Clean sweep of wins for FF Corse in GT Cup at Snetterton

Graham de Zille scored his first race win for 27 years as FF Corse dominated a largely wet weekend GT Cup action at Snetterton to make a clean sweep of the GTC division.

The Silverstone-based team claimed an overall race win as well as locking out all four GTC results; Graham and Dan de Zille triumphing in Sunday’s endurance race in their Ferrari 488 Challenge and Laki Christoforou and Adam Carroll doing likewise the previous day.

It was Dan de Zille who hit the ground running at the Norfolk circuit in a damp Saturday qualifying session as he took an outright pole position for Race One; making the most of the decision to upgrade from a Ferrari 458 Challenge to a newer 488 ahead of the weekend.

Leading for much of the opening sprint race, but eventually being passed by a faster GTO car, Dan won the GTC division by over 20 seconds to take his first victory since returning from a six-year-layoff earlier this season.

Joined by father Graham; who quit racing in 1993 only to return this year with FF Corse, Dan drove superbly in Sunday’s wet endurance race before handing over to Graham; the elder of the pair completing a double-success for their Ferrari. Graham was third in the morning sprint.

Team-mate Laki Christoforou won from pole position in Sunday’s sprint race, the championship-leader’s first solo race win in contemporary race machinery and his fourth GTC success of the season.

His win with co-driver Adam in Saturday’s enduro had been a dominant one. Spinning on the damp at Turn Four as the field prepared to form up for the start, he dived for the pitlane instead of forming up to watch for the green lights.

With rain beginning to fall and the field on slick tyres, Laki called for wets to help increase the level of grip available in such conditions.

His new rubber fitted, he immediately began lapping 30 or more seconds faster than those that had began the race on slick tyres.

Despite being nearly a lap behind as he exited the pits, he found himself in the overall lead by the end of the second tour as the rest dived for the pits.

A 1m45s victory; backed up when professional racer Adam climbed into the Ferrari at the mid-race driver swaps, was the largest of the season.

Laki was third in Saturday’s sprint and second in Sunday’s enduro with Adam; meaning the pair have never finished outside the top two in the longer races this year.

Laki and Adam now have an increased 24-point lead at the head of GTC. Graham and Dan hold third place while FF Corse are third in the overall Teams’ Championship.

Graham de Zille said: “I’m so pleased with how the weekend’s gone. My first win since the Renault Clio Cup in 1993 and a double-win for the car. Dan drove his socks off in tricky conditions and scored a great victory in the Saturday sprint race, while we had a really strong race to stay ahead of Adam [on Sunday evening]. The 488 Challenge isn’t that different to drive than the 458 we’d previously had, but it’s just a lot more sorted in every area and there’s definitely more ability to put the front end exactly where you want it. Silverstone is next up; a new layout for me, and Brands GP, which I haven’t raced on since 1987!”

Dan de Zille said: “The new 488 Challenge we’ve got is amazing. It puts you on the same level as the other guys inside the FF Corse team and you could see on Sunday morning when Dad and Laki had a great battle that we’re right in the hunt for wins all the time now. We were at Snetterton for the last event and although I finished second, I couldn’t keep pushing at the same speed. Here, I’ve had a great battle myself with Richard Chamberlain for the overall win – and he’s in GTO, which should be quicker than the GTC cars! I’m really looking forward to the next rounds.”

Laki Christoforou said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I’ve taken my first solo pole position and my first solo win in a modern racing car; my background being mostly in historics, and for some reason I always seem to go better in the wet than the dry with the Ferrari. I’m getting more and more confident with the car every time I drive it and the team continues to do a great job. I spun on the green-flag lap in Race Two, knew I needed wet tyres, so told them team ‘I’m coming in’ and went to first place within a couple of laps. Without the spin, I’m not sure I’d have been so decisive, but it definitely worked out because Adam and I won that one and now we have a nice little lead in the points.”

Adam Carroll said: “It’s been another good weekend and the season is definitely going to plan. The weather has been bizarre, going from the high thirties on Thursday to very cold over the weekend, but Laki drove extremely well to win the Sunday sprint and made the right call on the green-flag lap that led to our win in the Saturday enduro. The last race on Sunday was the toughest because it started spitting just as I went on-track, but there didn’t seem any benefit to coming in for wets, so I just had to manage the pace, not take any risks to catch Dan – who was driving very well – and make sure I brought the car home on the podium.”

