The Super Season of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) kicks off this weekend. The championship will last more than a year, concluding in about 13 months with the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours. Next year’s proceedings will open with a race at Sebring, followed by the second race at Spa-Francorchamps in May and the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.
World champions. Ferrari is therefore trying to retain the two world titles won in 2017. Last season James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi took the World Drivers’ Championship, while Sam Bird and Davide Rigon helped the Prancing Horse dominate the constructors’ championship, sealed with a race to go. The GTE-Pro class for the Super Season will again see Ferraris no. 51 and 71 of AF Corse. Calado and Pier Guidi will be back in no. 51, while Rigon and Bird will be driving no. 71. The two 488 GTEs will be in the 2018 configuration, equipped with a new aerodynamic kit that should allow improved management of performance over distance.
GTE-Am, old and new. The situation for Ferrari in the GTE-Am class is a mixture of the old and new. Let’s start with the old, and the 488 GTE no. 61 of Clearwater Racing team still in the capable hands of Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin. Car no. 54 of Spirit of Race will also be back, with Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci joined by the Italian Giancarlo Fisichella, who until last year was involved in the IMSA series in America. The new comes in the form of the 488 GTE no. 70 of MR Racing, which will be crewed by the highly experienced Olivier Beretta, the young Eddie Cheever III and the Japanese Motoaki Ishikawa.
Programme and history. Races at Spa-Francorchamps are held on Saturdays, so the entire weekend is brought forward a day. On Thursday, the drivers will take to the track for the free practices (12-13:30 pm and 4:25-5:55 pm), while on Friday, after the third free practice session from 11-12 pm, qualifying takes place (3 pm-3:25 pm). The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will set off on Saturday at 1:30 pm. Ferrari has an excellent tradition on the Belgian track, with over 100 victories. The first came in 1949 with Luigi Chinetti and Jean Lucas, in a 166 MM, while the most recent dates back to last year, in the European Le Mans Series with the 488 GTE of Spirit of Race driven by Andrea Bertolini, Gianluca Rosa and Rino Mastronardi.