Bird says Ferrari WEC drive a "dream come true"

New Ferrari GT factory driver Sam Bird says landing a drive with the Italian marque is a dream come true.

Bird will share the #71 Ferrari 488 GTE with Davide Rigon in the World Enduance Championship this season.

"To become a fully-fledged Ferrari factory driver is not only an honour but also a dream come true," Bird told Motorsport.com.

"You know, when I was a little boy I had a big Prancing Horse flag in my bedroom and I used to gaze at it endlessly. Now I will have that iconic emblem on my race suit and I will wear it with pride.

"To be associated with it and with the whole is very special."

Bird is believed to be getting his first taste of the new 488 GTE this month and will embark on more tests throughout the pre-season.

"I haven't driven the 488 yet so my knowledge is limited, but I can't wait to test it," he said.

The Briton, who along with teammates Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal sealed the LMP2 WEC title in Bahrain last November, completed the deal with Ferrari despite interest from the Toyota LMP1 squad.

Motorsport.com understands that the Japanese manufacturer was impressed with Bird during his test, which took place immediately after the Bahrain WEC finale, but will only make a decision on its official reserve driver following a shoot-out test next month.

Bird is believed to have had an offer from Ferrari as early as last autumn.

"There were many reasons for me taking this opportunity and one of them is that I already worked with and knew the team," said Bird. "I really loved working with them in 2014.

"It is a great family atmosphere and the spirit is unrivalled. I think the people are what make any team and at Ferrari and AF Corse there is a really good and talented group.

"The leadership of Antonello [Coletta] and Amato [Ferrari] and the merits of the other three drivers in the WEC squad mean that we have a great team to mount an attack."

Bird, who had raced for AF Corse in 2014, will switch to the LMGTE Pro class in 2016, but told Motorsport.com that his season in LMP2 will stand him in good stead for the coming year.

"I think I have learned my lessons last year with regards to how to race well in endurance racing and I really took everything in. I think I can use the experience well from last season.

"It will be another race car I will have to get to know and it will be different race craft [to LMP2] but I am more than up for the challenge.

"I think the LMGTE Pro category is at an all-time high this season and it will be a very exciting year."

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Sam Bird
Teams Ferrari
Article type Interview