There’s a new car in the British GT Championship at Silverstone, as FF Corse give the Ferrari 488 GT3 a UK competition debut.
The car is owned by Fox Motorsport’s Paul McNeilly, but has been leased to Anthony Cheshire’s specialist Ferrari outfit for use by customers – such as 2014 British GT champion Marco Attard – looking to stay race-sharp.
Attard is joined in this weekend’s three-hour race by Adam Carroll, who drove an FF Corse Ferrari 458 with Garry Eastwood in two part-seasons during 2014 and 2015. The Northern Irishman comes fresh from a first British GT victory last time out at Oulton Park, having agreed a two-race deal to partner Liam Griffin in a Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan until Alexander Sims became available for the second half of the season.
Carroll explained that the 488 is a more aerodynamically capable machine than its predecessor, but is also more nervous around Silverstone’s high-speed turns. The Ferrari will start from eighth on the 51-car grid after the aggregate qualifying session, although Carroll demonstrated the 488’s ultimate potential with a time just 0.025s behind the pole-sitting Team Parker Racing Bentley of Seb Morris.
“In general now, modern GT3s are all quite similar, they’re all quite sophisticated, trick cars, with lots of downforce,” he said. “It’s more when you get into the finer details like the gear change, electronics, ABS and those kinds of things where you start to notice the differences.
“The 458 was a really mechanically good car, nice to drive, well-balanced, with a good engine and good brakes, but it just lacked aero compared to the BMWs and Aston Martins, particularly on the British circuits.
“What comes between them is that the 488 is probably a little bit more sophisticated in terms of setup and what it takes to get them into that sweet spot for you to get most out of them. The engineers need to work a bit harder, they’re a little bit more sensitive to track conditions and as a driver as well they can be a touch edgier, but they’re definitely quicker.”
Having joined only run the car for the first time in an open test on Friday, Carroll added that FF have a tough battle on their hands to take on the championship’s established frontrunners straight away, but was pleased with the improvements made over the course of the weekend.
“When you come into any championship mid-way through, people need to understand how hard it is,” he said. “British GT is a very high level championship and after racing with Barwell for two weekends, I can understand why they are where they are because they work really hard on making the cars go as fast as they can and understanding what makes them fast.
“That’s something that is not very easy to come in and do, so FF are doing a very good job and we’ve made a big step forward from yesterday to today.”