Ferrari drivers Nicklas Nielsen, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Come Ledogar are aiming to leverage their “amazing” sweep of the major 24-hour races in August as they seek to maintain their Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup lead.
The No. 51 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 crew moved to the head of the Endurance championship by winning the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa and claiming maximum scores at the two in-race points distribution checkpoints on six hours and halfway.
However, that achievement only marked one part of a conquering month, as all three drivers went on to earn class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans three weeks later.
Pier Guidi and Ledogar won GTE-Pro alongside James Calado, while Nielsen teamed up with his AF Corse co-drivers Francois Perrodo and Alessio Rovera to prevail in GTE-Am.
Back together, Nielsen said that the drivers of the No. 51 Ferrari in GTWC Europe – including reigning Endurance champion Pier Guidi – are pushing to add the series title to their Spa and Le Mans wins by preserving their 15-point buffer at the final two races.
“Winning two of the biggest 24-hour races in just a few of weeks was amazing,” Nielsen told Sportscar365.
“Even though Le Mans was in GTE-Am, it’s not like it’s easier than anything else because it was a really tough field. The Bronze drivers were really quick as well.
“It’s been an incredible month and if I look three or four years back, I was in Ferrari Challenge and now I’ve won these races in a month so it’s been amazing.”
Nielsen explained that both results gave a significant boost to the No. 51 crew, Ferrari and also Iron Lynx, which scored a podium in the GTE-Am race at Le Mans.
“Definitely, especially for Ferrari and Iron Lynx,” said the Danish driver. “For Ferrari, it was 17 years since they last won Spa for example. So that victory was huge.
“It’s really difficult to describe: we had 35 people in the garage crying as all the emotions came out. Spa is just super, especially during the night where there is no room for mistakes.
“At Le Mans there is no space for mistakes, but it’s different when you have 58 GT3 cars on the same track and being mixed at Le Mans.
“Nevertheless, it’s difficult to pick one victory over the other because they are both on top of the list.
“We won the races that we wanted to win, but we still have to finish off the season. Our goal is to seal the championship, not only in GTWC but also in WEC.
“We will keep fighting and see where we end up, but I have a good feeling.”
The factory-supported Iron Lynx Ferraris qualified eighth and ninth for today’s Endurance Cup round, although the team is optimistic about its performance in the race despite other brands such as Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini and Porsche being quicker.
“I think we’re pretty strong on race pace, so I think we’ll be fine,” said Nielsen.
“It seems like we’re lacking a bit of speed in pure qualifying. At the moment it seems like on the new tire runs that were are not able to use the whole peak of the tire.
“But the race pace seems pretty OK, so that’s what we’re going to focus on. We always seem stronger at the other races compared to quali, which is most important in the end.
“I think we’ve been improving throughout the season and I think we’re getting stronger and stronger all the time.”