Four Prancing Horse entries line up at the Nürburgring for the fourth round of the GT World Challenge Europe – Endurance Cup 2023, which returns to the spotlight on the German track after a year’s absence from the European series calendar. On the starting line will be the AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors team-run Ferrari 296 GT3s in the Pro class with two crews made up of official drivers from the Maranello manufacturer, as well as the 296 GT3s belonging to AF Corse and ST Racing with Rinaldi in the Bronze and Pro-Am classes respectively. The three-hour race, which takes place on the 5.137-kilometre GP track, gets underway on Sunday, 30 July at 2.45 p.m. local time, with 54 crews entered.
Pro Class. The category for teams with professional drivers will feature the AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors-managed 296 GT3 cars on the starting grid in the red and yellow livery. In the number 71 Ferrari, official drivers Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon and Antonio Fuoco will go in search of a noteworthy result in a bid to climb the Endurance Cup drivers’ standings, which currently sees them in 12th place, by virtue of the 15 points gained with 5th and 11th place respectively at the Paul Ricard 1000 kilometres and the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in rounds two and three of the season.
The number 51 “twin” entry with Alessio Rovera, Robert Shwartzman and Nicklas Nielsen – 15th in the standings on 10 points – will be aiming to get back to a place in the points zone. The best result to date of the first season in which Rovera and Nielsen – already winners of several international titles together – are competing with GT debutant Shwartzman was seventh place at Le Castellet and in Monza.
Other classes. The new AF Corse 296 GT3, driven by father-and-son duo Louis and Jef Machiels, makes its debut in the Endurance Cup, with official Ferrari driver Andrea Bertolini. After making its debut at Misano, at the recent round in the Sprint Cup of the GT WC Europe, the car with number 52 on its livery will once again make an appearance in the endurance competition. The crew, at the wheel of the 488 GT3 Evo 2020, arrives in Germany after a sixth place at the 24 Hours of Spa and a podium at Paul Ricard, earning 32 points and eighth place in the Bronze class drivers' standings.
Rounding out the Prancing Horse presence will be the number 38 296 GT3 of ST Racing with Rinaldi, driven by Isaac Tutumlu, Samantha Tan and Jon Miller, who participate in the championship in the Pro-Am class with the crew that took second place at Le Castellet.
History. The 3 Hours of Nürburgring is set to take place on the 5.137-kilometre, 16-turn track known as the “Gp-Strecke”. The circuit was inaugurated in the 1980s. For the eighth time, the facility will be home to the GT WC Europe endurance race.
At the Nürburgring, on the track combining the GP track and the Nordschleife with a total length of over 25 kilometres, Ferrari won the 24 Hours – for the first time in history – last May with the Frikadelli Racing Team-run 296 GT3, with David Pittard, Felipe Laser, Nick Catsburg and Earl Bamber crossing the finish line first after 162 laps. In the same race, the 296 GT3 of the WTM by Rinaldi Racing team triumphed in the SP9 Pro Am class with Leonard Weiss, Jochen Krumbach, Daniel Keilwitz and Indy Dontje.
The programme. The sixth round of the GT WC Europe, the fourth round of the Endurance Cup, will get underway on Saturday 29 July with free practice from 8.30 to 10 a.m. and pre-qualifying from 12.25 to 1.55 p.m.; on Sunday 30 July, qualifying will be from 8.45 to 9.45 a.m., to determine the starting grid for the 3 Hours, which kicks off at 2.45 p.m. (all times are local).