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Shwartzman has "zero doubt" he is ready for WEC Hypercar move after Ferrari test

Ferrari Formula 1 reserve Robert Shwartzman has “zero doubt” he is ready to step up to World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class after a successful maiden test with Ferrari.

#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Lilou Wadoux, Robert Shwartzman

Shwartzman got to sample Ferrari’s Le Mans 24 Hours-winning LMH car at the official WEC rookie test in Bahrain last Sunday, just over a month after scoring his first victory in the GT World Challenge Europe series in Barcelona.

Completing 30 laps at the wheel of the #51 Ferrari 499P, the 24-year-old posted a best time of 1m48.559s to end the day at the top of the timesheets, beating Jota Porsche’s full-timer Will Stevens by 0.066s.

The Russian-Israeli has tested a wide variety of cars since exiting Formula 2 at the end of the 2021 season, including IndyCar, Formula 1 and Formula E, but this marked his first outing in a prototype sportscar.

Speaking after the test, Shwartzman said his pace in the Ferrari LMH was proof that he can move up the Hypercar category in 2024, and feels he won’t gain anything by continuing in GTWCE for another year.

“I'm open for everything, so I really hope that after this test there is going to be an opportunity to try the Hypercar and just race properly, [and] feel the whole experience of endurance racing,” he said.

“In the test I've shown enough that I'm fully ready for that car and I have zero doubt about it. 

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari AF Corse

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

Robert Shwartzman, Ferrari AF Corse

“I'm generally very, very quick to adapt to anything. Like when I did the IndyCar test, I was straight on at the moment and faster [than everyone else]. 

“With FE also when we did the Berlin test, it was also very good there. For me it doesn't require much time. I'm a very quick learner and that's what I can say I'm proud of. 

“So I did a season in GT3. I already [have a] feel [of] the endurance [format]. I know more or less how things work. I don't need another year. 

“I don't see anything that I will learn more than I have already now. My ambition and target is obviously to step up next year.”

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Ahead of last weekend’s Bahrain 8 Hours, Ferrari stated it is exploring the possibility of supporting a third LMH car in the full 2024 WEC season, although a final decision behind expanding the programme beyond the two factory entries is yet to be made.

The Italian manufacturer also suggested that it will not make any changes to its existing driver line-up, meaning there will be no vacancies in 2024 unless an agreement could be reached with a customer team to run an additional LMH car with support from the factory.

Shwartzman hopes he will be considered by Ferrari for the potential third car, which could possibly be run by AF Corse with backing from Richard Mille.

“I'm really looking forward to driving with Ferrari in a hypercar so they will decide,” he said.

“I don't know about the third car, will they do it, will they not. But if they do I really hope they will consider me. 

“But I generally hope that especially after this test that I've shown what I am ready and I'm quick to learn anything and that they are going to be interested.”

Apart from Shwartzman, Ferrari also gave factory GT driver Lilou Wadoux the chance to try out the 499P at the Bahrain International Circuit, with the 22-year-old setting a best time of 1m49.488s after completing 30 laps in the car.

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