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CALADO: Four Seasons in One Day!

James Calado looks back at the snow-affected WEC Six Hours of Spa…

Photo: MPS Agcney

Honestly, if you’d said to me before the weekend that we would be on the podium in Spa last weekend, and really close to a win, I might have given you my best skeptical look!

But, as soon as we saw the weather forecast and knew it would be wet, we realized we were in with a chance and were ultimately very happy with 2nd place in GTE-Pro.

As it turned out it wasn’t just wet as we had snow, hail, rain and sunshine all in one race which was pretty exceptional, but really enjoyable as I love racing in those kinds of conditions.

It was a completely crazy weekend of weather and the only consistent thing was that it was cold.

We knew that if the weather had been dry for the race, our Ferrari 488 GTEs wouldn’t have had a chance but Daytona this year showed us how good our car is in the rain and wet weather practice sessions in Spa showed some good potential.

Photo: MPS Agcney

We were 9th and 10th in qualifying, which was dry, as we lack one-lap pace – something we’ve got used to over the season – but our race pace has always been better.

We knew that some good strategy and careful use of our tires would help us get a better result and that’s how it turned out.

As I said before, I think our AF Corse Ferraris are one of the best cars out there in the wet and it was so much fun in the sleety rain and slush!

Keeping the temperature in the tires under the four Safety Car periods wasn’t easy but it makes it a bit more exciting when you’re sliding around as you go green again.

It was bad, but I didn’t think it was that bad (says the Brit!).

I think the WEC Race Director Eduardo Freitas and his team played it perfectly as it kept us all safe when conditions were at their worst, and the only frustration was when the race was red flagged at the end as one or two laps might have given us the win.

The Aston Martin was on fumes and it would have been very, very close…

Going into Eau Rouge knowing there’s a puddle there and that you’re going to aquaplane out of it gets your attention and you have to be brave! I’m not sure if it’s because the adrenaline is pumping more than ever, whether it’s because it was Spa which is one of my favorites to race at or what, but the buzz of racing this past weekend was amazing and I loved every minute.

Photo: MPS Agency

Driver skills really count when conditions are challenging, perhaps that’s it!

Our aim now is to prepare well for Le Mans and we’ve found a few improvements so we’ve every reason to believe it’s going to be a good one.

We are all doing as much preparation as possible, including some testing and sim sessions at the factory, plus we’re working on ironing out little niggles on new-for-2019 race suits and helmets.

You can put up with things for a shorter race, but for 24-hours everything has got to be as perfect as possible.

We’ve got the same line up as last year with Daniel Serra as our third driver, and it has helped that we had him with us at Sebring in March as we could go over lots of new little things on the car.

He’s super quick and a nice guy so we’ve got a great team spirit in the No. 51 car – we now just need our first Le Mans win and it will all be perfect.

See you there!

Photo: MPS Agency

James Calado (@caladojames) is a Ferrari factory driver and the 2017 WEC GTE World Champion, driving for AF Corse in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

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