Tim Mullen, Sporting Manager, said: ‘It’s been another very good weekend for us. Four wins from four isn’t easy to do, especially in such tough track conditions, so you have to celebrate it when it comes. We had an added challenge this weekend in running a new car for Graham and Dan and trying to get them up to speed with the 488 as fast as possible, which we managed as they matched Laki and Adam win for win. It was great to see Graham and Dan win after each stepped away from racing for quite a while, and to see Laki continue his great progress with his first solo win with us. The most encouraging thing to take away is that we now have both cars able to challenge for GTC and even overall wins and this will be incredibly important as we continue our fight for the championship.”

 

(Image Credit – Richard Styles)

 

Double GT Cup win for FF Corse on home ground at Silverstone

FF Corse drivers Laki Christoforou and Adam Carroll maintained their GTC series lead with a last-gasp GT Cup class victory at Silverstone, while team-mate Dan de Zille made it a double win for the local team.

Laki, who had taken his Ferrari 488 Challenge to fifth spot in the Saturday morning sprint race, started the enduro fourth and ran a solid opening stint for the Silverstone-based team.

Pro driver Adam took over half-way through the 50-minute race, but was faced with a tough task to claim the victory due to the pair’s Snetterton victory earning them a 20-second success penalty at their stop.

The Northern Irishman dug deep and reeled in his rivals; catching the sister FF Corse Ferrari of Ross Wylie – who was making his series debut alongside guest entrant Richard Guy – with two laps remaining.

Catching traffic at an inopportune time, Ross and Adam went either side of the slower car to put it a further lap down with Adam emerging in front.

Their victory was the 11th in GTC for FF Corse in 2019 and the fourth for he and Laki.

Another second place for Laki in Sunday’s sprint was followed by third for the pair in the enduro.

Having just changed drivers – and incurred another 20-second penalty because of their Saturday win – the safety car was deployed for an incident on-track, meaning any rivals who had not yet stopped, could do so while Adam was limited to a crawling speed on-track.

He recovered to second place to maintain the pair’s record of finishing on the podium in every enduro this year. They now lead the class by 13 points with three rounds left and 25 available for each race win.

Dan de Zille made it two sprint race wins in a row on Saturday; adding to the success he’d achieved at Snetterton in July.

In just he and father Graham’s second event driving their Ferrari 488 Challenge, Dan qualified second and snatched the GTC advantage just beyond half-distance. He and Graham finished fifth in the enduro.

Graham, who is still recovering from a short illness, elected not to race in Sunday’s sprint, meaning Dan was instilled for qualifying and the 25-minute event.

Sadly, first-corner contact with another car spun him into the side of team-mate Richard – fourth in Race One – who was attempting to avoid the incident at the time.

Both 488 Challenges were out on the spot and too-badly damaged to take part in the afternoon enduro.

The next event takes place on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit on August 31-September 1.

Laki Christoforou said: “We’ve had a good weekend, got a win and still lead the GTC points, so they’re the big positives to take away. I made a bad start in the Saturday sprint, but the enduro went much better and both Adam and I drove well to win. I was lucky to avoid the carnage in the Sunday sprint race at the start, but I could feel something was going to happen when I saw five cars trying to go side-by-side into Copse, so I backed off and managed to get around. Second in that race was good and we definitely could have won the enduro before the safety car came out and effectively gave our rivals a free pitstop.”

Adam Carroll said: “It was great to get another enduro win; we seem to be making a habit of gaining spots late in the race after what happened at the last corner at Snetterton, and it shows that you always have to keep pushing because you never know what might happen. I caught Ross [Wylie] and with a lap to go he went one way in traffic, I went the other, and I got by, but it was good, fair racing all the way. On Sunday we lost the chance to fight for the win because the safety car came out seconds after we made our pitstop and it meant our main title rivals could change drivers while we were running at slow speed. Laki did a great job again and we’ve maintained a good championship lead.”

Dan de Zille said: “It’s great to get another sprint race win under my belt. Since switching from the Ferrari 458 to the 488 it’s like every bit of extra effort you put in behind the wheel is rewarded, and it’s brought us onto a level playing field against the other FF Corse pairings. It’s great fun now and having someone like Adam Carroll in the other car is a great yardstick for me. The incident at Copse on Sunday was disappointing for both Dad and I, and for the whole FF Corse team.”

