|Circuit||Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit
|Distance||1.144,794 km / 711,494 miles|
|51||Gianmaria Bruni / James Calado||488 GTE
||F142M GTE 3806
||18. overall / 2. in class LMGTE PRO
|Davide Rigon / Sam Bird
F142M GTE 3802
17. overall / 1. in class LMGTE PRO
|83||Francois Perrodo / Emmanuel Collard / Rui Aguas||458 Italia GT2||F142 GT 2886
||AF Corse||22. overall / 1. in class LMGTE AM|
Silverstone, 17 April – Ferrari could not have started the 2016 season of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) any better. The new 488 GTE won its début race with Davie Rigon and Sam Bird, while Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni and James Calado finished in second place thanks to their skill, the performance of the new car, but also the bad luck and strategic mistakes of their competitors. Perfect start also for the 458 Italia which competed in the GTE-Am class with François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, and Rui Aguas, getting their second win in the WEC.
GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class, the race started with Rigon leaping out from the pole on car No. 71, and Bruni, on car 51, facing a comeback after a technical issue during qualifying relegated him to the back of the grid. Rigon started to increase his lead on the pack, while Bruni climbed to 4th place. At that point, the race director called him back to the pits to wait out the stop&go required to change the engine. The first two hours of the race went by without problems and, also thanks to an excellent stint by Sam Bird, car 71 gained precious seconds on the Porsche 77, which was a constant threat until a suspension failure put it out of contention. At the turn of the third hour, Rigon on car 71 was ahead to the Aston Martin 95, the two Ford, and Bruni’s 488 GTE. Shortly after, Nakajima’s Toyota spread much debris on the track, forcing the race director to call in the safety car. Bruni’s car No. 51 benefited largely from this and made up without difficulty the one minute gap that separated it from the Fords. After the pit stop, Calado came close to the American cars and overtook them, even too easily. On the final part, Bruni decided not to change tyres and was thus able to come out ahead of the Aston Martin 95 at the last pit stop. This is the first WEC win for Davide Rigon, while for Sam Bird it is the first with Ferrari.
GTE-Am. In class GTE-Am, the 458 Italia of AF Corse team driven by Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo and Rui Aguas (the only Ferrari in the field) was the star of the race. Collard completed some excellent stints that took the car into the lead, immediately starting a struggle with the Porsche number 88 of Al Qubaisi-Heinemeier Hansson-Bachler. In the final part, the strategy chosen by the AF Corse team combined with the withdrawal of the Porsche resulted in the best possible start the season for the trio. The next race is scheduled at Spa-Francorchamps for 7 May, and will be the last one before the 24 Hours of Le Mans scheduled in June.
Silverstone, 16 April – Two sides qualifying for the new 488 GTE which captured the pole position in its début race with Sam Bird and Davide Rigon on AF Corse car No. 71, while crew number 51 of Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni and James Calado will start from the back of the grid due to a technical problem. Difficult session for the 458 Italia number 83 of AF Corse, competing in the GTE-Am class, which qualified in fifth place. It should be noted that driving rain and even snow falling on the track characterised the morning free practice, skipped by almost all racers.
GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class, James Calado and Davide Rigon, who last year were teammates on the 458 Italia number 71, took the first shift on cars 51 and 71 respectively. James clocked 2’11”764 in the first lap and then lowered the time to 2’11”589 on the following lap. Davide started out more cautiously, at 2’12”991, but chipped away over a second on the next lap: 2’11”900. The two cars then came into the box to change drivers: Bruni took the controls of the 488 GTE number 51, while Rigon passed the wheel to Bird. The English driver, in his first race on wet surface with a GT car, clocked 2’12”981 and was unable to improve on it. However the resulting overall time of 2’12”440 was enough for first place. On the other side of the garage “Gimmi” on car number 51, experienced a technical problem, which is yet to be analysed, but which led the team to call the car back to the box as a precaution. As Bruni did not record a qualifying time, car number 51 will start from the back of the grid.
GTE-Am. In GTE-Am class, the 458 Italia of AF Corse team driven by Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo and Rui Aguas (the only Ferrari in the field) did not have an easy session. Collard went off the wet track immediately at turn number 4 and had to go back to the box to have the car checked. Later the crew was found to have exceeded the speed limit in the pit lane and its final overall time was therefore set at 2’20”131, which put the car in fifth place on the grid. The 6 Hours of Silverstone, first race of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), will start at 12 local time (1 p.m. CET).
Silverstone, 15 April 2016 – Sam Bird invite us to his new very fast office, the cockpit of his all-new Ferrari 488 GTE, ahead of Round 1 of the FIA WEC, World Endurance Championship in Silverstone. Sam takes viewers inside the car as he describe the features of the new turbo engined Prancing Horse car.
European debut. The Ferrari 488 GTE will make its European competition debut in Silverstone this weekend, with two cars courtesy of AF Corse team. Sam will drive the no. 71 car along with Davide Rigon.
Eight more races. There are two free practice sessions scheduled for Friday at 12:15 and 16.30, while qualifying will be on Saturday with the 6 Hours of Silverstone to start at noon on Sunday. Eight more races will follow this season, with the third round of the year being the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most important race of the season.
Maranello, 13 April – This weekend marks the start of the 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC), which sees the European debut of the Ferrari 488 GTE. The season includes nine events with the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-June obviously the most important.
Tighter battles. The Head of Ferrari Attività Sportive GT, Antonello Coletta, gave his take on the season: “2016 is very important for us. The Silverstone race will see the European debut of the 488 GTE, the brand new turbo engine car, and our aim is to do well right from the start. We would like to begin the championship like last year, with a victory, even though we hope above all to conclude it differently with a title win.” The WEC has a new manufacturer in the GTE-Pro class so we can now expect even tighter battles: “It’s good for the championship, and for us, because it will give added value to our results.”
Italo-British crews. There will be four official Ferrari drivers, once again under the banner of the AF Corse team. Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni needed a new teammate given that Toni Vilander is moving to America to race the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione along with Giancarlo Fisichella: “James Calado has joined the legendary crew of car no. 51 after two extremely positive seasons, especially the last, and we expect a lot from him.” This has also meant a change for car no. 71: “Here we have a new entry, the 2015 LMP2 class world champion Sam Bird, an official Ferrari driver for the first time, even though he competed for Maranello on two previous occasions in 2014 in the car of a Gentleman driver. Sam will team up with Davide Rigon.” The 6 Hours of Silverstone will start on Sunday at 1 pm CET (12 pm BST).