AF Corse builds fulltime American operation based in Miami
AF Corse runs almost 90 Ferrari cars in various GT series around the globe – including its multiple title-winning FIA World Endurance Championship squad – and is now aiming to have a larger footprint in the American market.
It has previously setup a raceshop in Silverstone, England – primarily to manage the Ferrari Challenge UK – in addition to its Piacenza base in Italy, and will replicate that satellite operation in Miami to run its American-based efforts.
“We love American racing, so we have a project in front of us because the American market is really important for Ferrari,” said Ferrari. “We are starting AF Corse USA at The Concours Club in Miami. It’s a small but nice facility, and we plan to run Ferrari Challenge cars for any dealerships that ask for our technical assistance.
“For the moment in the US we have confirmed the GT World Challenge with Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald, and we’ll do all the long-distance IMSA races [Endurance Cup] with Cetilar Racing, and Simon Mann’s car along with Toni Vilander.
“So quite a good start, and of course we’d like to be ready to do the full season IMSA next year with the new 296, which we change to after many years with the 488. So we will also use this year to develop that team with some full-time people in the US, plus some crucial people from Europe, like race engineers and so on. We are hoping that can work well.”
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The Concours Club circuit overview, Miami
Photo by: Maxel Pupo
AF Corse has been associated with Ferrari since 2006 and ran the factory WEC GTE Pro squad since 2012.
It will also field Ferrari’s return to top-line sportscar racing next year and is currently developing the new Le Mans Hypercar, to be entered under the ‘Ferrari – AF Corse’ banner, in a collaborative effort with the marque’s Competizioni GT department run by Antonello Coletta.
“This year we have started to develop the hypercar, and of course that project is for WEC but you never know what might happen after that, we’ll see,” said Ferrari when asked if he could manage a top-class IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entry with the new car. “We have to be ready in case that happens, but this question is for Antonello Coletta – I don’t know!
“Just look at the grid for this year’s Daytona 24 Hours, this moment for sportscars in America can be huge, especially in the future, with their new LMDh rules, and maybe the arrival of the hypercar – we shall see how that might work. So it’s a good moment to start our operation in the United States, to be ready in case.”
Amato Ferrari, Director of AF Corse
Photo by: Vision Sport Agency
Ferrari GT boss Coletta has given his backing to AF Corse’s move to America and says the manufacturer’s ties to his race team are important for this expansion into the US market.
“This is another step of Amato, to join his buildings in Piacenza and Silverstone, to be in Miami,” said Coletta. “He’s a good team manager, a good commercial manager, and I think it’s very important to have activity in the US as it’s the best moment probably for a European company in this market.
“Many, many customers here want activities on the track. It’s a good opportunity to make a good business.”
Expanding on how he sees the US operation working in the meantime in the GT arena, Ferrari added of his plans: “We wish to develop good relationships with gentleman drivers here, more or less to replicate the business we have in Europe. I think we have a well-known brand now. We will have five full-time people in the US and one managing director.
“It’s a small team, because it’s not a big activity at the moment, but we can send a lot of people to races by plane. In Sebring, for example, we will have most of our Europeans present to support our cars.”