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Caldarelli: FFF Team Closure a “Multiple-Factor Decision”

FFF Racing Team co-founder Andrea Caldarelli reflects on program after closure announced…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

Shutting down the title-winning Lamborghini squad FFF Racing Team was a “multiple-factor decision” according to team principal and co-founder Andrea Caldarelli.

FFF on Monday announced the end of its racing activities, closing a program that started out running McLarens before switching to Lamborghinis and becoming arguably the Italian manufacturer’s leading Pro team in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS for a period.

The Chinese-owned squad, which ran its European programs in Italy, focused on Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe last year after parking its GT3 project at the end of 2021.

“It’s a decision that came from multiple sides,” Caldarelli told Sportscar365.

“The team was owned by Mr. Fu [Songyang] and we founded the team in 2014. Our target was that we wanted to always have the team backed up from a factory, in any program we would do.

“We kind of saw that Lamborghini didn’t have any space for us in the short to mid-term future. So, we took the decision to close the operation starting on January 1 this year.

“I will also be very deeply involved with LMDh and a lot of racing activities myself, and we saw that my presence was very important in the [FFF] team’s everyday running.

“For me, it started to get quite hard. That was also one of the key factors. I would say it was a multiple-factor decision.”

Caldarelli is one of three drivers confirmed for the 2024 Lamborghini LMDh project, alongside Mirko Bortolotti and Romain Grosjean.

The 32-year-old indicated that FFF had “wanted to expand” with the manufacturer in the future, but a program deal was not reached.

Lamborghini has partnered with Iron Lynx for its LMDh program in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“I think the decision was not made because of LMDh,” Caldarelli suggested.

“I think it was the consequence of a lot of events that happened between 2021 and 2022 that we were not able to put together a program for the near future.

“If we didn’t see something interesting in the next three years, we would not consider starting to do it.

“We decided that we didn’t want to go anywhere else [to another manufacturer]. When there was no space for FFF, there was no space to keep going.

“We spoke all the way through with [Lamborghini head of motorsport] Giorgio Sanna during the last few months. With me being an important part of this [LMDh] program, I don’t think it was fair to split my efforts and only focus on one thing.”

Caldarelli explained that FFF staff were notified of the planned closure in advance. It is understood that the team’s Super Trofeo cars were owned by customers.

When FFF stepped back from GT3 at the end of 2021, some of its members went elsewhere in the GTWC Europe paddock.

“We always tried to keep a very close relationship with our mechanics, engineers and people in the office,” Caldarelli said.

“It’s not a decision that came suddenly. It’s not something that happened overnight. We informed them before, and we also tried to help them to keep going and spread them into the Lamborghini family.”

Caldarelli “Extremely Proud” of FFF Journey

The team principal expressed personal pride in FFF’s eight-season existence which included a sweep of the 2019 GTWC Europe overall drivers’ titles, a GTWC Asia championship in 2018 and victories at Road to Le Mans and the FIA Motorsport Games.

FFF also contested major endurance races including the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa, Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and Nürburgring 24.

“It’s something that we literally created in one day,” Caldarelli reflected.

“We were in a car, myself and Mr. Fu, and we started to think about doing it, going from scratch. I hadn’t done anything like that before. At the time I was a factory driver for Toyota and I had a lot of free time because I was not racing every day [in Japan].

“We really started from zero. Looking at what we have achieved in such a short time, it’s something that definitely has good memories, but at the same time it’s taught me and all the people a lot.

“There is such a big bag of experience and knowledge that takes a long time to have. So I’m glad that we achieved so much in that short period.

“The atmosphere in the team was always really high. Everyone had the same motivation. We had a lot of collaborators and partners, like Orange 1 which supported us when we came back to Europe. It was such an important piece of the puzzle.

“It was made of trust in the beginning because we were new to it, so I’m really proud that we could make it happen.”

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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