Mission accomplished for Ferrari!
Ferrari already completed its goal in the WEC 2017 season by winning the manufacturers’ title in Shanghai. For the drivers there was everything to fight for. Both the #51 and #71 crews still had a chance of winning the title. In the end the #71 won the race with the #51 in second. The result meant that the #51 won the championship. Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado drove a perfect season wich allowed them to win the championship.
Pier Guidi and Calado and the whole Ferrari AF Corse team handled the race tactics to perfection. After a cautious start car #51 climbed the rankings and went ahead near the halfway mark, taking advantage of a Full Course Yellow phase that penalised the #71 that had pitted with the green flag. From then on James and Alessandro managed their speed carefully so as to protect the tyres, but still successfully held onto their lead over their rivals in the final stage. However, Sam Bird in car #71 was faster towards the end so it was decided that #51 would stage a spectacular parade finish with Bird and Rigon who fully deserved the victory and for this reason were first on the finish line. This is Alessandro Pier Guidi’s first year as an official Ferrari driver, while James Calado is in his fourth season with the Maranello brand, having started racing in car #71 as David Rigon’s teammate in 2014. The world champions secured the title at the end of an almost perfect season that, after a bad result in the Le Mans 24 Hours, saw them climb up the standings with wins, first at the Nurburgring and then at Austin and at Fuji. This is Ferrari’s 22nd victory in the WEC.
Two 488 GTE cars were on the podium in the GTE-Am class. After a long struggle with the Aston Martin title winner driven by Dalla Lana-Lamy-Lauda, #61 of Clearwater Racing came second with Keita Sawa, Matt Griffin and Weng Sun Mok, ahead of car #54 of Spirit of Race with Francesco Castellacci, Thomas Flohr and Miguel Molina. The overall victory went to Buemi-Nakajima-Davidson of Toyota.
It was a great season for everyone involved in the WEC. From Michelotto to AF-Corse to the CompetizioniGT team and all the other people who made it possible for Ferrari to win. Securing two world championships in the biggest series for endurance racing, the prancing horse proved its strength again and will do the same next year. And even though this season was thrilling next year will even be more. BMW will return and Aston Martin will drive with a new car. There also will be a superseason wich will start in Spa-Franchorchamps (2017) and finish in Le Mans (2018)!