James Calado, Ferrari Hypercar driver: “Our first objective will be to learn as quickly as possible”
“What does it mean for you to join the Hypercar category with Ferrari?
It’s a dream for me, for us, to be able to race at this level of competition. We’ve had a lot of success in GT and that’s another challenge ahead of us. I am delighted to be part of this program, it is clearly a step forward. We are very excited but there is obviously a lot to learn. This first race at Sebring will allow us to know more about our level.
You completed two tests at Sebring before last weekend’s Prologue. What was your goal?
Every lap we do at the wheel of this car is crucial, whether for the drivers or the engineers. Each time, we try to progress. We find something that works, something that doesn’t. At Sebring we ran a test program designed by the engineers to get the car ready for the first race. These are obviously different cars from GTs, it takes time to manage to adjust them well, to use them well.
“What will change profoundly is traffic management”
How different is driving a Hypercar? Is there a big step to take?
We have all driven a lot in this car, we have probably done as many kilometers in tests as in a full season. So I don’t think the piloting is problematic, it has already become natural. What will change profoundly is traffic management. When we drove a GT, we often complained about the prototypes, but now we will be in the opposite situation. It will surely take us some time to get used to it.
The #51 Ferrari 499P will be driven by James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Antonio Giovinazzi. (P. Eight/Sports Press)
The team and its riders will make their debut in the premier category. Do you feel like rookies?
As pilots, yes, we are rookies. But we also have a great experience of this Championship. Certainly in GT, but we know all the procedures and we already have a lot of kilometers in this car. We therefore have a good working basis, even if when we take the start of the first race, we will be a bit in the dark on many aspects.
“We can’t wait to start, to measure ourselves against our rivals”
With Vanwall, you will be the only team not to have competed in a race before Sebring. This could be a disadvantage…
It won’t be an advantage, that’s for sure. But that’s the way it is, we can’t do anything about it. The car is new, the team is making its debut in this category. But she worked a lot to be ready, to make the car reliable and efficient. Obviously we can’t predict what will happen on Friday, but we’re looking forward to the start, to test ourselves against our rivals, hoping that the good results will come quickly.
What are Ferrari’s ambitions for this first season in Hypercar?
Ferrari’s return to the category is logically making a lot of noise. But we cannot arrive by claiming: “We will win immediately!”. Even though we already have a lot of experience behind the wheel of this car, it is brand new, and a lot of problems can still happen in races. Our first objective will be to learn as quickly as possible, to improve the car. Obviously, we hope to win races, the Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But we can’t expect to do that in the first season. We would be delighted if that happens, but the level of competition is very high. »