France’s Paul Ricard Circuit will host round one of the GT World Challenge Europe – Endurance Cup with seven Ferrari 296 GT3s and five official Prancing Horse drivers at the start. The three-hour race at the 5.771-kilometre Le Castellet Circuit will kick off on Sunday, 7 April, at 3 p.m. local time.

Pro Class. AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors will take part with two cars in the professional drivers-only category. The 296 GT3 number 51 line-up features Maranello’s official drivers, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon, and Alessio Rovera. In the “sister” 296 GT3 number 71, Vincent Abril and David Vidales flank Thomas Neubauer, who debuts as an official driver.

Bronze Class. The Prancing Horse’s Development Driver, Andrea Bertolini, will compete in the GT WC for the second consecutive year, alongside Louis and Jef Machiels at the wheel of the AF Corse team’s 296 GT3 number 52.

Four other Ferraris appear in the same Bronze class for professional and gentlemen drivers’ crews. Kessel Racing will enter cars number 8 and 74, crewed by Nicolò Rosi-Niccolò Schirò-David Fumanelli and John Hartshorne-Ben Tuck-Matthew Bell. Sky Tempesta Racing will field with the 296 GT3 number 93, with Christopher Froggatt, Jonathan Hui, and Eddie Cheever III. Rinaldi Racing will compete with the number 333 shared by Christian Hook, Felipe Fernandez Laser, and David Perel.

Facts and figures. Pier Guidi, a three-time world champion in the LMGTE Pro class of the FIA WEC and winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2023 with the Ferrari 499P, is set for a full season in the GT World Challenge Europe. He secured two Endurance Cup titles in this competition in 2020 and 2021. The 40-year-old driver boasts three victories at the 24 Hours of Spa, with wins in 2012 and 2015 in the Pro-Am class and overall victory in 2021.

The Italian crew of the 296 GT3 number 51 includes Rigon, who won the 24 Hours of Daytona 2024 in GTD Pro class (with Pier Guidi, Daniel Serra, and James Calado), and Alessio Rovera, who triumphed in the final race of last season’s GT WC Europe in Barcelona with Nicklas Nielsen and Robert Shwartzman.

The GT WC Europe season features four drivers at the wheel of the 296 GT3s, all with distinguished histories in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. The Frenchman Thomas Neubauer makes his race debut as a Prancing Horse official driver. Over five seasons, Neubauer has registered 34 starts in the one-make series, culminating in his Trofeo Pirelli championship title triumph at the 2022 Finali Mondiali. In two seasons (2019, 2021), the Italian Niccolò Schirò racked up 25 races with ten victories; the Swiss Nicolò Rosi has 47 races under his belt with two wins; David Fumanelli won at Monza in 2018 and was runner-up in the Trofeo Pirelli at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali on the same track (the title went to Nicklas Nielsen).

The programme. The track action will begin on Friday, 5 April, with the Bronze Test, from 4.20 p.m., and continue on Saturday, 6, with Free Practice, from 9 to 11 a.m., and Pre-Qualifying, from 3.05 to 4.05 p.m. On Sunday, 7 April, the three qualifying sessions to decide the starting line-up will start at 9.45 a.m. local time. The race itself gets underway at 3 p.m. local time.

The calendar. The GT World Challenge Europe – Endurance Cup comprises five rounds, four of which are held in Europe and one in the Middle East. Following the Paul Ricard round, the series continues with the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on 29-30 June, the 3 Hours of Nürburgring in Germany on 28 July, and the Monza race in Italy on 22 September. It concludes with the 6 Hours of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on 23 November.

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