With the end of the 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 season, the names of the drivers taking part to the FIA WEC rookie test at the Bahrain International Circuit were also proclaimed by RPM-MKTG and they were the top three in the championship. Pietro Fittipaldi drove the Porsche 919-Hybrid, Matevos Isaakyan went on-track with Oreca-07 Gibson of Vaillante Rebellion, and Alfonso Celis Jr. got behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTE at AF Corse.
The test day saw the pit-lane open at 10 am after a briefing for the drivers with the race director. Then, they went straight to their garage and got in touch with the new cars. Only Isaakyan, who successfully competed in the European Le Mans Series in 2017 thanks to the SMP Racing program, was familiar with the world of endurance. Fittipaldi underwent a further briefing to discover the secrets of the Porsche 919, mainly the operation of the hybrid system. An old acquaintance of World Series, Miguel Molina, welcome Celis Jr. in the AF Corse garage. Molina went for a quick shake-down before handing the car to the Mexican, the third driver of Sahara Force India in Formula 1.
World Series top rookie Konstantin Tereschenko was on-track too, driving the TDS Racing Oreca-07 Gibson. Nice to notice on track, alongside last World Series champion, was running also 1999 champion, Fernando Alonso. The World Series Formula V8 3.5 be back in action tomorrow, Monday 20 November, for a two-day test scheduled at Al-Sakhir.
“It was cool to have a roof on me, even if I got a bit used to it with Nascar. That’s for sure another kind of car, it’s amazing, there’s a lot of grip and acceleration getting out of the corners. Compared to World Series car, the breaking point is almost the same and the lap times are not that far too. Maybe just the lines are a bit different. At the beginning, you just feel a bit wired inside the cockpit, like when you play video games, but then you get used to it. Of course, there are a lot of procedures, but it’s nice to learn them especially with such a professional team like Porsche. I really want to thank them to make me feel comfortable, as well RPM-MKTG for this prize”.
“I was maybe the guy with the most experience with this kind of car, as I raced in ELMS, so we based the work more on race simulation and long stints compared to the usual work on procedures. It was a bit hard to get used to the brakes on this car, especially with a full tank. Lines are not much different to World Series, and the car is pretty close to ours for performance and driveability. It went pretty well, everyone was happy and for sure I want to thank RPM-MKTG for this opportunity”.
Alfonso Celis Jr.
“Of course is always nice to drive a Ferrari. This was my first experience on a GT car, but I have to say everybody supported me to make it easier as possible. I started my day on very old tyres, getting progressively on fresher tyres. Is a bit wired to get used to a different view in the car, but being in the same track I raced the weekend helped a lot for the references. Breaking is for sure the biggest difference, but has been a nice experience. Now, thanks to this award from RPM-MKTG for the World Series, I can also say to have tested a GT car”.