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Ferrari WEC GT drivers prepare for Hypercar era with LMP2 test

Several members of Ferrari's GTE stable in the FIA World Endurance Championship drivers recently took part in a test with an Oreca LMP2 car with a view to preparing them for the forthcoming Hypercar era.

#83 AF Corse Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen, Alessio Rovera

The Italian marque teased an image of its hotly-anticipated 2023 Le Mans Hypercar ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours earlier this month, and is planning to begin testing with the as-yet unnamed machine next month at in-house test venue Fiorano.

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In anticipation of that, Ferrari gave a number of its current WEC GT stable a taste of prototype machinery in a two-day test with an AF Corse-run Oreca 07-Gibson at Vallelunga in the week leading up to the Le Mans test day, as first reported by French outlet Endurance-Info.

GTE Pro full-timers James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina were joined by Davide Rigon and two drivers who race the AF Corse Oreca full-time in the WEC’s LMP2 division, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera.

Ferrari has yet to announce who will be part of its Hypercar driver line-up in the WEC next year, but is likely to use at least some of its current GT talent.

“It was just to get us up to speed with a bit more downforce, better brakes again, ready for when we start with the Hypercar,” Calado told Motorsport.com about the test. “Within a few laps we were all on the pace. 

“I spent most of my career in cars with downforce and you never really forget. It’s a different feeling at first, but then it soon feels normal and within a few laps you can reach the limit. 

“All of us were happy with how the test went and we’re all looking forward to the final reveal of the Hypercar.”

 

Fuoco, who joined the Ferrari GTE Pro stable only this year, told Motorsport.com: “It was a bit different from the GT car, but already in 2021 I did [the Rolex 24 at] Daytona with the LMP2, so I had some experience with that type of car. 

“In terms of driving and everything, it’s still quite similar somehow. You always have to adapt your driving style. But with more downforce I felt more comfortable.”

Calado, who finished second at Le Mans alongside Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra, wouldn’t be drawn on whether the test means he will definitely be a part of Ferrari’s two-car Hypercar line-up for the 2023 season.

“The decision is down to Antonello [Coletta, Ferrari GT Competizione boss], where he feels we should be as drivers,” said the Briton. “Either way I’m proud to be part of Ferrari and the team, there’s been a lot of development work going on behind the scenes. 

“He’ll make the right decision and we just accept whatever is given to us.”

Fuoco, who combines his Ferrari WEC drive with a simulator role for the marque’s Formula 1 team, added: “I’m still quite young but to be part of this family, you need to do your best every day, you have to be really professional because it’s a really professional team. 

“I’ve been here a long time already, so I really hope I can stay here for even more time than I’ve already been here.”

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