Last weekend the circuit of Silverstone hosted the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) and the World Endurance Championship (WEC) for Ferrari customers. This is how it went!
European Le Mans Series
Ferrari customer teams had scant success in the first round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series. The two 488 GTE’s and the 458 GTE failed to clinch a podium place despite demonstrating the potential to do so.
The 488 GTE #55 of Spirit of Race was close to a podium finish and was even leading when Aaron Scott was at the wheel. In the end the British driver, his teammates Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin had to settle for fourth place.
It was a much tougher weekend for the other 488 GTE of Spirit of Race team, crewed by Giorgio Roda, Gianluca Roda and official Ferrari driver Andrea Bertolini. Car #51 faced major problems after qualifying and as a precaution had its engine replaced. In the race it had a number of problems, with the crew suffering two drive through and struggling to warm up their tyres. It wasn’t an easy race either for the 458 GTE’s of JMW Motorsport, the winner on Silverstone a year ago, but whose crew of Jody Fannin, Rory Butcher and Robert Smith had to settle for fifth place. The next round is on 14 May at Monza in Italy.
World Endurance Championship
The start of the new 2017 season took place at Silverstone. In difficult overcast conditions there were mixed fortunes for Ferrari.
In GTE Pro the AF Corse Ferrari #51 took second place after a strong race from Calado and Pier Guidi. At the start, Calado was at the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GTE and moved up from sixth position to fourth. The other AF Corse Ferrari had a bad start with Sam Bird behind the wheel. The Englishman was hit by a Porsche in the first corner and was forced to run wide. He lost several positions. The #51 then went on with an very aggressive strategy. At the first pit stop they changed the tyres and there was a driver change. The #71 took a less aggressive strategy and left the tyres on and didn’t performed a driver change. After an early stop from the Ford that was in second position, the car from Calado and Pier Guidi moved up to second place. After some very good strategic calls in the chaotic third and fourth hour, the #51 finished in second place. There were some accidents with #71 and in the end it sadly finished in fifth place.
In GTE Am there were some better results for Ferrari. The 488 GTE crewed by Singaporeans Mok Weng Sun, Japan Keita Sawa and Ireland Matt Griffin won the race but also thanks to a bit of luck. Starting from the back of the grid, a perfect strategy and the skill of the drivers quickly put car #61 into a podium position. In the final part of the race Griffin closed in on the Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy, engaging in a duel with the Portuguese that saw the Ferrari prevail. When it seemed that nothing could stand in the way of a Clearwater victory, the 488 needed to refuel. At that point Lamy retook the lead pursued by the other 488 GTE, of Spirit of Race driven by Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Miguel Molina. Molina, an official Maranello driver, closed the gap on the Aston Martin towards the end and attempted to overtake on the final lap. Lamy extreme defence caused the Aston Martin to collide with the Ferrari, which came off worst ending up off the track with damage to the suspension. This allowed Griffin to cross the finish line first.