Graham de Zille said: “I’ve spent a long time in motor racing, so it’s inevitable you’ll have weekends like this. Going from the high of Daniel’s win in the Saturday sprint through to the accident in Sunday’s race just means we’ve been through the full spectrum. I haven’t felt 100 per cent in the past week and was struggling a bit for stamina in the Saturday enduro, so we changed the plan for Sunday and put Daniel in the car for the sprint. Unfortunately the first-corner incident happened, the car was badly damaged and we’re now unsure if we’ll be out for Brands Hatch in two weeks.”

Richard Guy said: “It’s been great to come back to the GT Cup for the first time since the season-opening round, and to have a co-driver of the experience and quality of Ross Wylie was fantastic. He has so much experience of the 488 Challenge that he knows instantly what tweaks need to be made to get the set-up absolutely spot-on. The FF Corse team did a great job to get the car completely in the sweet spot for Race Two on Saturday and we came so close to winning before Ross caught the slow traffic by the end. Sunday was a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’. I was just innocent victim of the aftermath of what happened between Dan and another car ahead of me.”

Ross Wylie said: “It was a bittersweet weekend for my GT Cup debut. It was great to be back racing, but things didn’t go quite to plan. Richard did a very good job in qualifying and the sprint race and it was great to share a car with him. I thought we could hang on for the win in the Saturday enduro, but Adam was catching me and when I got boxed-in with lapped traffic on the penultimate lap, I wasn’t able to stay ahead. I’m sure we’d have been in the hunt for the win on Sunday, but obviously that never happened because of the damage the car took in the first-corner incident in Race Three.”

Tim Mullen, Sporting Manager, said: “While naturally it’s great to get another pair of victories at our home circuit, it’s a huge shame to lose two cars from virtually all of Sunday’s racing because of the first-corner incident. Dan’s done a brilliant job to win the Saturday sprint for the second weekend in a row and both he and Graham have really adapted well to the 488 Challenge. Laki and Adam have had another strong weekend results-wise and it was great to have Ross back with us too. He’s been a regular in our Britcar line-up for the past 18 months and it was good to see he and Adam having an exciting battle in the first enduro. It’s only two weeks to Brands Hatch and we’ll be working flat-out to get the #19 car ready.”

 

 

FF Corse claim GT Cup enduro victory at Brands Hatch

FF Corse duo Graham and Dan de Zille scored another dominant GTC class victory as the fight for the GT Cup title continued on an action-packed weekend at Brands Hatch.

The father-and-son duo produced a magnificent display with Graham reaching the mandatory driver-change window with the class lead in his Ferrari 488 Challenge and handing over to Dan.

The younger de Zille then held his nerve during a stint that included a late switch to wet tyres – following a downpour – to reach the chequered flag in the top spot.

It was the fourth win of the year for the duo’s #19 Ferrari 488 Challenge, which replaced the 458 Challenge car they’d begun the season with at Snetterton in July, and has provided Dan with two sprint-race wins in addition to the two enduro victories.

It was also a great reward for the Silverstone-based FF Corse team, whose mechanics had worked flat-out to fix event-ending damaged sustained by the de Zilles at the last event in a multi-car, first-corner accident.

Dan qualified and finished second in Saturday morning’s sprint while Graham repeated that result on Sunday before the pair claimed third in the enduro; their chances thwarted by a 20-second ‘success penalty’ at their pitstop; a result of their previous victory.

Laki Christoforou and Adam Carroll arrived at Brands Hatch leading the GTC points following five victories earlier in the season.

Laki qualified third for the opening sprint and finished there too as he was experiencing his first race on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for almost a decade.

Unfortunately, his hopes of another victory in the enduro evaporated with a power-steering issue that put him out on the second lap.

He finished third in Sunday’s sprint and reached the enduro’s mid-race driver swap in the same position as he handed on to Adam, who was 5.5 seconds away from the lead once all the cars in the class had stopped with 18 of the 50 minutes remaining.

The Northern Irishman relentlessly reeled in the leader and reached the chequered flag just 0.8 seconds away from victory.

Laki and Adam hold second place in the GTC points and third in the overall standings. They are 34 points behind the leaders in each classification with 216 available from the remaining two rounds.

Graham and Dan hold third place in GTC and seventh overall, a further 54 points back, while FF Corse are second in the overall Teams’ Championship, 26 points away from the lead.

The penultimate round of the season takes place at Donington Park on September 21-22. The final event is at Snetterton on October 26-27.

