After taking top honors in the European Le Mans Series, Ram Racing is poised to step up to the FIA World Endurance Championship this year, with a dual-class GTE attack.
Sportscar365 has confirmed that the British outfit is preparing to enter two Ferrari 458 Italias, one each for GTE-Pro and GTE-Am, with the lineups for both full-season entries close to being finalized.
“We’re quite excited about it,” team manager Dan Shufflebottom told Sportscar365. “It’s going to be a good step up for us. We’re under no illusions that the level is a lot higher in WEC than it is in ELMS, but we think we’re up to it.
“We just have to make sure we prepare ourselves the same way as we did in the ELMS, which means getting everything in place as early as we can.”
One part of the team’s preparation is competing in this week’s Dunlop 24 Hours of Dubai, which has seen recently crowned ELMS GTE champions Johnny Mowlem and Matt Griffin join 2013 ALMS GT champion Jan Magnussen and gentleman driver Cheerang Arya in a GT3-spec Ferrari.
Griffin and Mowlem have already been confirmed as two of the team’s WEC drivers. Shufflebottom said they are in final negotiations with a driver to join Griffin in the GTE-Pro car, while the GTE-Am lineup has been secured but not yet announced.
The new-for-2014 mandate requiring at least one Bronze-rated driver in each lineup has been one of the new elements Ram has been forced to adapt to.
“There’s probably four or five [Bronze drivers] on the FIA list that appeal to us,” Shufflebottom said. “We spoke to them all and we narrowed it down to two. We have finalized that, it’s a done deal and we think we have one of the better ones. I think the Am lineup is going to be really strong.
“We didn’t want to just go and get any Bronze that’s got a huge budget but is miles off the pace. That’s not the philosophy of the team. We tried to avoid doing that. Hopefully that’s going to put us in the position of having the best Am lineup.”
Shufflebottom said both of their Ferraris will be upgraded to 2013-spec for the upcoming season, with a 90 percent chance or remaining on Michelin tires, despite having evaluated a different brand.
A formal announcement of the team’s program is expected to be made in the next few weeks.