The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza hosts the first round of the GT World Challenge Europe – Endurance Cup, with two Ferrari 296 GT3s and one 488 GT3 Evo 2020. Seven Prancing Horse official drivers will take part in the event, contested over 5.793 kilometres at Italy’s Temple of Speed. The three-hour race will kick off on Sunday, 23 April, at 3 p.m. (local time).
Pro Class. With a starting grid of 55 crews, the GT WC Europe Endurance Cup is a major showcase for production-derived cars. Two Ferrari 296 GT3s from Francorchamps Motors AF Corse team will compete in the main class, for professional drivers, both driven by Maranello official drivers. In car number 51, Robert Shwartzman makes his debut in closed-wheel racing, sharing the cockpit with Nicklas Nielsen, also at the wheel of the 499P Hypercar in this season’s FIA WEC, and Alessio Rovera. The young trio forms a new team: the 23-year-old Shwartzman, who came up through the ranks of the Ferrari Driver Academy, will compete in the SRO-promoted series while remaining a Formula 1 Scuderia reserve driver. Two endurance racing specialists from Denmark and Varese will race alongside him.
After winning the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Europe in 2018, Nielsen has chalked up 51 victories in GT cars and prototypes, claiming seven titles. The most recent is the drivers’ victory in the LMP2 Pro-Am class of the FIA Endurance Trophy achieved alongside Rovera, who will race the new 296 GT3 in this year’s major events. For the driver from Varese, the Lombardy race follows just a few days after his runner-up position in the LMGTE Am class at the 6 Hours of Portimão in a 488 GTE.
Sporting the number 71 on its livery, the Ferrari 296 GT3 of fhe Francorchamps Motors AF Corse team, crewed by Antonio Fuoco, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Davide Rigon, hopes to play a leading role. In the 2023 season, the first two drivers also line up in the FIA WEC with the Maranello Hypercar, where Fuoco secured pole position in the Sebring debut, finishing on the podium in both rounds. With 290 races, 52 victories and 118 podiums under his belt, Pier Guidi will enter the GTWC Europe as one to watch after claiming the Pro Cup title in 2021 at the end of a championship in which he also won the 24 Hours of Spa. The 39-year-old driver will take part in the Monza round, replacing Daniel Serra, who is competing in the Stock Car championship in Brazil over the weekend.
Rigon completes the crew. He will also drive in the four IMSA endurance races in 2023: after Daytona and Sebring, already run, Watkins Glen and the Petit Le Mans, where the Venetian driver will team up with Serra.
Other classes. AF Corse’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020 number 52 rounds off the trio of Ferraris in the Bronze category, featuring professional and gentlemen driver crews. After celebrating his tenth career title in 2022 with Louis Machiels (triumphing in the Pro-Am class of the Endurance Cup), Andrea Bertolini returns to the same championship, still sharing the car with Louis and Jef Machiels.
The calendar. After Monza, the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup will stop at Paul Ricard (4 June), Spa for the 24 Hours (1-2 July), the Nürburgring (30 July) and Barcelona (1 October).