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Ferrari Committed to GTE for “This Year and Next Year”

Ferrari to maintain GTE program through 2022 but long-term outlook involves changes…

Photo: Joao Filipe/Adrenal Media

Ferrari is committed to the GTE formula “for this year and next year” but foresees changes after that, according to the head of the manufacturer’s sports car racing division.

Ferrari’s current plan is to continue supporting the entry of 488 GTE Evos over the 2021 and 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series seasons.

This is understood to include the WEC factory team as well as customer-led projects.

However, Ferrari’s status in the formula beyond that has not been guaranteed, with Maranello aiming to debut its new factory-operated hybrid Le Mans Hypercar in 2023.

The commitment of Ferrari and Porsche, the two largest GTE brands, to major projects in LMH and LMDh for the same year has contributed to uncertainty over GTE’s future.

GTE is currently only set to appear in WEC and ELMS next year once IMSA introduces its new GT3-based GT Daytona Pro category to replace the dwindling GT Le Mans class.

IMSA’s launch of GTD Pro has made GTE manufacturers wary of the potential for a similar move being pulled in Europe by WEC organizers the FIA and Automobile Club de l’Ouest.

When asked about the future of Ferrari’s GTE project, head of sports car racing Antonello Coletta told Sportscar365: “For us, we are committed for two years: 2021 and 2022. This is our decision. We have many cars in GTE-Am and, for us, this is very important.

“For Ferrari, endurance is an important business unit and to have many customers that run with our cars in the world championships is an important issue.

“Of course, for the future, probably from 2023 or 2024 exists the chance that the FIA and ACO move the GT category into GT3. But now we don’t have any decisions, just many discussions.

“Of course, for Ferrari it’s important to maintain the GT class in WEC. I hope that we will go in this direction. This is an important issue [not only] for us but also for the federation.”

Coletta appeared to acknowledge that Ferrari would consider sidelining its factory GT race program in WEC once its LMH prototype effort comes online, in the hope of there being a general move towards customer-only racing in the production-based ranks.

As reported by Sportscar365 last week, Ferrari is planning to put its LMH car on track for the first time next spring ahead of a competitive debut in early 2023.

This timeline fits neatly with its current GTE commitment through to the end of next year.

“Our involvement is OK for this year and next year, but after we will see,” said Coletta.

“But it’s normal that I consider GT just for customers in the future. Because the involvement with our official team will be in Hypercar.

“But I think that the future of GT, for the rest of the competitors, is correct if it will be just for customer cars.

“My idea is that it’s important to have a Bronze or Silver [driver] there, like the GTE-Am of today, because this is very important for the success of the numbers of cars for the future, and for the business of the manufacturers.”

Ferrari was one of the WEC’s founding GTE manufacturers in the inaugural 2012 season and finished as the top brand in five of the first six campaigns.

It won the 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Pro class in 2012, 2014 and 2019, while in 2017 its drivers James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi clinched the world drivers’ championship.

In addition to AF Corse’s two-car factory GTE-Pro effort in WEC, a dozen Ferrari 488 GTE Evo customer cars are competing across the world championship and ELMS this year.

Ferrari also provides factory support in GT3 to the Iron Lynx team which is competing in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup with two entries.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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