As reported in Sportscar 365 Sam Bird will return to Ferrari’s FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro driver lineup for this year’s 1000 Miles of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans enduros.
The British driver will share the #71 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo with Miguel Molina and his former WEC full-season co-driver Davide Rigon in both races.
Brazilian Daniel Serra will join Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado in the #51 machine for the same events to reunite last year’s Le Mans-winning lineup.
Bird, who also drives for Envision Virgin in Formula E, lost his full-time Ferrari WEC seat ahead of the current 2019-20 season because of date clashes between the two series. Originally, the 6 Hours of Spa conflicted with Formula E on the first weekend of May while Sebring was due to clash with the Sanya E-Prix in March.
The first conflict was resolved by the WEC moving the Spa race date while Formula E’s Sanya visit was postponed because of the recent coronavirus outbreak. Another clash between the 8 Hours of Bahrain held last December and a provisional Formula E round that was later removed also impeded Bird’s plans to remain in WEC.
Ferrari ran two drivers in each of its cars in Bahrain and will do the same at Spa, but the marque added additional drivers for the second year in a row at Sebring, enabling Bird to drive in the 1000 Miles.
It’s understood that Ferrari had planned to run its #71 car with only two drivers and the usual three in #the 51 before the Sanya E-Prix was put on hold.
The director of Ferrari’s GT racing division Antonello Coletta explained that Bird remains “part of our family” despite the complications surrounding his availability. “We will have the same lineup of drivers of the last Le Mans and the next Le Mans,” he said. “Fortunately, we don’t have a clash with Formula E and we are very happy to again have Sam as our driver.
“Sam is a Ferrari driver but with a different involvement. He has been with Ferrari for WEC but it’s been impossible to have a driver for just a small number of races. We spoke very clearly with him and he understood the situation. After Formula E changed the calendar, during the year we [now] have zero date problems.”
Coletta admitted that Ferrari has not set any further race outings for Bird beyond Sebring and Le Mans.