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Molina Replaces Bird in AF Corse GTE-Pro Roster

Miguel Molina replaces Sam Bird in full-season AF Corse lineup…

Photo: MPS Agency

Miguel Molina will move up to a full-season GTE-Pro role with AF Corse in the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship season, replacing Sam Bird.

The Spaniard is set to partner Davide Rigon in the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo throughout the 2019-20 season, while an unchanged lineup of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi shares the No. 51 entry.

Molina served as the third driver in Bird and Rigon’s car at Le Mans and Sebring last season and competes for Ferrari in some of its leading GT3 programs, including with SMP Racing in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and R. Ferri Motorsport in Blancpain GT World Challenge America.

A statement released by Ferrari on Tuesday revealed that Bird’s racing programs with Ferrari will be announced later, although the omission of him from a full-season WEC role alleviates clashes with his ABB FIA Formula E Championship program.

Although the final Formula E schedule is yet to be released, and clashes with WEC could therefore be eliminated, Bird is currently one of a number of drivers facing clashes between Formula E races and the WEC rounds at Bahrain and Sebring.

It could be possible for Bird to effectively swap roles with Molina, serving as a third driver at Le Mans, although possibly not for Sebring, which is one of the two WEC rounds currently set to clash with Formula E.

Molina will also face a clash of his own at the season-opener at Silverstone later this month, which falls on the same weekend as a GT World Challenge America round at Watkins Glen.

Molina and Toni Vilander currently lead the points standings in the North American series, and missing Watkins Glen for Silverstone effectively ends the Spaniard’s title hopes.

AF Corse’s unchanged pairing of Calado and Pier Guidi scored two GTE-Pro wins last season, including this year’s edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Daniel Serra.

They placed second in the drivers’ championship to help register the same position for Ferrari in the World Endurance GTE manufacturers’ championship.

It remains a possibility that Calado could also face Formula E clashes, with the Brit having tested for Panasonic Jaguar Racing earlier in the summer

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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