Silverstone’s win the highlight of the first half of the Super Season
The 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship is the first season to span two calendar years, following a trend begun by Formula E. The championship opened in May with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps but only five races have been held so far and the Ferrari cars of AF Corse have enjoyed mixed results. In the GTE-Pro class at Spa-Francorchamps, the 488 GTE no. 51 was involved in a contact in the pit lane while a determined Davide Rigon drove no. 71 to a podium finish, taking advantage of excellent tyre management to overtake the Porsche of Lietz-Bruni on the last lap. The harsh Balance of Performance (BoP) that disadvantaged the Ferrari after they had dominated in 2017 played a big factor. It reduced the performance benefits of the Evo kit introduced this year, practically to zero in terms of results.
Le Mans. Then, in the second race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, BoP again ruled out any chance of victory for the 488 GTEs, even though AF Corse had also added a third car. In the end, both Calado-Pier Guidi-Serra in no. 51 and Rigon-Bird-Molina in no. 71 were delayed by a puncture and a collision with a car part left on the track. The best Ferrari was then car no. 52 in fifth, crewed by Antonio Giovinazzi, Toni Vilander and Pipo Derani. The Ferrari of Spirit of Race and Keating Motorsport with, respectively, Giancarlo Fisichella, Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci, and Ben Keating, Luca Stolz, and Jeroen Bleekemolen, took second and third place in the GTE-Am class.
Triumph. The third race of the year, the 6 Hours of Silverstone, saw an extraordinary strategic triumph for James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi who, unable to compete with their higher performing rivals in terms of pure performance, prevailed in the end through clever management of fuel consumption and tyres. However, the two races in Asia yielded no joy. There are three races left for completing the Super Season that will be held in the first half of 2019: the Sebring 1000 Miles on March, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May and the second 24 Hours of Le Mans of the championship on June.