The new season of the GT World Challenge Europe will kick off in Italy this weekend with the 3 Hours of Monza at the Autodromo Nazionale. Forty-four cars, representing nine different manufacturers, will line up for round one of the Endurance Cup.
After winning the title with Alessandro Pier Guidi at the end of the 1000 Km of Paul Ricard, the Prancing Horse will have at least one car in all three classes, Pro, Silver and Pro-Am. A total of seven 488 GT3 Evo 2020s will participate in the most competitive and spectacular GT3 championship, although only six of them will race at Monza.
Pro. Reigning champion Alessandro Pier Guidi will team up with official Ferrari Competizioni GT driver Nicklas Nielsen and Côme Ledogar, who he rejoins after competing with him in the final round of last season. The trio will crew the first of Iron Lynx’s two 488 GT3 Evo 2020s, making their series debut. The Italian team will field car no. 71 alongside no. 51. Davide Rigon will lead an all-new crew, including the Ferrari Driver Academy’s Callum Ilott, 2020 Formula 2 runner-up and Scuderia test driver, and Antonio Fuoco, Maranello team simulator driver and reigning Italian GT Endurance champion.
Silver. The Ferrari of Rinaldi Racing with Patrick Kujala, Benjamin Hítes has genuine hopes of victory in a class with thirteen cars. The Chilean Hites, who competed in the Ferrari Challenge North America will have a reliable and fast teammates in the Finn.
Pro-Am. Three Ferraris will take to the track, continuing the great tradition of Prancing Horse cars in this class. The 488 GT3 Evo 2020 no. 52 of AF Corse will be crewed by Competizioni GT official driver Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels, plus new teammate Lorenzo Bontempelli for the Italian round. The second car in the series, the no. 53 driven by Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, will not be at Monza due to the coincidence with the opening round of the European Le Mans Series. Sky Tempesta Racing has title ambitions and, after their Sprint Cup and Overall triumphs with Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III, will be chasing the winner’s laurels they just missed out on in 2020. The two will be joined on the Brianza track by Jonathan Hui with whom they usually compete in the Endurance Cup. However, Kessel Racing faces a new challenge on returning to the series after a gap of a few years. Francesco Zollo, Tim Kohmann and Giorgio Roda will tackle the almost 5800-metre circuit in car no. 11.
Virtual Novelty. One of the most interesting new features of the 2021 edition of the championship is the Esport GT Pro Series which, in concurrence with the Endurance Cup events, will allow drivers from teams entered in the Pro or Silver class to compete at the wheel of the “Assetto Corsa Simulazione” simulator. The top three in each class will win points to add to those of the real team ranking at the end of the season. The first race sets off on Saturday, at 7 pm.
Programme. The Monza weekend will officially start on Friday with testing for Bronze drivers, while on Saturday, there will be free practice and 90-minute pre-qualifying. After qualifying at 9 am on Sunday to decide the starting grid, the three-hour race will start at 3 pm.