Alessandro Pier Guidi says scoring his first FIA World Endurance Championship class win in the Six Hours of Nürburgring on Sunday puts him back in the title hunt for the rest of his debut year in the series.
He and co-driver James Calado have finished on the GTE-Pro podium in three out of four races so far this season, but a low points haul at the 24 Hours of Le Mans put them on the back foot in the championship fight heading to Germany.
“I’m really happy because I’ve worked hard to be here with Ferrari and I have finally scored my first win,” he told Sportscar365. “Apart from Le Mans, we’ve scored two second places and one victory, so it’s a good score for us.
“We’re back in the championship, I think. Of course, we’ve missed some points, and after Le Mans we were a bit disappointed, but now we are back again.
“We need to try and win and score the maximum points we can every race and then we’ll see at the end.
“[We have more of a chance] than before, for sure, but it’s still a long championship and anything can happen. After Le Mans was tough but now we’re in a better situation, but we have to look at it race-by-race.”
Pier Guidi and Calado’s Ferrari 488 GTE only came into the lead battle in the latter half of the Nürburgring race while the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE and pair of Porsche 911 RSRs which had led early on began to drop off the pace.
He says this was because the Ferrari was able to manage tire degradation better than the other cars in the GTE-Pro class, something that has become more important this season with a reduction to four sets of tires per race.
“We weren’t the quicker car on a single lap, because of BoP and [other] things, but we did a very good job on the tire degradation,” Pier Guidi explained.
“This year, with four sets of tires in six hours, it is tough for everyone. The people who are doing the best job on the setup and the tire degradation will win the race, like we did.
“This was the real key to our victory. We were really constant, not slow, not super quick, but really constant.
“We have to find something else for Mexico and I’ve never been there so it will be new for me, but we have to work on the car and the setup.”
While this is the 33-year-old Italian’s first full-season campaign in the WEC, it is also his first year as a full-on Ferrari factory driver, having replaced Gianmaria Bruni in the lineup.
“I’m really happy to have this opportunity and I have to thank Ferrari and AF Corse,” he said. “I have already been part of the family for a few years in the AF Corse team but not as a Ferrari factory driver.
“I feel confident and I’m used to working with the team so it’s not a big step, but being a Ferrari driver is quite big.
“It’s the biggest series in the world for endurance racing and I think also GTE-Pro is the best category at the moment with the toughest competition because there are four manufacturers – five at Le Mans – and even more next year.
“It’s the strongest in the world and I’m really proud to be here. The level of this series is so high and all the cars can win at every race, especially in GTE, at the moment.”