friday as the fourth factory Ferrari driver in the Italian squad’s full-season GTE-Pro effort.

The 24-year-old Briton will join Ferrari F1 test driver Davide Rigon in the No. 71 entry, with 2013 class champion Gianmaria Bruni being reunited with Toni Vilander in the No. 51 Ferrari for the eight-race championship. 

“I have the perfect team mates in Gimmi and Toni to learn from, in terms of their experience they are the best, and everyone in the whole AF Corse team has been very friendly,” Calado told FIAWEC.com.

“Davide is also fantastic and very quick and I’m really enjoying the whole atmosphere here. Now I just can’t wait to race, especially as first time out will be Silverstone and my home crowd.”

Fellow GP2 star Bird, meanwhile, is set for a limited-season program one of the team’s GTE-Am entries, joining 2013 Asian Le Mans Series champions Michele Rugolo and Steve Wyatt in the No. 81 Ferrari for Silverstone and Le Mans.

Bird will be filling the seat of Andrea Bertolini, who has commitments with SMP Racing for those two events.

Both drivers were evaluated by AF Corse over the last several months, making their transition into GT machinery a bit more seamless. 

“I’ve done a few tests now so think I am up to speed and feeling confident with the car,” Calado said. “It was a bit strange at first with no carbon brakes and no downforce but now I feel comfortable and it’s normal.

“I have been concentrating on what it takes to be quick and consistent, learning about longer races where you have to look after the car and tires, as well as getting to grips with driver changes and generally getting to know the team.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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