Riding a perfect season in GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, Ferrari has accumulated enough points to capture the 2021 Am class championship.
Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald, drivers of the AF Corse No. 61 Cambridge Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, have swept both races at Sonoma Raceway, Circuit of The Americas, Virginia International Raceway and the most recent event at Road America to tally 200 points, building an insurmountable margin over second place with three events remaining.
The team has put in long hours both at and away from the race tracks to overcome obstacles throughout the season, and that effort has paid major dividends.
The year opened with an accident in the opening practice at Sonoma that left the team’s primary car badly damaged but the team was able to implement repairs and the work paid off, with the repaired car winning both races.
“The car was perfect today,” Grunewald said after the opening race in the repaired car. “AF Corse obviously has a lot of experience setting these cars up, so when we showed up for qualifying it was perfect.”
The team then went to a brand-new Ferrari for Circuit of The Americas, and swept both the Texas and VIR races. With a lengthy break prior to Road America, AF Corse opted to work hard to prepare for the second half of the season.
“Luckily for us, the team has done a lot of testing during the long break since VIR, and it’s really helped Jean-Claude and myself to get the most out of this car and apply it here this weekend,” Grunewald said during the opening race at Road America. “The car was great and the team was great.”
After a late-race incident at Road America, another late night was in store for the team, with AF Corse working until 11 p.m. to get the spare car back into in race-ready condition. Saada ran second throughout his opening stint in the Sunday race and then the AF Corse team managed to get Grunewald into the lead during the pit window, and the Ferrari led the remainder of the race.
“It’s a Ferrari, so it’s good right out of the box,” Grunewald said. “This car has been sitting on the trailer for a while. The crew did the best they could to get everything together. It took J.C. a few laps, but once he got up to pace he did a perfect job. The pit stop was perfect. The team did an amazing job. They put in another late night, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Now I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen and the rest of the season.”
The season winds up with three races on circuits that have hosted Formula 1 races.
The Watkins Glen event runs on Sept. 18-19 at the historic circuit in the New York Finger Lakes, followed by a visit to Sebring for 90-minute races on Oct. 2-3. The season concludes with the Indianapolis 8 Hour, an Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Oct. 17. The GT World Challenge America competitors will run for double points during the opening three hours, and then have the option of competing without points for the final five hours.