Ferrari WEC drivers "scraping the barrel" to stay competitive

Ferrari's FIA World Endurance Championship drivers are having to "scrape the bottom of the barrel" in the corners to remain competitive because of the 488 GTE's lack of straightline speed, says Davide Rigon.

Ferrari WEC drivers "scraping the barrel" to stay competitive

With only two rounds to go in the 2018/19 WEC superseason, Ferrari lies a distant second in the manufacturers' standings in the GTE Pro class, 100 points behind runaway leader Porsche.

Boosted by victory at Silverstone last year, James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi lie third in the drivers' standings, while Rigon and Sam Bird languish down in ninth place.

Calado said after winning in Silverstone that the 488's Balance of Performance was holding Ferrari back, and Rigon says the Italian manufacturer is still too slow in a straight line.

At Sebring last month, Ferrari propped up the GTE Pro speed trap standings, with the quicker of the two AF Corse-run cars losing 8.4km/h (5.2mph) to the benchmark BMW M8 GTE.

"We are all strong drivers, we are always pushing to the maximum, the car allows this," Rigon said in an interview with Motorsport.com. "Lately we are having to scrape the bottom of the barrel in the corners, we are using all the potential and there's not much left.

"The car is well balanced in the corners, but we are angry because the critical point is we lose in traffic: also because the slower cars, when we are alongside them, we always lose in a straight line and we are always having to take risks to overtake.

"We are very aerodynamically [sensitive] and if we start to make contact, we lose downforce. To have a little bit more power would help us."

Despite this disadvantage, Rigon still believes that he and Bird, aided by third driver Miguel Molina, can fight for outright honours in the Le Mans 24 Hours season finale in June.

"Le Mans is a dream, we have been preparing for it since last year," he said. "As soon as the 2018 race finished, we all started analysing our mistakes and examining our consciousnesses. 

"I think we have a good potential for Le Mans, we have worked on the points where we can work. We have a good team, I believe in them. I want to do well, the target is to be at the top."

Rigon and Bird took third place at Spa last year - their only podium of the 2018/19 campaign so far - and Rigon says another top three is the best the #71 crew can hope for this time at the Belgian circuit.

He said: "Spa is my favourite circuit: last year I was on the podium, two years ago I won. I know that we will have to grit our teeth this year, the BoP is not in our favour.

"We have to try and be consistent, especially to be super-fast in qualifying. Our target is to finish in the top three. Winning will be hard, we are missing the speed to bridge the gap."

Interview by Marco Congiu

#71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Davide Rigon, Sam Bird, Miguel Molina

#71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Davide Rigon, Sam Bird, Miguel Molina

Photo by: JEP / LAT Images

shares
comments
Ganassi sportscar program to continue with or without Ford

Previous article

Ganassi sportscar program to continue with or without Ford

Next article

Ginetta testing ahead of potential 2019/20 WEC return

Ginetta testing ahead of potential 2019/20 WEC return
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak Prime

How glitches threatened Toyota's unbeaten WEC streak

The FIA World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 Hybrid remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing.

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Prime

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness.

Le Mans
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021