Red Bull AF Corse drivers Felipe Fraga and Nick Cassidy.
© Julian Kroehl / Red Bull Content Pool
DTM

Felipe Fraga and Nick Cassidy aim for the top with Ferrari’s home advantage

AF Corse wants to celebrate the third stop of the German Touring Car Championship at home in style.
Written by Gerhard Kuntschik
4 min readPublished on
The legendary Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola has a kind of magic for all racing fans and drivers, not least for Italian team AF Corse who bring their stunning Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 to race on the marque’s hallowed home ground.
“Imola will be a good track for our Ferraris. It is our home race, everyone will give 120 percent. Extra motivation is without doubt in every one of us. I am looking forward very positively,” says AF Corse team manager Ron Reichert.
31-year-old Reichert joined the team in the winter of 2020 when AF Corse were considering racing in DTM. “It was a new championship to me because I’d been working in Japan in the Super GT series. But I knew Amato (Ferrari) for some time.
“We’d been opponents in the racing scene, but we always had the greatest respect for each other as fair racers.
“Sometimes, even if there were reasons for protests, we wouldn’t take them up because we both firmly believed that races should be decided on tracks. We’d tried to go into business together a few times... it never worked out until, finally, all parts came together when AF Corse entered DTM,” added the team’s German manager.
Nick Cassidy racing in the stunning Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in its AlphaTauri livery.

Nick Cassidy in the stunning AlphaTauri Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020

© Julian Kroehl / Red Bull Content Pool

Established by former racing driver Amato Ferrari (no relation to Enzo), Piacenza-based AF Corse have enjoyed massive success in GT racing. With five titles in the World Endurance Championship with Ferrari, four team championships and four class victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours. “We race around 60 cars in DTM, WEC, Michelin Cup, GT Open, GT World Challenge Europe and America, Ferrari Challenge, IMSA, Asian Le Mans and so on.
Our aim is to win the DTM drivers and team championship
Ron Reichert
“Our customers appreciate our approach and Amato’s no-nonsense attitude,” Reichert says. “Our main focus is DTM which is a very important project for us.”
Drivers Felipe Fraga and Nick Cassidy haven’t enjoyed the best of luck in the opening two rounds. A malfunctioning high-pressure fuel pump caused Fraga’s Ferrari to catch fire at the Lausitzring. That means the Brazilian will be racing a new 488 GT3 Evo at Imola.
“Finding out the reason for this took some time as we were also in the middle of the preparing for Le Mans,” Reichert admits. AF Corse had nine entries racing around Le Mans and five more competing in the Road to Le Mans feeder series. In all, the team had 200 people working on the famous 24-hour race.
“Our aim is to win the DTM drivers and team championship. We can’t compete for the manufacturers’ title because other brands field three cars and we race only two,” Reichert explains. Looking back on AF Corse’s first season in DTM, he admits: “We are proud we won the team category in our first year. We don’t think about losing the driver championship controversially in Nuremberg, we prefer to look to the future.”
After a fire wrecked his Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, Felipe Fraga will compete in a new Ferrari at Imola this weekend.

Felipe Fraga will race a new Ferrari at Imola

© Julian Kroehl / Red Bull Content Pool

Everyone is happy with the performance of DTM rookie Fraga. “I really hope he has all his bad luck behind him after the collision in Portimão and the fire in Lausitz. He deserves better.
“The two retirements were absolutely not his fault. He had more retirements in two weekends than many drivers have in a whole season,” Reichert believes. “We knew from the beginning that he is very quick. He proved his speed in the USA, in Brazil, and in Le Mans. His pace is very good. And Nick showed he can always be a front-runner. I know him well from his time in Japan. Anyone who can win Super GT and Super Formula is an outstanding driver.”
But Reichert admits the team face stiff competition in DTM. “In sprint racing, DTM is the most challenging series of all GT3 competitions. And 15 to 18 drivers are capable of winning.”

Part of this story

Nick Cassidy

A single-seater racer from a young age, New Zealand’s Nick Cassidy is a title-winning machine, and a force to be reckoned with.

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Felipe Fraga

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