Apr 7, 2024

David Vidales had a difficult but encouraging start to his international GT racing career with a P17 finish in the opening round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Endurance Cup at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.

Together with his two French teammates Vincent Abril and Thomas Neubauer, the Spanish youngster brought home his AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors Ferrari 296 GT3 just outside the top 15 in what was his debut race for the prestigious Italian factory Ferrari squad.

The three-hour race at Le Castellet was all new for the MIM-contracted driver: one-hour driving stints, teammates for the first time, a new category of car, a new team and a new racing weekend format. And with a massive field of 54 cars from eight different manufacturers, at albeit a familiar circuit, it was never going to be easy.

A few issues during practice and qualifying left the #71 Ferrari with a row 14 starting position of twenty-seventh on the grid, but positive runs by his two teammates saw the car up to P18 by the end of the second hour. Vidales then took over for the final 58 minutes of racing right in the thick of the action just outside the top 15 and he maintained a good pace and a cool head to bring the car home in P17, one and a half minutes behind the winners Farfus/Harper/Hesse (BMW M4 GT3) after a total of 85 laps.

David Vidales declared: “It was the first race of the GT World Challenge and the first race for me as well in GT. It was not an easy weekend I have to say. Since the first free practice we struggled a lot in pace, we tried to solve it and did some improvements for qualifying. It was a bit better, we managed to more or less put everything together and extract the maximum but then in the race with one-hour stints the problems came back and it was very difficult to fight. It was a first race, so always a good experience and many things to learn, new things for me but I think we have to analyse everything and see what the problems and issues are, because right now we are a bit far off the pace. We did a good recovery with what we had and maximized the result, maybe 10 or 11 positions up, so it was good but we need to understand more things.”

The next round of the GT World Challenge Endurance Cup will be the classic 24 Hours of Spa in Belgium in the last weekend of June.