Ferrari’s Alessandro Pier Guidi reckons he and James Calado are “back into the fight” for the FIA World Endurance GT drivers’ title after the reinstatement of their 4 Hours of Shanghai win.
The pair initially had their victory stripped post-race for a ride-height infringement, but this ruling was overturned after a successful appeal by the AF Corse Ferrari team.
With the 25 points returned to them, Pier Guidi and Calado moved up to second in the drivers’ standings and 15 points behind Aston Martin’s Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim.
Pier Guidi told Sportscar365 that while Ferrari’s approach to this weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans race hasn’t been altered by the successful appeal, with the points boost reigniting he and Calado’s championship bid.
Following the 8 Hours of Bahrain, which fell between Shanghai and Circuit of The Americas and came before the appeal result, the No. 51 Ferrari pairing was 42 points off the championship lead.
However, the adjustment of the other GTE teams’ points totals to reflect the reinstatement of Ferrari’s Shanghai win slashed that deficit heading to COTA.
“For sure we are more happy,” the Italian told Sportscar365.
“We knew that we didn’t do anything wrong and we were always sure that the car was legal.
“For me and James, it’s very important in terms of championship points. We are back into the fight.
“It hasn’t changed our approach much because every time we try to win races and we are always trying to do our best, so we will approach this race as we always do.
“But without the win we were almost out of the championship, and now we are back. We are 15 points back but there is just one car in front, so we are there.
“We need to close the gap, so we still need to score a lot of points here. There are a lot of points at Le Mans and Sebring so there are a lot of points to recover or lose.”
Pier Guidi and Calado are the defending GTE-Pro race winners at COTA, having claimed victory at the circuit in 2017 on their way to winning the world drivers’ championship.
Pier Guidi believes the colder track temperatures this time around – for a race being held in February rather than September – and the unusual condensed schedule will be the hardest things to manage on the WEC series’ return to Austin.
“After two years a lot has changed in terms of the new aero kit and the tires, but the car is basically the same since then,” he said.
“All of our competitors basically have new cars compared to 2017, so this is something new for us and we need to understand their level here.
“We don’t know exactly what to expect, how the tires react to these temperatures. It will be a tight weekend because there are only two days with two practices and qualifying.
“We need to be running 90 percent from the beginning because if we are out of the setup at the beginning it will be difficult to recover, especially for qualifying.
“[The timetable] is much closer, so we have much less time to dedicate to the engineers to look at the data and everything and so we need to be smart.
“We expect to have a good race here. Last time we won here and we will try to repeat it.”