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    Weekend preview: winning ambitions in Europe and Asia

    Weekend preview: winning ambitions in Europe and Asia

    Maranello 14 luglio 2023

    A busy weekend for the Ferraris involved at circuits across Europe and Asia. It’s a double-header at Le Castellet, where the 488 GTEs will race in the European Le Mans Series and the 296 GT3s in the Le Mans Cup. The Maranello manufacturer’s newest race car will also be fielded by various teams on Italy’s Misano circuit in the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup. Finally, in Japan, in conjunction with the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Japan, the 488 GT3 Evo 2020s will also take to the track in the GT World Challenge Asia.

    ELMS. After a long break, due to the cancellation of the date at Imola, the European Le Mans Series returns for the second round of the season, with the Le Castellet leg. The track located in the south of France is a regular fixture in the series and has been in the calendar since 2013.

    There will be a 12-strong field in the LMGTE class, featuring five Ferrari 488 GTEs. Among them will be Formula Racing’s number 50: alongside father-son duo Johnny and Conrad Laursen, in place of Mikkel Mac – who is in the crew in Barcelona – will be Nicklas Nielsen. The Dane, a Ferrari official driver, is fresh off the back of a runner-up spot in last Sunday’s Monza 6 Hours – a leg of the FIA WEC – in the number 50 499P, alongside teammates Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina. Laursen is second in the standings, just two points behind the leader. Third in the standings, on 16, are Martin Berry, Lorcan Hanafin and Jon Lancaster in the number 66 JMW Motorsport entry.

    With winning ambitions and looking for a fifth triumph at Le Castellet will be Matt Griffin, who will race in the number 55 Spirit of Race-run Ferrari together with South African David Perel and Duncan Cameron, who in turn has three triumphs on the winners’ list at the French track.

    Also lining up will be the number 51 Ferrari of AF Corse with Kriton Lendoudis, Rui Aguas and Ulysse De Pauw and the number 57 of Kessel Racing with Takeshi Kimura, Gregory Huffaker II and Frederik Schandorff.

    The programme includes free practice on Friday 14 July, then qualifying on Saturday at 2.30 p.m., with the four-hour race getting underway at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday.

    GT World Challenge Europe. Four Ferrari 296 GT3s will take the start for the second round of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup, which takes place at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, which is hosting a leg of the series for the ninth time. The track in the Romagna region has been a regular feature in the calendar since 2015.

    There will be two cars fielded by Emil Frey Racing: the number 14 with Konsta Lappalainen and Giacomo Altoè, who occupy fifth place in the standings, as well as the number 69 with Albert Costa and Thierry Vermeulen. For AF Corse, at the wheel of the number 71 will be Sean Hudspeth and 20-year-old Nicola Marinangeli, while in the number 52 the experienced Andrea Bertolini will be accompanied by Louis Machiels.

    The event kicks off on Friday with free practice, followed by pre-qualifying from 3.20 p.m. to 4.40 p.m. Saturday’s Qualifying-1 will be held from 9.20 a.m. to 9.40 a.m. while the green light for Race-1 will be at 2 p.m. ending at 3 p.m. Sunday will feature qualifying for Race-2 at 9 a.m., with the race itself set to start at 2 p.m. and finish at 3 p.m.

    Le Mans Cup. After the excitement of the two 55-minute races at the Circuit de La Sarthe over the weekend of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Le Mans Cup returns to its usual format with a 110-minute race. Hosting the third round of the series will be the Le Castellet circuit on 14-15 July.

    It’s tight at the top of the standings, with the first five all bunched within twenty points. Hiroshi Koizumi and Kei Cozzolino will be at the wheel of the number 51 AF Corse-run Ferrari 296 GT3, third in the standings on 22 points. The team from Piacenza will also field a second Ferrari, number 83, with the two drivers Emmanuel Collard and Charles-Henri Samani determined to do well on home soil.

    The programme includes free practice 1 and 2 on 14 July, with qualifying the following day from 12.25 to 12.40 p.m., and the 110-minute race kicking off at 5.10 p.m.

    GT World Challenge Asia. The third leg of the GT World Challenge Asia will be held at the Suzuka International Circuit in conjunction with the fourth round of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Japan.

    Three Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s are on the entry list for this round. The number 7 of the Comet Racing team with Yusuke Yamasaki and Yorikatsu Tsujiko will race in the GT3 Am class, while the number 60 of LMcorsa with Kei Nakanishi and Shigekazu Wakisaka will take part in the GT3 Pro Am class. Both crews are also entered in the Japan Cup. The third Ferrari, number 555, will be driven by the Maezawa Racing team with Thailand’s Piti Bhirombhakdi and Japan’s Naoki Yokomizo (GT3 Pro Am).

    Friday is reserved for free practice, while on Saturday 15 July, qualifying for the GT3s is scheduled from 9.52 to 10.29 a.m. and Race-1 from 2.20 to 3.25 p.m. Sunday sees Race-2 from 11.30 a.m. to 12.35 p.m.

    All times are local.

    14 luglio, 2023