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Pier Guidi to Miss Bahrain Due to GTWC Europe Clash

Serra to sub for Pier Guidi in Bahrain; Bird gets GT3 call as part of heavily changed Ricard lineup…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari has confirmed that Alessandro Pier Guidi will miss next weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain as part of a driver lineup shuffle across its factory crews to negotiate a date clash with the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season finale.

Factory driver Daniel Serra will partner James Calado in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, replacing Pier Guidi who is being prioritized at the Paul Ricard 1000km.

Pier Guidi and Calado were initially shown on the FIA World Endurance Championship’s updated Bahrain entry list published earlier this week, but Ferrari has since confirmed that the 2017 GTE-Pro champions will be split up for the 2019-20 season finale.

Its No. 71 pairing of Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon will remain unchanged, while Nicklas Nielsen will drive the GTE-Am title-contending No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari.

Five Ferrari drivers – both of the manufacturer’s GTE-Pro pairings and Nielsen – compete full-time in both the WEC and GTWC Europe Endurance Cup.

Pier Guidi is the only WEC driver not making the trip to Bahrain, while Ferrari’s factory Endurance Cup crews have been significantly modified for Paul Ricard.

The Italian will be joined by Sam Bird and Come Ledogar in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, while the No. 72 SMP Racing car will feature Toni Vilander and Antonio Fuoco alongside Sergey Sirotkin, who usually teams up with Rigon and Molina.

Formula E star Bird’s last Ferrari GT3 outing came in last year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa.

The British driver also contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans WEC round in September, competing in GTE-Pro.

Frenchman Ledogar is set for his first Endurance Cup appearance in a Ferrari, having been behind the wheel of Aston Martin and McLaren machinery in past campaigns.

The 2016 Endurance Cup champion has never driven a 488 in the championship but he did represent Ferrari customer CarGuy Racing in last season’s Asian Le Mans Series.

Ledogar also recently took pole at Le Mans in the GTE-Am category.

Ferrari stalwart Vilander has represented WeatherTech Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this year.

His and Sirotkin’s SMP Racing co-driver Fuoco drives for the manufacturer in Italian GT, but the FIA Formula 2 race winner has never competed on the European GT3 stage.

After finishing fifth in last month’s 24 Hours of Spa, the No. 51 AF Corse crew is now in contention for the Endurance Cup title.

Pier Guidi will attempt to overturn a six-point gap to the AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG crew and the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche squad at Paul Ricard.

Both AKKA-ASP and Dinamic also have drivers affected by the WEC/GTWC Europe date clash.

Felipe Fraga, who drives for Team Project 1 in WEC, is currently on the Bahrain entry list while Dinamic has retained the Brazilian’s GTE-Am teammate Matteo Cairoli for its championship bid.

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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