David Tonizza, Kamil Pawlowski, the returning Giovanni De Salvo and, making his debut with the team Danilo Santoro gave it their best shot in the Bathurst 12 Hours, the first round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Endurance Series, but in the end, the Scuderia Ferrari Velas Esports Team could do no better than ninth place. There were too many tricky aspects and obstacles to overcome, including a BOP (Balance of Performance) that was definitely excessive for the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.
Disadvantaged. The Scuderia Ferrari Velas Esports Team definitely had a competitive line up, featuring the GT World Challenge Esports Endurance Series champions, Tonizza and De Salvo, the latter back after missing some races and now available part-time while fitting in university obligations, as well as Pawloski. Also on board as a new team member, Danilo Santoro, previously a sim racer with the Jean Alesi Esports Academy, with Ferrari wanting to evaluate him ina series of SRO championship races. But the BOP was just too severe for the team to aim for its usual targets of wins and podium finishes. The Ferrari 488 had to carry 20 kg of ballast, plus have its fuel capacity reduced to 110 litres, which meant that in order to finish, the team had a run a less aggressive engine mapping to avoid having to refuel one time more than its rivals. Pawloski gave it his best shot in qualifying, to secure tenth place, but it was clear that the demanding 12 hour race would be a struggle.
Early stages Tonizza held his position after the start and in the first two stints, the car made up two places to be eighth. In the third one, with De Salvo at the wheel, the number 51 car was hit by a Honda backmarker and lost over two and a half minutes being repaired. Moving forward was tough given that the 488 had dropped to 32nd place.
Fight back. At this point, De Salvo, Santoro and company begin to push flat-out managing to get back to an honourable 11th place at half-distance. Tonizza and Pawlowski carried on the good work, getting as high as seventh. But the fast pace meant the car required an extra refuelling stop to get to the flag and so the Ferrari lost two places, finishing ninth, two laps behind the Lamborghini of Jordan Sherratt, Gianfranco Giglioli and Giorgio Simonini. The next round takes place on 18 June at Spa-Francorchamps.