After wining the AM category in the previous rounds of the International GT Open Series, this weekend’s trip to the Hungaroring, the circuit where the Kaspersky Lab-sponsored Scuderia Ferrari team will compete in the Formula 1 Grand Prix over the last weekend in July, was less successful for us.
While the driver pairing of Alex Moiseev and Davide Rizzo hadn’t been in action since the race at Paul Ricard four weeks ago, our AF Corse prepared Ferrari 488 GT3 could be nominated for the “Hardest Working Car in Racing!” award (if there was such a prize!) Only a week ago, it had been entered with the Kaspersky Motorsport PRO driver line-up at the wheel, in the 6 hour race at Paul Ricard, a round of the Blancpain Endurance GT Series.
At the French circuit, the car suffered an engine problem, so the crew had plenty of work to do to get the green, white and red beauty one hundred percent healthy for its weekend in the Hungarian capital, a short 1500 kilometres away from the French Riviera!
Once again in Budapest, success in previous races meant we had a 15 second penalty to purge at the pit stops – it’s part of the series rules to try and keep the racing as close and exciting as possible. But we also made life difficult for ourselves, when Alex decided to modify the car’s suspension, splitter and bumper during free practice. Nevertheless, as you can read in our press releases from the weekend, we managed one podium finish in Saturday’s 70 minute race, but only a fifth in the AM class on Sunday.
The Hungarian circuit is particularly challenging; very tight and twisty with limited overtaking opportunities. So it’s very demanding to drive with hardly any chance to catch your breath. From a spectator point of view, it’s fantastic as the track, a handy 20 minute drive from the centre of Budapest, is set in a natural bowl so that spectators in the main grandstand can see nearly every single corner.
This weekend, some of those spectators were guests of Kaspersky Lab and, when the track was not in use for racing, several of them were able to get in some Hot Laps as passengers in a Ferrari 458 GT3 car. They were driven around by Alex and Davide and also by our friend and PRO Kaspersky Motorsport driver Marco Cioci, who was racing here for another team.
Davide and Alex will have to wait until the beginning of September to race again, when the GT Open Series makes camp at the iconic Silverstone circuit in England. However, our Ferrari 488 GT3 is crossing Europe yet again, in preparation for the biggest race of the GT championship year and the highlight of the Blancpain Endurance Series, the Total 24 Hours of Spa. That race takes place on 27 to 30 July, the same weekend that Formula 1 comes to the Hungaroring, but we will be in action at the brilliant Belgian circuit this coming Tuesday, 4 July, when all the teams can take part in a test day.
Hopefully the previous day’s activity will be well and truly over before then, as on Monday 3 July the track best known for high speed motor sport welcomes the Tour de France for Stage 3 of this year’s famous cycle race.