Ferrari’s GT racing boss wants clear position on prototype commitment by end of year…
Ferrari remains “very focused” on pursuing a program at the top level of prototype racing and aims to have a board-level proposal in place by the end of the year should it decide to commit.
The head of Ferrari’s GT racing department, Antonello Coletta, has told Sportscar365 that the manufacturer is still looking with interest at the possibility of racing in the top class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and other major endurance races.
Ferrari, which currently has factory GTE involvement in the FIA World Endurance Championship, has been attracted to the LMDh global platform announced in January.
Earlier this year, Coletta said the company was interested in LMDh, which is based on four already-determined chassis constructors, but also stressed the need for a pure Ferrari product.
“Ferrari is very focused on the developments in the new top endurance category,” explained Coletta in a more recent update with Sportscar365.
“At the moment, there are still some adjustments pending for the technical regulations. Also, the sporting ones will be arriving shortly.
“We began with a technical analysis, evaluating the pros and cons of the technical regulations. At the end of the season [in November], we aim to be in a position to decide whether to try our hand in this category and in what configuration.
“We are conducting our evaluations now as I think all the competitors concerned are doing. We are waiting for the organizers to define all the regulations and to conclude our analysis.
“There are no proposals because we’re at the scouting stage. We will do it [make a board proposal] as soon as possible, by the end of the year.”
While Ferrari has appeared to be more interested in LMDh than LMH, Coletta admitted that it’s “still too early” to say which of the two available formulas is most attractive.
In May it was confirmed that the LMH technical regulations would be changed to align performance levels with the IMSA/WEC joint LMDh class, which will be eligible in both series from 2022.
This decision was made to ease the performance-balancing process between the formulas and to reduce costs in LMH, which unlike LMDh allows for an open chassis choice.
“We’re weighing up the pros and cons,” said Coletta.
“There have been changes in the technical specifications of the two configurations. Today it is still too early to say which would be more attractive.
“Obviously, Ferrari is a manufacturer, so it would like to produce cars in their entirety. The fact remains that it is still too early to say anything definitive.”
Coletta ruled out the likelihood of Ferrari pursuing a potentially cheaper interpretation of the LMH rules by adopting a chassis platform from an external provider and applying its own engine and other components onto the base package.
This approach has been put forward recently by Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Ginetta, with Ferrari referenced in name by the heads of both companies.
“If Ferrari were to decide to make an LMH car it would be very odd to take a chassis from elsewhere,” Coletta explained.
“Otherwise, it would mean racing in the LMDh configuration where the chassis is produced by four set manufacturers.
“If Ferrari were to take the LMH road, then it would build the car, because it has the means, skills and technology to do so.”
Health Crisis Shouldn’t Impact a Prototype Move
Coletta appeared to dismiss the suggestion that the coronavirus pandemic might cause a roadblock to Ferrari’s intentions of competing in the prototype ranks.
As part of its impact on motorsport, the global health crisis has also interrupted the flow of the prototype regulations’ development at a key stage when manufacturers are evaluating programs.
The LMDh technical rules were supposed to be unveiled at the canceled ‘Super Sebring’ event in March and were instead revealed two months later in a press release.
“There is no doubt that we are living through a different historical period, and it is changing the strategies of the various manufacturers,” said Coletta.
“Obviously, I can’t speak for the others. I can say that Ferrari has confirmed all the sports programs it was running.
“We are a solid company, very focused on economic and financial issues and that’s precisely why we were able to deal with this situation.
“At the moment, I don’t think the coronavirus will influence our decision on whether or not to enter the top category. I hope this situation will pass and the virus will be eradicated.
“We need to do our analyses calmly. Once we have decided, we will also handle this historic event hoping that the health situation will have been resolved. To make these choices, we have to consider marketing, technological and sports interests.”
Full story HERE at sportscar365.com