Ferrari reserve Shwartzman's has 'zero doubt' over move to WEC

Robert Shwartzman (RUS) / (ISR) Ferrari Reserve Driver. 04.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir, Bahrain, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images
© XPB 

Ferrari Formula 1 reserve Robert Shwartzman insists that he has “zero doubt” about being ready to move up to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class in 2024.

A month after claiming his first victory in the GT World Challenge Europe series in Barcelona, Shwartzman tried out Ferrari’s Le Mans 24 Hours-winning LMH car at last Sunday's official WEC rookie test at Bahrain International Circuit.

The 24-year-old topped the timesheets for the day with a best lap time of 1:48.559s after 30 laps in the #51 Ferrari 499P, beating existing full-time Jota Porsche driver Will Stevens by 0.066s.

Ferrari also gave factory GT driver Lilou Wadoux the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the 499P, setting a best time of 1:49.488s over the same number of laps.

Shwartzman was runner up with Prema in the 2021 Formula 2 series, and since then has tried his hand in IndyCar and Formula E as well as free practice appearances in 2022 with Ferrari in the US and Abu Dhabi, and this year at Zandvoort.

But this was his first taste of Hypercars, and it's convinced him that it's time to take the step up rather than run a second campaign in GTWCE.

“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," he said, adding that he was keen to "feel the whole experience of endurance racing".

Antonio Fuoco (ITA) / Miguel Molina (ESP) / Nicklas Nielsen (DEN) #50 Ferrari AF Corse, Ferrari 499P. 03.11.2023. FIA World Endurance Championship, Round 7, Eight Hours of Bahrain, Sakhir, Bahrain, Friday. -, EMail: © Copyright: Moy/XPB Images

“In the test I've shown enough that I'm fully ready for that car and I have zero doubt about it," he continued. “I'm generally very, very quick to adapt to anything. Like when I did the IndyCar test, I was straight on it and faster.

“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.

Shwartzman said it had been the same tin GT3. "I know more or less how things work, I don't need another year," he insisted. “I don't see anything that I will learn more than I have already now.

Robert Shwartzman (RUS) / (ISR) Ferrari Reserve Driver. 03.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 21, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Qualifying Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

Ferrari already supports two full-time factory entries in WEC and is not considering changing the existing driver line-ups. But it revealed last week that it's exploring the possibility of adding a third car in 2024 run by AF Corse with backing from Richard Mille.

“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," Shwartzman said. "[I hope] I've shown I'm ready, quick to learn anything and that they are going to be interested.”

“I'm really looking forward to driving with Ferrari in a Hypercar, but they will decide,” he added.

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