Ferrari has won the 2019 edition of the California 8 hour round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, after an utterly dominant performance from HubAuto Corsa and their Ferrari 488 GT3 machine. Drivers Nick Foster, Tim Slade and Ferrari factory pilot Miguel Molina combined to lead 194 laps of the 327 laps run. In a race that was run entirely under the green flag, consistent pace and flawless pit stop work were required for a good result, and the HubAuto Corsa team, all three drivers and the Ferrari 488 GT3 delivered in spades.
Record distance. Without a single caution period for the entire 8 hour duration, it should come as no surprise that the race set a distance and lap record for the nascent event. The lack of interruption also meant that strategic variation was limited and consistent pace ultimately won the day. To that end, all three Ferrari pilots were able to consistently manage pace and tire degradation, so while their ultimate pace may not have been the fastest, the average lap times generated throughout the stint were far superior. The team also played a crucial role, with seven near-flawless pit stops that minimized the time lost on pit lane.
Laguna novices become expert. All three drivers opened the weekend as Laguna Seca novices, having never been to the Northern California circuit previously. They were able, however, to get up to speed quickly and execute an error free race. Specifically the team put together a set up and strategy that prioritized the race over qualifying position which allowed the no. 27 Ferrari to switch on its Pirelli tires earlier in the race than most of its competitors. This advantage proved decisive as overtaking proved particularly challenging.
Championship Implications. The No. 27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 is the only Ferrari that will be contesting all of the rounds of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. After a disastrous opening round at Bathurst, this weekend’s win has put the team firmly back into the championship hunt. The team and drivers find themselves tied for second in the driver’s championship with 25 points while Ferrari is now up to third place with 29 points.
Schedule. With the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge complete, HubAuto will again pack everything into a shipping container, which will make its way to Belgium for the 24 Hours at Spa at the end of July. The season will continue with the Suzuka 10 Hour at the end of August and finish with the Kyalami 9 Hour at the end of November.