After the longest race of the season, the FIA WEC championship returned to the track. This time in the German Eifel at the Nürburgring. With a win in GTE-Pro and second place for the #54 Spirit of Race, the 488 GTE proved its strength again.
With a great start for the #71 AF Corse car, the race started well for the Prancing Horse. But then disaster came and half an hour into the race the gearbox seized up. The car was driven back to the pits by Davide Rigon so the AF Corse mechanics could repair the gearbox. When the car set off again it was two laps behind the class leader.
The #51 car had more luck, James Calado jumped from seventh to fifth and joined up with the group of two Porsches, the Aston Martin #95 and Ford #66, but was unable to attempt an attack due to a lack of top speed. Car #51’s race was thus all based on strategy, thanks to the extraordinary ability of Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi to save tyres and fuel. The Ferrari was always the last to stop and gained time in the second part of the stints when tyres started to struggle. The crew gained seconds until the halfway mark, so the drivers just had to manage their lead in the second half of the race. Pier Guidi put in a fantastic double stint, which Calado replicated over the following 90 minutes. All this resulted in a win for the #51.
The twin car, just as it was mounting a strong recovery with great times from Rigon and his occasional teammate Toni Vilander, was again pulled up short by the gearbox whose repair cost another two laps. The car finished eighth in its class.
In the GTE-Am class, the two Ferraris struggled with the pace but were very competitive with worn tyres in the closing stages. The 488 GTE of Spirit of Race driven by Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Miguel Molina, an official Prancing Horse driver, finished second, while Clearwater Racing’s #61 driven by Griffin, Mok and Sawa came home in fourth position. The class victory went to the Porsche of Dienst, Ried and Cairoli, while the Porsche of BernhardBamber-Hartley was the overall winner.
The next round will take place in Mexico at the start of September.