FFF Racing Team launched its 2016 Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup programme at the start of a two-day pre-season test at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari today (Tuesday 15 March).
The Pescara, Italy-based team presented its cars and drivers at the history-rich Imola circuit, confirming that it will field a brand new Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Andrea Caldarelli and Sean Fu Songyang, as well as a McLaren 650S GT3 for Hiroshi Hamaguchi and a pro driver who will be named shortly.
FFF Racing is perfectly positioned to provide a competitive platform for the discerning driver to race alongside the elite in the most esteemed GT championships on the European and Asian continents.
It was a testament to this professionalism that it attracted world class talents like former Formula 1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi, McLaren factory driver Alvaro Parente and Japanese gentleman racer Hamaguchi for its maiden season of competition in last year’s GT Asia Series, and its ambition is clear as it turns up the wick further in 2016.
FFF Racing will dovetail its recently announced assault on the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe with an entry in the newly established Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, which is reserved for GT3-spec cars and centred around bronze category ‘gentleman’ drivers.
The championship will run in tandem with the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), but will also boast a prestigious slot on the support bill for the 24 Hours of Le Mans (18-19 June), with a typical race weekend consisting of two one-hour free practice sessions, one 30-minute qualifying session and a single two-hour race.
LEXUS RACING SUPER GT driver and FFF Racing Team Principal, Caldarelli, will share a newly-acquired Lamborghini Huracan GT3 with Chinese supercar mogul, Fu Songyang, while a McLaren 650S GT3 is reserved for Hamaguchi and a high profile pro driver who is due to be announced later today.
Caldarelli said: “I’m really looking forward to driving in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, because I really enjoy the challenge of racing in a championship that is completely new to everybody. I think it will be pretty competitive, although we don’t quite have the full entry list. Of course, the series visits a lot of cool circuits and I’m going to enjoy coming back to race in Europe for the first time in six years. My teammate, Sean (Fu Songyang), will have a lot to learn, but I will push as much as possible and try to place the car at the front every time. It’s nice to have two manufacturers – McLaren and Lamborghini – working together at FFF Racing. Our task is to make both cars competitive and I’m pretty sure we can do a very good job.”
Fu Songyang added: “I’ve had a very exciting day here at Imola and the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 has been extremely fast, so it has been enjoyable. Now I have experience with the car, I am really looking forward to starting the season and, with Andrea (Caldarelli) as my teammate, I know we can be competitive. However, this is all new to me and I have to be realistic. I will rely heavily on my pro driver for guidance, particularly when it comes to learning the circuits, but it’s a challenge I will relish.”
Hamaguchi said: “What I like about the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup is that it is based around the bronze gentleman drivers. I really like that we have to do qualifying and the results will depend on our performances, rather than the pro drivers. This will be my second year with FFF Racing Team, so I know everybody and how they operate, and I’m feeling far more comfortable than I did this time last year. Of course, racing in Europe is new to me and I will have to learn the tracks. Being here at Imola is very special, because I grew up watching Formula 1 and Ayrton Senna race here from my home in Japan. I got pretty emotional during my first few laps. There’s a great atmosphere to this place and it’s very European, which I really enjoy.”