Graham de Zille said: “It feels great to win again and on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit – a track I’ve not raced on since 1987. We’re so grateful to the team at FF Corse, who have worked flat-out to get our car ready after the damage we sustained in the crash at Silverstone, and while there were a couple of little things that were probably a carry-over of that damage, we sorted everything out. I was pleased with my pace in Sunday qualifying and the sprint race and I’d say this is the most competitive I’ve been after I was getting used to things at Snetterton and then was ill at Silverstone. I’m looking forward to the last two events.”

Dan de Zille said: “I’m pleased with the pace we’ve shown all weekend. We now have two enduro wins to go with my two sprint victories and there are lots of positives to take from the weekend. Just the fact that we were there was an achievement after what happened at Silverstone. The only nervy moment really was on Saturday when it started raining in the last 10 minutes of the enduro. I had quite a healthy advantage in the class so it was a no-brainer to pit for wet tyres. I knew I could hold on for the win that way, while I could easily have crashed if I’d stayed on slicks. The lap times were pretty similar to Adam [Carroll’s] in Sunday’s enduro too, which is pleasing.”

Laki Christoforou said: “I’ve been pretty pleased with my progression this weekend. I haven’t raced on Brands GP for many years, and last time it was in a Ford Escort. I improved my pace relative to Adam by a couple of seconds over the weekend and I reckon I’m as close as I can reasonably expect to be for an am driver against a true pro. Ultimately I leave with mixed feelings because we had the issue that put us out of the second race on Saturday, but the team fixed the car and Sunday was good with a third and a second. We’ve lost a bit of ground in the GTC title battle, but we’ll give it a good go at Donington.”

Adam Carroll said: “Ultimately, Brands GP suits other cars better than the Ferrari because it’s naturally quite a low-downforce car, and I think the results reflected that. Brands is quite an interesting circuit with a very abrasive surface and it’s not as easy as somewhere like Silverstone for a pro driver to make a difference, or to overtake, because it’s quite narrow. We’ve lost the points lead, but that’s motor racing. The important thing is that we’re in the hunt for the GTC and overall titles and the two tracks left are circuits we’ve won at already this season. I think it’s going to be an exciting climax for this championship.”

Tim Mullen, Sporting Manager, said: “Full credit has to go to the team, not just for what they’ve done this weekend in repairing Laki’s car after the issue on Saturday, but for working flat-out to get the #19 Ferrari fixed after the big accident at Silverstone. We knew Brands Hatch was going to suit some of the other GTC cars better than the Ferrari, so getting the win with Graham and Dan on Saturday was very good, and calling them in for wets when the rain came was absolutely the right call. We’ve had seven podiums from the eight races this weekend so that’s almost a perfect result, but the championship fight is getting more and more tense, so we’ll aim for even better at Donington.”

FF Corse’s Dan de Zille scores outright GT Cup win at Donington

FF Corse scored a magnificent overall win in the GT Cup at Donington Park last weekend as changeable weather conditions made for an ultra-challenging weekend in the East Midlands.

Dan de Zille’s exceptional drive in a wet sprint race on Sunday morning in his GTC-class Ferrari 488 Challenge gave him victory over the faster GTO cars and secured a fifth win of the season.

Paired with father Graham for the longer enduro, Dan produced a drive every bit as impressive as the duo took their podium count for the season to 18 from 23 races.

Dan and Graham were Silverstone-based FF Corse’s only representatives at Donington with Laki Christoforou and Adam Carroll absent after a running injury sidelined Laki just a few days before the event.

With the team’s title aspirations now on their shoulders, Dan and the team gambled on a damp track being at its driest at the end of Sunday’s 15-minute qualifying session; leading to a one-shot effort on slick tyres.

The gamble paid off as Dan stormed to class pole and then used his advantageous position as a springboard to an overall victory by over four seconds – his fifth win since returning from a six-year layoff at Snetterton in May.

Suffering a 15-second pitstop penalty as a result of finishing second in the previous day’s enduro, Dan was over 30 seconds away from the GTC lead when he emerged from the pits having taken over from Graham during Sunday’s 50-minute race.

A simply staggering drive that brought the gap down to just four hundredths of a second by the finish line – propelled by setting the race’s fastest lap by over one second – was the highlight of the race.

 Saturday’s action was run in totally dry conditions. Graham took the reins for qualifying and put the Ferrari second in GTC.

