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National Sportscars / Italian GT Championship
« Last post by Administrator on February 16, 2018, 09:03:22 PM »
Giancarlo Fisichella will be competing in the Italian GT Championship (link in Italian), including at least one round in April 29! This is quite a surprise, as Giancarlo usually only manages to do the 6 Ore di Vallelunga, when he does national-level races at all. He will race for the Baldini 27 team. The team-mate is currently unknown.

We can be sure that Giancarlo won't do the whole Italian GT Championship. This is because he has something slightly bigger to race at during the Misano weekend... ...the 24 Heures du Le Mans!

Giancarlo says that he's known the team boss, Fabio Baldini, for many years and he was eager to accept a place in such a professional team. The races, being so short, emphasise qualifying and the quality of the pit stop, and Giancarlo also says that (despite his vast experience) he will have to adapt a little because so many fast drivers are in Italian GT.

For his part, Fabio considers himself honoured that Giancarlo, "one of the best Italian drivers of all time" is joining his team. It is unusual a team would be willing to lose a driver like Eddie Cheever III, who has apparently given impeccable service. That Baldini is OK with this says a lot about how he sees Giancarlo.

In bocca al lupo a tutti in Baldini 27!
Le Mans & WEC / Re: Fisico Returns To WEC
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on February 11, 2018, 09:58:57 AM »
The official entry list is out. Fisico's Spirit of Race team is car #54, which makes it the lowerst-numbered GTE-Am car. Interestingly, he is indicated as conditional on receipt of licence. While this is usually a formality, it's not one I've seen before - making me think one of two things, one of which would be interesting and the other... ...not so much:

- Fisico wasn't 100% sure if he was going to be racing anything in 2018 until this deal was signed

- The ACO doesn't trust IMSA's rating system (which, as Fisico hasn't raced in the full WEC for over 3 years, would also cause that mark to appear, despite Fisico being blatantly Platinum on both systems due to having held a Superlicence and being under 50).

Also note that if Fisico and his new friends win their class at any point, we won't hear the Italian national anthem. Yes, Spirit of Race is a wing of the very Italian AF Corse... ...but it is registered in Switzerland. Probably because Thomas Flohr, who pays for the entry to exist, is Swiss.

His rivals will be two other Ferraris (one each from fellow AF Corse client Clearwater Racing which includes Matt Griffin, and the new-to-me MR Racing), four Porsches (one Team Project 1 that includes Jorg Bergmeister, one Gulf Racing and two Dempsey-Proton cars) and two Aston Martins (one works entry and one TF Sport). There are 9 cars and a remarkably tough field.
Le Mans & WEC / Fisico Returns To WEC
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on February 07, 2018, 09:04:39 PM »
Giancarlo Fisichella is leaving IMSA to return to WEC! He's going to be the lead driver of the GTE-Am Spirit of Race car. He's going to spend the 18-month "super season" sharing the car with Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellaci.

Thomas Flohr is a businessman (he runs a large private jet company) and Francesco Castellaci has come second in the ELMS and Blancpain Endurance series recently. They have raced in WEC together since 2012. Last year, they won their class in the Fuji WEC race. They are good by GTE-Am standards, but will definitely benefit from having Giancarlo join them.

Everyone is really enthusiastic. I don't think I've seen Fisico so excitable in a quote for ages. Thomas correctly sees the likelihood of making progress as a team, and Francesco is simply in awe, because he's always looked up to him due to Fisico being,"one of the greatest Italian drivers of the last two decades".
IMSA Racing / Re: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on February 06, 2018, 08:07:32 PM »
Fisico is definitely planning to race this year - he says the 2018 racing program is almost ready. This makes me very happy - it cannot be easy to keep a secret like that, even if one is as good a poker player as Fisico.

Any team hiring Fisico is making a wise decision. I found an amusing article in Italian about the Ferrari Driver Academy. Last week, all of Ferrari's bright young drivers* went to the Swiss mountain town of Pontresina for a training week. New "teacher" Daniil Kyvat joined Fisico and Andrea Bertolini as instructors. This included a computer simulation of Monza, where everyone tried to set the best lap times they could whenever they passed the simulator between training sessions. Fisico beat everyone else by a considerable margin! Someone that speedy belongs on a race track, with a team that really wants him to be there and can provide the car he deserves :)

* - The young drivers were Antonio Fuoco, Giuliano Alesi, Callum Ilott, Enzo Fittipaldi and Gianluca Petecof. Two of the other Ferrari Driver Academy pilots are in a racing series in New Zealand and couldn't come, and another one is Chinese and is probably training in his homeland.
IMSA Racing / Re: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on January 26, 2018, 03:49:24 AM »
Risi, it turns out, is only confirmed for two races this year (though it is hoping to do a more extensive programme) and even Toni Vilander is trying to pair it with a seat elsewhere. Apparently he's progressing on getting a seat in Blancpain. If he's "progressing" rather than "obtained", that shows there are seats out there - and that there's hope for Fisico getting a race seat in 2018 yet. Also, it is no wonder that Fisico did not think sticking with Risi would be a complete program in itself...

(Incidentally, Toni qualified 7th in class for the GTLM after what sounds like quite a tough session). The race will start at 7:40 pm British time and 9:40 pm Finnish time, lasting 24 hours.
Fisico Beyond Racing / Blood Donation Campaign
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on January 23, 2018, 08:20:05 PM »
Fisico is joining a campaign on January 29, to encourage people to donate blood. This is a great thing for Fisico to be supporting :)
Fisico Beyond Racing / Re: Tanti auguri, Fisico!
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on January 23, 2018, 08:10:30 PM »
Fisico has thanked JSH Collection for providing the hospitality for his Ferrari birthday party.
IMSA Racing / Re: 2018 Daytona 24 Hours
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on January 16, 2018, 03:39:42 PM »
He didn't say much, but it's answered some questions...

Fisico posted a photo of himself at a Ferrari Driver Academy ski training session on Instagram. There is no way Ferrari would have allowed Fisico to show up for a Ferrari Driver Academy session unless he was still a Ferrari-linked driver, so whatever else is going to happen, he won't be joining another manufacturer. At a guess, I'd say he's simply waiting for Ferrari to figure out how best to utilise his abilities this year.
Fisico Beyond Racing / Re: Tanti auguri, Fisico!
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on January 15, 2018, 07:38:16 PM »
Of the various celebrations of Fisico I have seen on the internet yesterday and today, two stood out, both written in Italian.

This one from Motorsport Italia which suggests that Fisico is exactly the sort of driver and man who might have convinced even Enzo Ferrari (notoriously picky about who he allowed to drive his beloved Ferraris, and especially cautious when it came to putting Italians in the car due to problems with the press in the 1950s) to let him have a race drive.

The praise from Io Gioco Pulito is just as high, describing Fisico as "the last patriot of Formula 1". Not just because he is loyal to his country, or because he did/does so much for Ferrari, but because they consider him to embody the spirit of the Italian nation.
F1 & Ferrari / Australia 2005
« Last post by Alianora La Canta on January 15, 2018, 07:23:08 PM »
Fisico remembered what he considered to be his greatest day ever in F1, Melbourne 2005, for Dutch website (link in Dutch). Don't ask me why the English translation hasn't been posted...
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