In less than 20 years of history, Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit has carved out a prominent role in the motorsport scene. This is not just because it has hosted 19 Formula 1 Grands Prix since 2004. Surrounded by desert sands, the Bahrain International Circuit, 5.412 kilometres long and including 15 turns, has hosted many endurance races since it was built. The FIA WEC has had a leg there since the championship’s inception in 2012. Since then, Ferrari has racked up seven victories in the production-derived classes. After testing in Bahrain in September, the 499P will make its official race debut in the concluding round of the 2023 season.

The Prancing Horse’s seven victories with AF Corse team GTs stand out in the FIA World Endurance Championship roll of honour. It won the LMGTE Pro class in the 2012-14, 2017 and 2021-22 seasons, and the LMGTE Am in 2021. Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander were the first drivers to climb the top step of the podium when they drove the Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 to victory in the world championship edition of the 6 Hours of Bahrain. The Finn then won with the same car in the following two years, paired with Gianmaria Bruni. In 2017, the Ferrari 488 GTE of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird triumphed in the 6 Hours event in the Persian Gulf, ahead of teammates Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.

The last two seasons saw the Maranello manufacturer’s positive tradition at the Sakhir circuit renewed. In 2021, a year when Bahrain hosted the last two six- and eight-hour rounds of the FIA WEC, Ferrari bagged a one-two with victory in the final round of the season in both the LMGTE Pro – when Pier Guidi and Calado celebrated the Drivers’ title and contributed substantially to the Manufacturers’ winners’ laurel – and the LMGTE Am, with François Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera.

Finally, the thrilling 2022 eight-hour race went into the annals of motorsport. Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina celebrated at the chequered flag, clinching their first world championship title in the professional class, a result crucial for Ferrari’s second consecutive Manufacturers’ title.

Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado finished fifth. They led in the standings until the last two hours when a transmission problem in the 488 GTE obliged the Italian driver to use all his skills to finish the race in fifth gear. The team’s cool determination in identifying a strategy to complete the race yielded the crew the points Pier Guidi and Calado needed to win their second consecutive and third-ever World Drivers’ Championship.

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