He finished there too in the sprint race and combined with Dan to add another runner-up spot in the enduro; less than 10 seconds away from victory.

Their results kept them third in the GTC standings and sixth in the overall points table, meaning they go to the season finale at Snetterton in five weeks still in with a chance of winning both championships; just like team-mates Laki & Adam. FF Corse are second in the Teams’ Championship.

 Dan de Zille said: “It’s been a good weekend, especially getting the outright win on Sunday. Dad went well in practice in the wet and in qualifying it was a bit tiptoe, but I went for slicks and it worked out well as my focus was on nailing the last lap. I got a clear lap and that was pole. Then in the sprint race, I got into the lead at the start and the car’s just very quick now, so that helped me to win. In the dry, Dad smashed his personal-best lap around here, which is great. The weekend’s been about getting him as many laps as possible and improving. He wasn’t far off me in the end, so we’ve both had a good weekend.”

Graham de Zille said: “It’s been a very good weekend. I don’t quite like the wet, but Dan likes it and obviously we did well in the practice and then qualifying. In the first race on Sunday we were on pole, but I didn’t make the best start in the enduro, got swamped by a few cars and had a bit of contact from one or two of them. I stayed in second place in GTC for a few laps and then the car started to feel nervous in those conditions, so we changed onto slicks. Then Dan had a huge charge and with nine minutes left, we thought we could do the double. I’m very proud of him, and I’ve been improving here so it’s been a good weekend all round.”

 Tim Mullen, Sporting Manager, said: “It’s been a strong weekend for the team, and a very exciting finish in the end. We ended being about 40 seconds behind our rivals, but to then come back and almost nick the win at the very last second showed how quick we were, even if we couldn’t quite make it. A really good weekend, and puts us in good shape for the final round. We won overall today, which is fantastic, as we’re in the GTC class, which are slower cars, so that shows how well the team has performed.”

 

Double podium for FF Corse in Ferrari Challenge Europe at Imola

Laurent de Meeus and Jack Brown made it a double-podium result for FF Corse as both left the penultimate round of the Ferrari Challenge Europe at Imola firmly in the hunt for their respective championship titles.

HR Owen driver Laurent produced an excellent performance in Sunday’s second Coppa Shell race to recover from a disappointing opener, in which he finished ninth, and is just seven points away from the series lead with 45 still to play for.

Forced to stand hard on the brakes to avoid two spinning cars ahead of him, he fell from first to fifth instantly, but focused hard and regained two positions to finish third; his sixth podium finish from the six events held so far this season.

This was in stark contrast to Saturday’s race, when he was on course for a solid top-five result when he spun at mid-distance while trying to avoid a car that was attempting to rejoin the circuit and could recover only as high as ninth.

Making a similar Sunday recovery was Jack, who recorded a magnificent double-pole position for Graypaul Nottingham to take his season’s total to five – more than anyone else in the class.

Starting seventh due to qualifying success penalties, Jack quickly climbed to third in Race One, but suffered a puncture and was forced to pit for a new tyre, dropping him to ninth.

He bounced back with a fine drive to second on Sunday, setting the fastest lap in the process.

His consistency throughout the season means he is now guaranteed to finish no lower than second in the championship. He is 29 points away from the series lead with just one round – the Ferrari World Finals event at Mugello – to go.

In Trofeo Pirelli’s pro division, Adam Carroll delivered a pair of solid fourth-place finishes; the Ferrari Budapest driver producing one of the most dramatic moments of the weekend in Race One.

Having qualified seventh, the Northern Irishman pressed hard all the way to the chequered flag and squeezed inside one of his key rivals to snatch fourth place with just three corners remaining and finish within half a second of the podium.

Adding another fourth spot on Sunday, Adam moved up to fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship, despite having only began his campaign at the third event of the season. He is just nine points away from fourth spot with 45 available at Mugello on October 24-27.

Laurent de Meeus, HR Owen, said: “Overall, it’s been a weekend of highs and lows, though I’m very pleased that things have ended on a high with a podium finish on Sunday – always the best day to achieve it. I was a bit unlucky in the first race when I spun, because otherwise I’d have been fifth. I had to let a few people past at the start of Race Two and just couldn’t catch them, but third is still good points. I’m in the championship hunt with one round to go and I’m feeling good for the World Finals at Mugello, but I know I have to step things up a gear to achieve my aim of becoming champion.”

