The final weekend of Season 8 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which sees Ferraris still in contention for the drivers’ and team titles, will kick off with the first free practice session at 6 pm on Thursday in Bahrain. The 8 Hours of Bahrain will decide the champions in the LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am (team and drivers) classes, which are still open due to the extra points up for grabs in this race. On a track that is well suited to the 488 GTEs, the AF Corse crews will be looking for a triumphant close to this long and unusual season.
LMGTE Pro. With Alessandro Pier Guidi involved in the GT Word Challenge, James Calado will be fighting to repeat his 2017 World Champion title on this track. The British driver, joined on this occasion by Daniel Serra, currently lies third in the standings on 131 points against 157 for Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim and, with 38 points still in play for the winner, it may be difficult but is still possible. Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina will be in car no. 71. They won their first podium of the 2019 season in the last edition of the 8 Hours. However, their second-place left a bitter taste in the mouth. The stop&go inflicted in the last thirty minutes due to a slight skidding of the rear tyres at the restart after the last stop deprived the two of a well-deserved victory. Davide Rigon is one of the best performers on this track, as confirmed by his victory in 2017.
LMGTE Am. Anticipations are running high for the battle between the AF Corse 488 GTE no. 83 drivers – François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen – and the class leaders, the TF Sport crew of Charlie Eastwood, Salih Yoluc, and Jonny Adam, who hold an eight-point advantage ahead of the race. The two teams have enjoyed a very successful season and, due to their results and positions in the standings, will be burdened with 30 and 35 kg of ballast respectively, with a slight advantage for the Maranello car. Giancarlo Fisichella, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci are aiming for a good result at Sakhir at the wheel of AF Corse’s second car, no. 54. Red River Sport will field the third and final 488 GTE in Bahrain, with a new line-up of Bonamy Grimes, Kei Cozzolino and Colin Noble.
Programme. The programme of the final round of the season will start today with a ninety-minute free practice session at 6 pm local time, 4 pm in Italy. On Friday at 9 am, another ninety minutes will be devoted to setting up the cars. This will be followed from 1:45 pm, by the last sixty minutes of practice and then qualifying at 6 pm. The race sets off on Saturday, at 2 pm, with the chequered flag at 10 pm.