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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Ferrari Ran “Lots of Simulations” During Indy 8H Preparation

Ferrari’s GT technical director explains the homework behind its Pro-class Indy 8H attempt…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari is confident about its potential performance at Indianapolis after running “a lot of simulations” to prepare for its first factory-invested appearance at the circuit’s eight-hour race, according to the manufacturer’s technical director Ferdinando Cannizzo.

After winning the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa with Iron Lynx, Ferrari committed to the remaining Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli rounds with a two-car works-supported setup entered under AF Corse.

Ferrari was represented on the Indianapolis 8 Hour presented by AWS grid last year through private teams Squadra Corse and Vital Speed Motorsport, but this weekend marks its most serious attempt at the race with factory-driven and engineered cars.

Cannizzo explained that a vigorous simulation program helped to secure a baseline that the team could refer to during the build-up, despite rain affecting play during practice.

“The work was definitely jeopardized by the weather conditions, but the first session we did yesterday was good to understand the downforce levels,” he told Sportscar365.

“We ran a lot of simulations before the event, and I think the work that we did has proved that the simulations were fine. So now there is a good correlation with our simulations.

“Today the session started in very damp conditions, but at soon as the track started to dry the performance seemed OK. Most of the cars are pretty balanced.

“There are some fine things that we would like to play with for qualifying, but so far so good. Definitely the picture looks better than what we saw in Barcelona, so we are confident.”

Cannizzo’s nod to Barcelona was in reference to last weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season finale, where the factory-supported Iron Lynx Ferraris struggled for outright pace.

Alessandro Pier Guidi, Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar still wrapped up the drivers’ title with a seventh-place finish and are back in action this weekend as part of Ferrari’s IGTC commitment.

The other AF Corse car is being shared by Alessio Rovera, Antonio Fuoco and Callum Ilott, who tested on the Indianapolis infield course at the wheel of an IndyCar earlier this year.

“We did a week of full simulation,” said Cannizzo.

“Now also we are trying to gain experience with the drivers to be confident and to know the track better, corner-by-corner, just to understand which is the best trajectory to take.

“The drivers are all working together to share all the components of that.

“There is quite a long straight, but the infield is pretty demanding in terms of the tires and cornering approach. It seems like quite a specific track.

“On paper, it looks like the long straight takes the lead, but it’s not about that. You need to have the car balanced very well.”

Cannizzo light-heartedly added that Ferrari’s factory-backed GT3 team has also applied some track-specific data from the company’s Corse Clienti department, which holds a Ferrari Challenge North America round at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Asked if the Ferrari Challenge meeting has factored into Ferrari’s preparations for the eight-hour, he said: “Some track data has been ‘stolen’, let’s say, which is always useful! Even if the cars are pretty different.”

The AF Corse Ferraris placed fourth and tenth in the wet Free Practice session, before running 11th and 13th in Saturday morning’s drier Pre-Qualifying practice.

Despite lapping behind the top Pro entries from Audi and Mercedes-AMG in both sessions, Ferrari is optimistic that it will be in a strong position for the eight-hour race.

“I would like to see in qualifying where we are,” said Cannizzo.

“We know that we are not the fastest car in peak performance, but the race is a long distance and we are consistent enough to be competitive and gain positions over eight hours.

“[Other teams] have some advantages but we are a quite fast-learning team and we bet on this. I guess and hope that all the simulation work we have done will work as a value to us.”

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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