samedi 9 juillet 2016
The season so far in FIA WEC GTE-Pro before the Nürburgring
The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be held at the legendary Nürburgring in Germany. The fourth event of the 2016 season will be the final race in Europe for the premier global sportscar series.
In the previous three rounds there were some great battles in all four classes including the GTE-Pro one. Here is a complete round-up of the Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans 24 Hours races.
Round 1 - Silverstone
The 2016 FIA WEC season kicked off at Silverstone with seven cars competing in the GTE-Pro class. Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin were joined by the new comers from Ford.
Pole position went to the brand new Ferrari 488 GTE with James Calado and Sam Bird sharing the #71 car. The two AF Corse drivers dominated the event and won the six-hour race on Sunday ahead of their team-mates Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado who started from the back of the pack with the #51 Ferrari .
The class podium was completed by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen, Darren Turner with the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE from Aston Martin Racing.
The new Ford GTs ended the British event in positions four and five ahead of sixth placed semi-works Porsche 911 RSR from Dempsey Proton Racing.
Round 2 - Spa-Francorchamps
As always in FIA WEC, the second round of the season was held in Belgium and the demanding Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
As was the case at Silverstone, GTE-Pro pole position went to Davide Rigon and Sam Bird again with the #71 Ferrari 488 GTE from AF Corse.
On race day the Ferraris were the quickest in the field and were on their way to score a second straight 1-2 win. However with just nine minutes remaining the leading #51 Ferrari 488 GTE of James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni was forced to retire with techincal issues. That gave the GTE-Pro victory to Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.
Ford took its first ever podium in FIA WEC with Marino Franchitti, Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell at the wheel of the #67 Ford GT from Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK.
Third place went to Richie Stanaway, Jonathan Adam and Fernando Rees sharing the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE from Aston Martin Racing.
Round 3 - Le Mans 24 Hours
The Circuit de La Sarthe played host to the third race of the season. The FIA WEC regulars were joined by a great selection of teams coming from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA took GTE-Pro pole position with Dirk Muller, Joey Hand and Sébastien Bourdais driving the #68 Ford GT
The FIA WEC teams battled hard and challenged for the class victory but were really unlucky. At the end of a demanding a fought 24-hour event, the IMSA teams locked-up the GTE-Pro podium. Race victory went to Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA with Dirk Muller, Joey Hand and Sébastien Bourdais. Risi Competizione was second with the #82 Ferrari 488 GTE ahead of the #69 Ford GT from Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA.
Best of the FIA WEC cars was fourth, the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #66 Ford GT of Olivier Pla, Stefan Mucke and Billy Johnson. Aston Martin Racing had a solid race, Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Darren Turner were fifth with the #95 Vantage GTE ahead of the sister #97 Aston driven by Richie Stanaway, Jonathan Adam and Fernando Rees in sixth place.
A frustrating event for AF Corse in GTE-Pro as both of their Ferrari 488 GTEs did not finish the race.
After Le Mans 24 Hours, Aston Martin leads the GT manufacturers' championship standing with 112 points ahead of Ferrari with 102 points, Ford with 98 points and Porsche with 60 points.
Ford's Olivier Pla, Stefan Mucke and Billy Johnson are leading the GT drivers' standing with 60 points ahead of Ferrari's Davide Rigon and Sam Bird with 52 points each, while Aston Martin's Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Darren Turner are third with 51 points each.
Photos: FIA WEC / Adrenal Media