Ferrari’s new-for-2016 488 GT3 will make its British GT debut at Silverstone next weekend following confirmation that Adam Carroll and former GT3 champion Marco Attard will be behind the wheel.
Fox Motorsport, which owns the car, has entrusted the 488’s running and entry to seasoned Ferrari outfit FF Corse, which previously campaigned 458s in British GT for several years.
The team knows Carroll well having paired him with Gary Eastwood at selected British GT races last season. The Northern Irishman was also drafted in by Barwell Motorsport for this year’s rounds at Rockingham and Oulton Park, where he and Liam Griffin won last Monday’s opening race.
Attard is also no stranger to British GT having been crowned overall champion in 2014. He secured the runner-up spot last season with Alexander Sims before switching to the Blancpain GT Series at the start of this year, but will now make a comeback at his domestic series’ three-hour, 500-kilometre race where he finished third 12 months ago.
“I made the decision to step aside for Phil Keen in Barwell’s Blancpain line-up but was eager to carry on racing before the 24 Hours of Spa,” said Attard. “Naturally my first port of call was Barwell, but as all three of their Lamborghinis were already taken for British GT’s Silverstone round I had to look further afield. I felt like it had to be with a special car, and the 488 GT3 certainly ticks that box!
“Obviously Adam’s [Carroll] previous experience with FF Corse is a big bonus. He came highly recommended by Barwell and he’s also someone I consider to be in Alexander’s [Sims] league. That’s really important for me because if I was going to do this, even as a one-off, it needed to be with a very capable car, team and co-driver. I’m under no illusions because from what I’ve seen British GT has been incredibly competitive so far this year, but we’ve given ourselves a decent chance of running near the front.”
Attard shook down the Ferrari with FF Corse earlier today and immediately felt at home in his new surroundings.
“The difference between the older and newer GT3 cars is definitely how easy they are for Ams to drive,” he confirmed. “I drove the BMW Z4 for a long time. It was great on the brakes but could be a bit difficult the harder you pushed it. I couldn’t go too hard today but got the feeling that the 488 is very similar to the Huracan; they’re both a lot more forgiving.”
Attard and Carroll’s drive owes much to Paul McNeilly and Jamie Stanley who were widely expected to race the car at Silverstone next weekend. Instead, both will now team-up aboard the same Fox Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4 they campaigned together in British GT throughout 2014 and ’15.
Stanley, who is heavily involved with Fox’s racing activities, sees next weekend’s outing as an opportunity to showcase the 488 GT3’s capabilities in Britain with a view to leasing the car and FF Corse’s expertise to customers over the second half of this season and 2017.
His and McNeilly’s decision is part of the team’s wider strategy to establish a route for young drivers and kart racers up through the GT ranks. The fruits of this ‘academy’ will be seen in British GT at Donington later this year when Stanley is joined by Fox protege Sam Webster aboard the Ginetta.
“Silverstone will definitely be a showcase of what the Ferrari’s capable of and with one eye on the future,” he explained. “Paul’s [McNeilly] business commitments mean he doesn’t have time to race full-time, so the 488 falls into a wider strategy that we’re putting together with Fox Motorsport, FF Corse and hopefully other clients.
“There aren’t many 488s or teams with the expertise to run them readily available, and none in Britain as far as I know, so this is a great opportunity for someone who wants to dip their toe in the water without committing to buying one.”
British GT’s Silverstone 500 round takes place on June 11/12.