Maranello, 1 May – Two weeks on from the curtain raiser in Silverstone, the World Endurance Championship is back in action for the second round of the season. And it’s time for another great circuit, Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps, which hosts the 6 Hour race on Saturday. In past endurance championships at this track, Ferrari has won ten times, with six outright victories and four class wins.
The Maranello marque first won an endurance event here thanks to Mike Hawthorn and Giuseppe Farina, who in 1953, the first year of the relevant world championship, won the 24 Hours at the wheel of a Ferrari 375 MM Pinin Farina Berlinetta officially entered by the Scuderia. The Ferrari finished ahead of two Jaguars who finished no less than 18 and 29 laps down!
But for even more convincing dominance one had to wait until 1963 when, over 500 kilometres, Ferrari would take a clean sweep of the top five places in the overall standings. Victory went to Belgium’s Willy Mairesse in a 250 GTO entered by Ecurie Francorchamps.
This year, AF Corse’s Ferrari number 51 is aiming to repeat its 2013 win, to immediately make up for the disappointing result at a wet Silverstone. Last year, victory in the LMGTE Pro class went to the driver pairing of “Gimmi” Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella. This year, Bruni shares car 51 with the Finn Toni Vilander, who finished third here a year ago in AF Corse’s 71 car with Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi. The very same Ferrari 458 will be on track this Saturday, in the hands of talented youngsters James Caladao and Davide Rigon.
There is one other Ferrari in Spa aiming to keep the crown it won last year. The 8 Star Motorsports 458 Italia won the LMGTE Am category with Enzo Potolicchio, Rui Aguas and Matteo Malucelli. This year, Potolicchio will again be at the wheel of car 90 but this time he shares it with Italians Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti. There are three AF Corse Ferraris taking part in this category: car 60 for Peter Mann, Raffaele Giammaria and Lorenzo Casé, number 61 with Luis Perez-Companc, Marco Cioci and Mirko Venturi and the 81 car of Steve Wyatt, Michele Rugolo and Andrea Bertolini.