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Ferrari Keen to Maintain Double Two-Car Factory GT Program

Ferrari set to retain double two-car factory program in Europe; DTM being looked at…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari is aiming to continue its two-car factory programs in both GTE and GT3 after the Italian marque added an extra entry to its effort in the latter category for this year.

Ferrari’s head of GT competition Antonello Coletta has said he would like to carry on with two Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s in GT World Challenge powered by AWS Endurance Cup, in addition to an established two-car FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro setup.

AF Corse is responsible for operating both sets of Pro-class programs, including the SMP Racing GT3 entry in SRO Motorsports Group’s Endurance Cup series.

Ferrari previously only ran a single SMP car in Endurance Cup but doubled its involvement this year to include an AF Corse entry for 2017 World Endurance champions James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and their fellow factory driver Nicklas Nielsen.

While its 2020 double factory program has been impacted by a date clash between the WEC 8 Hours of Bahrain and the Endurance Cup Paul Ricard 1000km next weekend, the announced provisional 2021 calendars present no conflicts between the two series.

“Normally it will be exactly the same,” Coletta told Sportscar365 when asked if both two-car programs will continue next year.

“I don’t know that we will make a change [in WEC]. After the last race in Bahrain we will have one or two months to recover, but our idea at this moment is to maintain the exact same situation as now.

“For the first time in World Challenge, in 2020, we have two Pro cars. Our idea is to maintain two Pro cars. [Right] now we are not sure, but I am confident that we will have the chance to continue with two.

“Now it is impossible to confirm the lineup. The first step is to confirm the cars, and the next step is to confirm the drivers.”

Coletta explained that once several off-season sponsorship hurdles have been cleared, Ferrari will be able to confirm the retention of its two-car Endurance Cup GT3 program.

“The problem of the confirmation of the cars is a sponsor problem,” he said.

“For Ferrari the first program is the WEC. All our sponsors we put on the WEC. After, if we have other sponsors, we can organize the other two official cars.

“For example in 2020 it has been possible. 90 percent I can see the two Pro cars for next year [in GTWC Europe]. But I’m not sure. The problem is just a sponsor problem.

“It is important to have good results in GT3 because we need to show our car to all the customers around the world, to sell cars. This is exactly the same for the other manufacturers.

“But the difference is that we have WEC – Porsche and Aston have WEC – but [most of] the others don’t have other programs or concentrate many of their efforts in GT3.

“This category is not easy and we have many official competitors.”

No Factory IMSA GTLM Effort for 2021

Ferrari appears set to keep its factory GT programs concentrated in Europe with Coletta dismissing the possibility of a GT Le Mans effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Risi Competizione has been Ferrari’s lead GTLM representative in recent years but the Houston-based privateer has only committed to major endurance events, including Motul Petit Le Mans which it won last year with factory support.

“We don’t have other programs for tomorrow in IMSA,” said Coletta.

“The U.S is the most important national market for us, but now it’s impossible to have official cars in every championship.

“At the moment I think it’s impossible that in 2021 Ferrari will be in WEC and IMSA.

“[A] difference is to have the cars of the loyal customer teams, either Risi Competizione or WeatherTech [Scuderia Corsa], if they consider to change categories.

“The official program doesn’t exist. By definition, I discuss ideas for new programs every day, but it’s not certain that every discussion turns into a program.

“I have discussed with many players in the U.S and I have a very good relationship with IMSA. But at the moment we don’t have anything.”

Ferrari Held Talks with DTM Bosses

Coletta also confirmed that Ferrari has spoken to the DTM organization regarding the introduction of GT3-based machinery in the German national championship next year.

The collapse of the Class One regulations in Europe has resulted in the adoption of GT3, which boasts a much wider pool of international manufacturers.

Ferrari does have a handful of active GT3 customer teams in central Europe including Rinaldi Racing in Germany and both Kessel Racing and Octane 126 in Switzerland.

“My staff had a meeting recently with the DTM organization,” said Coletta.

“This is another new idea. I don’t know if there exists a customer team with an interest to participate in the DTM. This is not impossible because it’s a good show, but we need to understand if we have space for all. There exists SRO, IMSA, GT Masters and so on.

“We need to understand very well the terms of the rules, but I don’t see next year the idea to organize an official program in DTM. The difference is if we have a team to consider racing in the future championship in DTM.

“I have many teams in Germany: for example, Rinaldi Racing. I am very happy to consider if they want to participate in DTM. But now I don’t have feedback.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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