Adam Carroll, Ferrari Budapest, said: “We haven’t scored the results we hoped for, but this is an incredibly tough series and the drivers at the front of Trofeo Pirelli are really fast, so if you’re not 100 per cent on it on any given weekend, you’re not going to win. Imola is a great track where you have to really monster the kerbs every lap to be quick and we had a little issue that stopped me finding a comfortable balance. Once we sorted that, I was able to make progress from my starting position in Race One, and I was pretty pleased to make the move on the last lap for fourth. We’ll head back to base, regroup for Mugello and aim to finish the season on a high.”

Tim Mullen, Sporting Manager, said: “The Ferrari Challenge is such a closely-fought championship at the front of the field, so to come away with two podium finishes, and to know we have both Laurent and Jack right in the thick of the title hunt heading to the final event is extremely satisfying. The drivers and the team deserve a lot of praise for the way they handled Sunday because we’ve ended the weekend on a high and we can go to Mugello full of optimism.”

 

 

Treble win for FF Corse at GT Cup finale

FF Corse ended the GT Cup season with a magnificent treble victory for the Ferrari 488 Challenge of Graham and Dan de Zille at Snetterton last weekend.

The pair mastered ever-changing track conditions across the two-day event to end a remarkable season second in the GTC points and with the Driver of the Weekend award shared between them.

Dan gave notice of his intent to dominate the class on Saturday morning by topping practice and qualifying and then drove to a comfortable win in the opening sprint race; 13 seconds clear of his nearest rival.

He and Graham then combined to win the afternoon enduro; benefitting from a success penalty at their pitstop that was five seconds shorter than their key rivals, and revelling in the damp conditions in which Dan has become acknowledged as a master.

The younger de Zille delivered an even more impressive overall pole position by over 1.8 seconds from his nearest rival on Sunday in the damp conditions, despite a split water hose causing their session to end early.

As the weather improved by race time, Dan – his car repaired in double-quick time by the FF Corse mechanics – was powerless to prevent the GTOs passing him, but still finished second overall and 21s clear of his nearest GTC rival.

That class win was the eighth for the de Zilles since they switched from the Ferrari 458 Challenge they began the season with, to the newer 488. Nobody else in GTC has triumphed on more than five occasions in the same time period.

Second place in GTC Sunday’s enduro, after what Graham described as a ‘scrappy drive’ was the 26th podium finish from the 27 races the pair have contested in 2019.

Not only did this secure them second place in the GTC Championship, it also left them fourth in the overall end-of-season rankings and helped FF Corse seal third in the overall Teams’ Championship, despite having run just a single car for the final two events.

All the more remarkable was that for both drivers, 2019 marked a comeback season after a major layoff; Dan having last raced in 2012 and Graham returning to racing after a 27-year-layoff.

Graham de Zille said: “I’m very happy with the way the weekend’s gone and three wins out of four is a great way to end our comeback season. Daniel did a fantastic job in the wet, just like he always does, and was three seconds clear in Sunday practice, but once it tried it was impossible to keep the GTO cars behind as they began to stretch their legs. The lads at FF Corse did a fantastic job to fix the car after our issue in Sunday qualifying, and the car never skipped a beat in the race. I made a couple of mistakes in the Sunday enduro and that probably cost us the clean sweep, but I’m happy anyway.”

Dan de Zille said: “It’s been another great weekend and to end the year with eight wins since switching to the 488 is more than Dad or I could have hoped for because we’d both been away from racing so long. The car really is a joy to drive and in the damp we can really take some scalps against the more powerful GTOs, which aren’t as nimble as the Ferrari in the twisty bits. It was fun dicing with those guys because our cars had different bits of the track where we were quick. And to cap it all we got to share the Driver of the Weekend I wish the season wasn’t over.

Mark McLoughlin, Team Principal, said: “I’m so pleased that Graham and Dan have had such a successful return season after a long time out of racing. It was obvious from the start of the GT Cup season that neither had lost the knack and the switch to the 488 has made them contenders for race wins at every round. It’s been a good season for us and we’ve sealed second and third places in the GTC points with Graham and Dan, and Laki Christoforou and Adam Carroll, and comfortably won more races than anyone else in our class. A big thank you to every member of our team for the work they’ve put in this year.”

 

FF Corse claim stunning Ferrari World Finals win

FF Corse claimed a stunning victory at the Ferrari World Finals as Adam Carroll triumphed in a dramatic global contest at Mugello, Italy.

