Vicious Rumour Racing has taken delivery of the first Ferrari 488 GT3 to arrive in Australia.
It comes ahead of the car’s global competition debut in the second round of the Australian GT Championship at the Australian Grand Prix next month.
Successor to the race winning Ferrari 458 GT3, the all-new 488 was unveiled at Mugello during Ferrari’s Finali Mondiali, its end of season celebration event, in 2015.
The car received by Vicious Rumour Racing was the second off the Maranello production line and completed a trouble-free shakedown at Ferrari’s private test track at Fiorano prior to being shipped to Australia.
According to team owner Tony Defelice, the 488 GT3 marks a step forward in every area over the 458 GT3.
“The Ferrari 488 GT3 is a purpose built race car,” said Defelice. “It takes the lessons of the 458 GT3 and improves in every aspect.
“It’s a purpose built GT3 car where the 458 was a road car that had a couple of upgrades to make it a GT3 car. It had some limitations because of that, which the 488 doesn’t have.”
Earlier this month members from Vicious Rumour Racing travelled to Italy while Ferrari will send technicians to assist the team over the course of the Grand Prix weekend.
Defelice in particular is excited to see how the car performs, though won’t be getting behind the wheel himself until later in the season.
“The Australian GT Championship hasn’t raced at Albert Park for a number of years,” Defelice said of his decision to debut the car at the second round of the championship.
“With the development in GT racing everyone heads there with an almost clean slate, putting us on equal footing with the other teams.
“From there we’re working out our programme. We need to make it work with not only what we want to do but also what Andrea (Montermini) is doing too, since his experience is a vital part of our team.”
Former Formula One driver Andrea Montermini will race the Vicious Rumour Racing entry alongside Benny Simonsen at Albert Park, the pair having teamed up alongside Defelice and Ronarto Loberto at the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour where they finished fourth in class.
Defelice plans a limited programme in the 2016 CAMS Australian GT Championship before building on the experience for the 2017 season.
The Victorian only moved into circuit racing in 2011 having competed in Top Doorslammer drag racing for over 15 years.
His introduction to circuit racing came when he purchased a Ferrari 458 GT3 and received tuition from Ferrari test driver Andrea Montermini at Imola.
The pair formed a strong bond and have competed together on numerous occasions since.
A family man with five young children, Defelice continues to compete in drag racing alongside his circuit racing programme and business commitments.
He aims to gain experience with his new Ferrari 488 GT3 domestically before testing his mettle in Europe.
“When I drove the 458 at Imola I was shocked at first,” Defelice admitted. “But then after a few sessions I got used to it and really started to enjoy it.
“From that point I had a bucket list; I wanted to drive at Monza and Barcelona. I’d still like to race at the Spa 24 Hours and the Nurburgring.
“Before I do that we want to get some experience and data with the 488. We’ll choose our programme carefully this year as we learn the car and then see what we can achieve in the Australian GT Championship next year.
“After that I’d like to head to Europe and tick off a few more things from that bucket list!”
Motorsport news courtesy of Velocity Magazine; Australia’s leading monthly motorsport magazine. Buy online at vmag.com.au