The FIA World Endurance Championship standings again look rosy for Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado after a successful appeal that restored their victory in Shanghai. The AF Corse pair are now sharpening their swords for the Lone Star Le Mans next weekend at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The 2017 world champions have climbed to 68 points in the standings, 15 lengths behind provisional leaders Sørensen-Thiim, while Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina, starting in the 488 GTE no. 71, follow on 45 points.
LMGTE Pro. For the fifth round of the WEC, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, at the wheel of Ferrari no. 51 of AF Corse, aim to replicate the success they achieved on this track in 2017. This was the World Championship’s last visit to the 5,513-metre track that also features the Formula 1 single-seaters. After just missing out on the win in Bahrain, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina aim to confirm their improvement in terms of results and performance, taking advantage of the competitiveness demonstrated by the Italian in securing pole on this circuit last time around.
LMGTE Am. As the championship heads into its second half, the LMGTE Am class currently sees the AF Corse crew of Perrodo-Collard-Nielsen joint leaders with Keating-Bleekemolen. After victory in the opening round at Silverstone and podiums at Fuji and Bahrain, the trio will carry 10 kg of extra ballast. AF Corse’s second 488 GTE, the no. 54 driven by Flohr-Castellacci-Fisichella and the car of MR Racing, with Ishikawa-Cozzolino-Beretta, are also looking for a great result. Red River Sport’s Grimes-Mowlem-Hollings are aiming to consolidate their excellent performances of recent rounds.
COTA. The Texan track will host the first of two races on US soil, with the second scheduled at Sebring in March. The FIA WEC is back on this track after its last appearance in 2017. This appointment replaces the 6 Hours of Sao Paolo, cancelled at the end of January. Hermann Tilke designed the complex and demanding Circuit of the Americas which opened in 2012. Its design can be divided into three sections, differing in terms of technical characteristics and aerodynamic loads. In general, this track is very demanding on brakes and tyres, put under pressure in the mixed high-speed sections and in the turns that subject driver and car to many “g’s” of lateral acceleration. The twenty turns, scattered along the circuit, offer a range of difficulties. The first, for example, can be tackled with various trajectories and offers excellent overtaking possibilities even though the driver has to set the trajectory without seeing the apex. The next bends are reminiscent of Maggots and Becketts where the drivers can make a difference. The very long 1 km-plus return straight leads into the final stretch whose design is inspired by the old Hockenheim.
Appointments. The track programme mainly takes place on Saturday when free practice and qualifying will be held (starting at 5:40 pm local time), and Sunday with the race scheduled to begin at noon.