Last-ever GTE Pro title for Ferrari will be "cherry on cake" - Calado

James Calado says becoming the last-ever GTE Pro champion will be a “cherry on the cake” for Ferrari after all the past success it has enjoyed in the World Endurance Championship.

Last-ever GTE Pro title for Ferrari will be "cherry on cake" - Calado

Ferrari is hoping to score back-to-back titles in the GTE Pro class this year following Calado and Alessando Pier Guidi’s championship success in 2021, with the Italian manufacturer again locked in a close fight with Porsche for top honours.

Calado and Pier Guidi take an 11-point lead into Saturday’s Bahrain 8 Hours finale over Michael Christensen in the best of the two Porsches, with Christensen admitting on Friday that Ferrari has had the edge over long runs in practice.

Calado hopes Ferrari can clinch the class title in GTE Pro on Saturday before it returns to the top echelon of sportscar racing in 2023 with the 499P LMH car.

“[It’s the] final round for a lot of things including the GTE Pro class, which has been great, great entertainment over the last few years,” Calado told Autosport.

“It's always special to win races and championships with Ferrari and obviously to finish [the GTE Pro era] on a high would be like the cherry on top of the cake.

"[But] we don't treat it any differently [to other races], if we win we win and it's great and if we lose we lose.

“That's the way it is. All we know is that we will give our 100%.”

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO of James Calado

#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO of James Calado

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The GTE Pro division became a fan-favourite due to heavy manufacturer involvement and close competition, with the total number of entries at the Le Mans 24 Hours peaking at 17 cars in 2019.

Ferrari has won the GTE Pro title five times since 2013, including in consecutive years in 2013 and ‘14, and has scored the same number of victories at Le Mans during this period.

Asked how he would look back at the GTE Pro era of sportscar racing, Calado said: “I think it's been really good racing. [When] everybody says top class everyone assumes LMH but honestly, we've got the top class of GT, it's the same. It's just a different car. 

“I think we produced very exciting races, very close races. And yeah, the highlights were obviously the two championships, winning Le Mans twice. 

“We've got great success with the 488, it's been a great car. It's an old car now but it's been a superb car to drive. We've always been there or thereabout.”

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