The Ferrari Budapest driver started the annual one-off race for Ferrari Challenge competitors from Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region from pole position after qualifying faster than all 25 rivals from the regional Trofeo Pirelli divisions.

After briefly relinquishing the lead as the lights went out, the Northern Irishman showed his experience by nipping back inside two rivals who left their braking too late for the first corner and reassumed the lead.

He kept his head after his advantage was twice wiped out by the safety car, and resisted extreme pressure over the final few laps to take a famous victory at the circuit in Tuscany.

It was Adam’s first win at the World Finals and also the maiden success in Ferrari’s most prestigious race anywhere on planet earth for the team from Silverstone.

Adam’s victory came 24 hours after he had completed a dominant Ferrari Challenge Europe event at the same circuit.

Winning Race One from pole position, Adam was on course for a second victory the following day, only to incur a drive-through penalty for overtaking behind the safety car and drop to the tail of his class. A sterling recovery brought him to third by the finish.

Adam finished the season fifth in the points; a great achievement for a driver who didn’t enter the series until its third event of the year. He was just 12 points – the equivalent of a third-place finish – away from a top-three spot.

In Trofeo Pirelli’s Am division, HR Owen-Aerium’s Franck Ruimy returned to competition after missing the past few events.

Franck qualified 10th in class and recovered from a mid-race spin while battling for position to finish ninth.

He improved his pace in Saturday qualifying to put his car eighth on the grid and made further gains on race speed to finish seventh and end the season 11th in the points.

FF Corse’s top finisher in Trofeo Pirelli Am was Graypaul Nottingham driver Jack Brown, who was not present at Mugello, but who secured second place in the Drivers’ Championship after a race-winning season.

In Coppa Shell Am, Laurent de Meeus; a season-long contender for the title, sealed third place in the end-of-season points in just his second full season of competition in the series.

Having qualified fourth, the HR Owen driver finished fifth in the opening race; a result that ensured a three-way fight for the crown in Saturday’s season finale.

He then narrowly avoided becoming involved in an incident that eliminated one of his key rivals in Race Two to again finish fifth.

The Belgian’s results meant he finished the season in a tie for second place overall, but missed out on the spot due to having won fewer races than his rival.

Unfortunately, he did not have much of an opportunity to improve on that result in the Coppa Shell Am World Final race after sustaining damage to his rear suspension in a first-corner collision and retiring a handful of laps later.

Adam Carroll, Ferrari Budapest, said: “What a fantastic weekend. Because we missed the first few events of the season, we knew winning the championship wasn’t a realistic target, so we put a mark against Le Mans and the World Finals as the ‘must win’ events, and we’ve managed to do both, which is incredible really. The competition was incredibly tough this weekend in both the Challenge Europe races and the World Finals, but the team at FF Corse have done a lot of work on the car since Imola to get it exactly the way I needed it, and it’s paid off hugely. A massive thank you Ferrari Budapest and Pizza Forte, because without them, this project would never have got off the ground. I feel very proud to take this win for them.”

Franck Ruimy, HR Owen-Aerium, said: “What an amazing event! From the organisation of the Ferrari village in the paddock with the classic cars, right through to the preparation of my race car by FF Corse and the help I’ve received from the engineers and driver coaches, I couldn’t have asked for much more. My pace improved across the weekend and if I’d managed to string my best sectors together in Sunday qualifying, I’d have been one second further up the grid. I guess because I’ve missed a few rounds and been out of practice, it was going to take me longer to get back up to speed. I was hit in Race One while battling, which dropped me back to ninth, but seventh in Race Two was quite alright. I’d like to do more of this next year.”

Laurent de Meeus, HR Owen, said: “Every time I am in a racing car, I enjoy it, and I felt quite emotional getting out of my car at the end of another Ferrari Challenge season because it’s a long wait to next year. Of course I’m disappointed not to win the Coppa Shell Am title after leading it for such a long time, and even to miss out on second place, because If I hadn’t been hit in Race Two and lost a position, I’d have had it by two points. The World Final was disappointing too because I put my car on the outside at Turn 1 to avoid the craziness, but got hit and broke the toe-link. I was certain I could have had a podium. I’ve still managed to win the big race at Le Mans and I’ll be back next year for my revenge.”

