Sebring, 15 March 2019 – The 1000 Miles of Sebring qualifying session, valid to set the grid for the first 2019 Super Season World Endurance Championship race, was difficult for the Ferraris. The red flag was waved near the halfway mark of the session, due to an accident that involved the Clearwater Racing 488 GTE no. 61 driven by Luis Perez Companc, affecting the outcome for the two cars in the GTE-Pro class. The 488 GTE no. 71 will start from the sixth position on the grid, while the 51 from the ninth.
GTE-Pro. Alessandro Pier Guidi and Davide Rigon started the session and had to face with a track that was offering very low grip after the IMSA third free practice session. The world champion clocked 1:58.077 while Rigon set his best time in 1:57.464. The two Italian drivers handed over to the English teammates James Calado and Sam Bird. After the red flag, the two AF Corse Ferraris stopped the clock at 1:58.388 with Calado and 1:58.413 with Sam Bird. The combined average of times qualified the car no. 71 sixth on the grid (1:57.938), while the car no. 51 in ninth position (1:58.232). In the race, Daniel Serra will take the wheel with Pier Guidi and Calado, while Rigon and Bird will be paired with Miguel Molina. The fastest lap went to the Porsche no. 92 driven by Christensen-Estre.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am class, Spirit of Race no. 54 was the best of the Ferraris, with Giancarlo Fisichella (1:59.262) and Thomas Flohr (2:01.455) qualifying fourth with an overall time of 2:00.358. The MR Racing 488 GT3 no. 70 will set off from seventh with a time of 2:01.650, qualified by Olivier Beretta and Motoaki Ishikawa. Last spot on the grid for the third Ferrari taking part in the race, the Clearwater Racing no. 61 car. After the driver change, with Luis Perez Companc at the wheel, the car went off the track and against the barriers. Previously, his teammate Matthew Griffin set a best time of 1:59.396. For this race also, each crews will be reinforced by a third driver: on the no. 54 Francesco Castellacci will be behind the wheel, Matteo Cressoni on the no. 61 and Eddie Cheever III on the no. 71.
Race. The 1000 Miles of Sebring will start tomorrow at 4.00 pm local time.
Sebring (Florida), 13 March 2019 – The second free practice session at Sebring began after sunset. At least half the race will also be held in the dark. Again, the technicians and engineers sought to optimise performance ahead of the race, without focusing too much on the times. However, the Ferraris made significant progress in the standings from the first session.
Fine-tuning and pace. In the LM GTE Pro class, the crew of car no. 51 set the fourth fastest time with good results also in terms of race pace. The trio of Pier Guidi, Calado and Serra covered 33 laps, with eight pit stops, further refining the set up and changing drivers. The 488 GTE Evo of Bird, Rigon and Molina were eighth fastest, improving the set-up of car no. 71 on the Sebring track. The Aston Martin of Alexander Lynn and Maxime Martin clocked the best time.
Progress in Am. Ferrari crews once again finished among the leaders in the LM GTE AM class, at the end of the 90-minute second free practice session. Flohr, Castellacci, and Fisichella finished second for Spirit of Race after 37 laps, improving on the afternoon session. The 488 GTE no. 70 of Ishikawa, Beretta and Cheever III also completed 37 laps, finishing sixth in the standings, while the third Ferrari, the no. 61 of Clearwater Racing crewed by Perez Companc, Cressoni, and Griffin, closed the session in fourth, after 34 laps. The Porsche of Mainwright, Barker and Preining recorded the fastest lap.
The third free practice session is on Friday at 4.15 pm local time, while the qualifying session is scheduled for 9.30 pm.
Sebring (Florida), 13 March 2019 – In the first free practice session this morning at Sebring, the technicians and engineers focused, as usual, on preparing the car for the race. While there is a danger of rain on Friday, especially in the final stages, today the weather was excellent, with sunshine, high temperatures and a strong wind that was felt especially along the circuit’s long straights.
Set-up and uneven surface. A great deal of work went into the car set-up, to limit the effects of this track’s characteristic unevenness. The ninth and eleventh places in the LM GTE Pro class of car no. 51 of James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra and no. 71 with Sam Bird, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina’s, are no cause for concern. The two 488 GTE Evos were among the cars that completed the most laps, 67 in the one hour and thirty-minute session. The Aston Martin of Alexander Lynn and Maxime Martin clocked the fastest time.
Competitive in AM. In the LM GTE Am class too, the teams devoted a lot of time and attention to fine-tuning the car, although in this case, the Ferraris ended up in the leading positions. The 488 GTE no. 61 of Clearwater Racing with Luis Perez Companc, Matteo Cressoni and Matthew Griffin closed the session in fourth place, while the no. 54 of Spirit of Race, driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr finished sixth. Then came the last of the Ferraris on track, the no. 70 of MR Racing, with Motoaki Ishikawa, Olivier Beretta and Edward Cheever III. The Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda was fastest at the end of the session.
Maranello, 11 March 2019 – The FIA World Endurance Championship’s Super Season 2018-19 returns to the track at Sebring, Florida, from 13 to 15 March. Five Ferraris are ready to race, three in the GTE-Am class and two in the GTE-Pro.
GTE-Pro. Ferrari has often been the car to beat at the historic Sebring circuit, one of the most demanding test benches for men and machines due to the nature of the track and the very rough asphalt even in the straights.
After a problematic 6 Hours of Shanghai, afflicted by lousy weather, the 488 GTEs are looking to come back even without any changes to the punishing Balance of Performance (BoP) that hampered them in China. The Brazilian Daniel Serra will take the wheel of AF Corse no. 51 alongside James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, while car no. 71, like in the last Le Mans 24 Hours, will be crewed by Spaniard Miguel Molina, together with Sam Bird and Davide Rigon.
GTE-Am. The Maranello-based company will be gunning for victory in the GTE-Am class with three entries. The tried and tested crew of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Giancarlo Fisichella, dominant in mid-race at Shanghai, will drive the Ferrari 488 GTE no. 54 of Spirit of Race. A new crew of Matteo Cressoni, Matt Griffin and Luis Perez Companc will take charge of Clearwater Racing’s car no. 61, while the trio behind the wheel of no. 70 of MR Racing, of Olivier Beretta, Eddie Cheever III and Motoaki Ishikawa, remains the same.
Programme. The qualifying sessions for the GTE class are scheduled for 9:30 pm on Thursday (02:30 am on Friday in Italy). The race will start at 4 pm on Friday and will end eight hours later.