Daniel Serra says he’s looking forward to having a “more involved” role within Ferrari’s FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro team after signing on as a full-time driver.
Last month Ferrari announced double 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Pro winner Serra as Miguel Molina’s co-driver in the No. 52 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, replacing Davide Rigon.
The Brazilian driver, who turns 37 on Wednesday, has only made sporadic or part-season appearances in previous WEC campaigns.
Serra drove for Aston Martin in six rounds of the 2017 season, including Le Mans which he won with Jonny Adam and Darren Turner, but didn’t compete in the last three events.
He then switched to driving Ferraris and made five WEC appearances, including three Le Mans outings, with the Italian marque over two seasons. The most notable of those was the 2019 Le Mans edition, which he won with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.
The trio finished second in their quest to defend that accolade last year, while Serra returned to the WEC grid for the 8 Hours of Bahrain as a replacement for Pier Guidi, who was at Paul Ricard for the final round of GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS.
Serra told Sportscar365 that he believes the expansion of his Ferrari GTE-Pro role will enable him to have a deeper engagement in the program than before.
“First of all, I will have much more mileage in the car,” he said.
“[Previously] I was just joining as the third driver, so then it was much more about me getting used to what they were doing and adapting myself.
“Now I can try to have more of what I would like in the car, but of course working together with Miguel. I think now, having more testing time and simulator time, it will be better for me.
“This year I’ll have to think more about the car. Before, it was much more about adapting myself as fast as possible. I was usually there just for the races, but now I have more testing to develop parts of the car and the ways of working together with the engineers.
“I’m really happy about it, to have more time, mileage and to be more involved. I think I have a lot to learn during the season as well.”
Serra, who became an official Ferrari factory driver last year, admitted that his call-up to a full-time WEC seat came as a surprise despite it being one of his main targets when he embarked on his current European sports car racing venture in 2017.
Although the triple Stock Car Brasil champion has become a familiar name on GT grids in Europe, his last complete full-season campaign in a series based on the eastern side of the Atlantic came in the 2005 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, which Kamui Kobayashi won.
“I wanted to do a full season in WEC and I think I always made it quite clear what I wanted to do,” said Serra.
“I’m really happy that I have this chance to do it now, and I can’t wait for the first race.
“I was trying hard to have this chance, but I was not expecting to have it, with all the situations that we are living in and with travel being quite difficult.
“And I am still living in Brazil, so I was not expecting [it]. But I think I’m ready. We have been preparing as much as we can for this season, and I’m ready for the start.”
Serra is confirmed to drive for the RC Competicoes team in Stock Car Brasil this year.
His ability to complete the full WEC season will therefore depend on the outcome of a November date clash between the Bahrain finale and a Stock Car meeting at Goiania.
New Program Brings Other New Elements
While Serra has Le Mans-winning experience with the AF Corse Ferrari team, his first full-time role with the organization will come as part of an entry that is new to him.
Serra has driven the No. 51 Ferrari for all of his previous WEC outings, but this year marks both his first time in the No. 52 car – which was the No. 71 last year – and his first time sharing a car with Molina who joined the GTE-Pro roster full-time last season.
“I know Miguel really well,” said Serra. “I never drove the same car as [him] but we were in the same garage, so we saw each other working.
“We have a good relationship outside of the track, so I don’t think this part will be a problem. We’ll get up to speed really fast.
“Driving the same car, it will be a learning process to see how he likes the car and how I like it, and what compromises we need to do to find the best setup for us.
“But we have some good testing days before the season starts, so we can figure it out.”