Tim Mullen, Sporting Director, said: “What a weekend! To take the biggest prize in Ferrari racing is an incredible achievement by the team at FF Corse. We underwent quite a changeover in personnel over the winter and you can see that with results like this that it’s had a positive effect. With this win, and the Le Mans success with Adam, we’ve won the two biggest races of the year and had victories in all three categories we entered in Ferrari Challenge Europe. I feel bad for Laurent because he led the Coppa Shell Am for so long, but he’s also had some bad luck, which you can never account for. Franck’s done a good job this weekend too after being out of the car for a while. A huge thank you to everybody who has supported this project in 2019 from HR Owen, Graypaul Nottingham and Ferrari Budapest, our drivers and team members. Thank you and well done.”

 

FF Corse Claim Podium Finish at British GT, Silverstone 500

FF Corse secured a stunning podium finish at the Silverstone British GT season final. In a 40+ car line up, Laurent de Meeus and Jamie Stanley were the first Ferrari over the finish line claiming P2 in the GTC Class. 

The weekend didn’t kick off to a great start after a gearbox issue during the Friday Test. This resulted in a long night for the FF Corse mechanics and a gearbox change.

The Belgium driver started the Silverstone 500 annual race in P3, unfortunately the FF Corse car #15 got hit from behind by a Mercedes GT3 spinning Laurent off track early on. After some vital seconds were lost Laurent spent the next 30 minutes of his first driving stint climbing his way back up the ranks to P3.

Next behind the wheel was pro driver, Jamie Stanley who had a faultless first stint, maintaining position. With some clean racing and fast pit stops the driving duo maintained their position and seized the opportunity to claim second place towards the end of the 3 hour race. 

Stanley and De Meeus finished the race P2 in the GTC class; a great achievement for both drivers, making their debut pairing in British GT.
 
Jamie Stanley, said: “What a fantastic weekend. The competition was incredibly tough this weekend, but Laurent put in an excellent drive and the team at FF Corse did an incredible job on the car. It was great fun to get back behind the driving wheel in a British GT race and to be part of Laurent’s debut appearance. Silverstone 500, in my opinion is the best race of the British GT Calendar so it was a great way to end the season.  A massive thank you to the team who put in a big shift to get the back on track after an unsure start to the weekend.”
 
Laurent de Meeus, HR Owen, said: “We were meant to be racing in Misano for the Ferrari Challenge Finali, which was unfortunately cancelled, so it was great to be part of a new Championship. I thoroughly enjoyed the race and it was brilliant to finish on the podium and as the leading Ferrari.”

Anthony Cheshire, Team Principle, said: “It was great to be back in British GT and fantastic to get a podium finish on our return. It was especially good to do it at the blue ribbon Silverstone 500 event and our home track. We hope to return next year with Ferrari in either the GTC or GT3 class.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GT Open Report – Estoril – April 28th – 30th

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The first round of the GT Open Championship took place last weekend at Estoril with Ivor Dunbar & Johnny Mowlem driving their FF Corse prepared, Ferrari 488 GT3.

The Portuguese round of the Championship saw a healthy grid of cars and high level of competition. The FF Corse entry was the fastest Ferrari during most sessions, including during race 1 and the second qualifying session. Unfortunately race 1 was disrupted when Ivor Dunbar had to take to the gravel in avoidance of a spinning car early in the race. He recovered well and put in a good stint before handing over to Johnny, who set a good pace in the second stint, but was unable to catch the leaders.

In the second race, the driver pairing rose from 12th on the grid to run as high as second place before the pit stops. The strong first stint from Johnny saw a daring move at the start in which he passed 6 cars before the end of the first corner. The car resumed from the pit stops in 5th position, before a tricky stint and an unfortunate spin dropped the car down the order. All in all a good debut showing from the British drive pairing, but for sure there is more to come. Watch this space……
 

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More photos from this event can be found on our website gallery page by clicking here.

The Italian Job – August 28th – 31st

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FF Corse are planning a trip to Italy later in the year to visit two Italian circuits, Imola and Vallelunga.

The trip will take place over 4 days with the team undertaking a track day at Imola first on August 28th, before heading down to the Vallelunga circuit for a day on August 31st.

 

 

 

 

Imola is situated around 30 minutes from Bologna towards the Rimini coast and Vallelunga is located further south, just outside Rome. With the two days in between, there is plenty of time to travel between the two venues and the possibility of some sightseeing and well-earned R&R.

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For further details and to register your interest, please contact Andy O’Dowd on events@ffcorse.com, or telephone 01327 857601.

 

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