8Star Motorsports welcome Malucelli for Spa
On the heels of a podium finish in its FIA World Endurance Championship debut, 8Star Motorsports enters this weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with plenty of momentum, as the South Florida-based organization looks to continue its streak of success leading up to the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
8Star kicked off its FIA WEC campaign with encouraging results last month at Silverstone, where the American team's No. 81 Ferrari 458 Italia recorded a third place finish in the competitive LMGTE Am class. For Saturday’s round, held at the historic 7.0-km, 20-turn Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Ferrari-blessed driver Matteo Malucelli joins Enzo Potolicchio and Rui Aguas at the wheel of the orange-colored car in the second round of the eight-race World Championship.
Malucelli, a former Italian GT Champion and runner-up in the 2008 FIA GT Championship, brings nearly a decade of Ferrari experience to the 8Star team, including recent success in the American Le Mans Series, where he currently drives for Risi Competizione. The 28-year-old Italian will be making his FIA WEC debut.
With the growth of 8Star, which has plans to debut in the ALMS Prototype Challenge ranks and expand to a two-car Daytona Prototype operation this summer, team principal Potolicchio, the 2012 LMP2 World Champion, has decided to focus his full-season driving efforts in the FIA WEC this year. Remarkably, Potolicchio has achieved 8 podium finishes in the 9 FIA WEC races entered to date, showcasing his strength on the world’s stage as he pursues back-to-back driver titles.
“I really like Spa and was very fast there last year,” said Potolicchio. “In fact, it was the only race where we weren’t able to finish on the podium after I got hit by an Audi. I’m looking forward to going back there and finishing in a good position for the championship. But we need the WEC to take a look at the balance of performance because the Aston Martins, out of the box, were just too fast. I hope they will make changes after this race so that we will have a fair chance at Le Mans.
“For now, we just have to trust in our team, which has been doing a great job,” Potolicchio added. “We have a very reliable car and just have to keep fighting. Spa will be important preparation for Le Mans, especially as I’m still getting used to the Ferrari GTE car. I struggled a little bit in the beginning at Silverstone because it was my first time in the car in the dry, so I had to adapt quickly. But I had a very good average at the end. I think Spa will be a good track to get some more time in the car and get ready for Le Mans.”
From 8Star Motorsports team press release
Photo: MATTEO MALUCELLI, WHO JOINS 8STAR MOTORSPORTS IN THE NO.81 FERRARI 458 LMGTE AM FOR THE 6 HOURS OF SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS WEC