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WEC Finale Date Change Leaves Ferrari with Clash Conundrum

Ferrari facing clash conundrum between WEC and GTWC Europe Endurance Cup season finales…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari driver Alessandro Pier Guidi has described a new date clash between the season finales of GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup and the FIA World Endurance Championship as a “big problem” for the Italian manufacturer.

Pier Guidi, James Calado and Nicklas Nielsen, who drive the factory-supported No. 51 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in GTWC Europe, and SMP Racing’s Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina are affected by the scheduling conflict on the weekend of Nov. 14-15.

The clash arose after the WEC brought the 8 Hours of Bahrain forward by one week, to create enough space between its event and the rearranged Formula One Grand Prix.

This put the WEC event on the same weekend as the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and the Paul Ricard 1000km, which is the final round of GTWC Europe Endurance Cup.

It leaves Ferrari with a significant selection problem as five of its six Pro-class drivers in GTWC Europe are impacted.

The other drivers who also compete regularly in both series are Matt Campbell, Matteo Cairoli, Thomas Preining, Andrew Watson Felipe Fraga and Jonny Adam.

Pier Guidi and Calado are currently third in the FIA World Endurance GTE drivers’ championship, while the No. 51 crew is seventh in the Endurance Cup Pro points.

“This problem is quite big because all three of our No. 51 team are involved in WEC and Davide and Miguel in the other car, and our engineers also,” Pier Guidi told Sportscar365.

“The same race engineer who works in WEC is working [in GTWC Europe]. Most of the guys from the team do both, so it’s quite complicated at the moment for us, and for the team.

“I hope they find a solution. Let’s see how we perform up to the last races. I hope to be in the game in both championships, but those conditions would make it difficult to choose.”

Pier Guidi said that while some team members could theoretically attend both races which take place on different days, such a strategy would negatively impact performance.

“You have to choose one,” he said. “Even if logistically you can do both, you would go to Bahrain, race and fly straight to a race at Paul Ricard.

“It’s not the best way to fight these kinds of championships with this high level. Doing both races would probably compromise both.

“Hopefully the organizations find a solution, or Ferrari needs to make a decision.”

Conditions Key to Nürburgring Competitiveness

Regarding this weekend’s Endurance Cup round at the Nürburgring, Pier Guidi suggested that AF Corse needs to make some adjustments in order to beat the cool conditons.

“We struggled a bit with the new spec of [Pirelli] tires to find the optimum and to get them to work, especially in these colder temperatures,” he said.

“Our car is quite soft on the tires which is good for the long runs, but when it’s cold and damp like yesterday [during paid testing] we struggle a bit more than our competitors. We will change some things tomorrow and see if it works.

“We did some tests yesterday and we were trying to close the gap compared to our competitors because most of them are more used to driving this track. Tomorrow we hope the weather will be more stable and we can do a better job.”

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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