The excitement for the FIA World Endurance Championship was enhanced when Riccardo Pera announced that he would join GR Racing’s Mike Wainwright and Ben Barker for the upcoming 2022 WEC championship. Tom Gamble, last year’s Silver rated GR Racing driver was upgraded to Gold for the 2022 season. Team principal Mike Wainwright is Bronze-rated, while experienced driver Ben Barker is already Gold-rated. The team needed a silver-rated driver, unfortunately meaning Gamble had to move on. The Silver-rated Riccardo Pera now completes the GR Racing team, completing the FIA requirements for the upcoming Championship. The Italian took to social media to confirm the same. Through his Instagram account, Pera confirmed he would be joining the GR Racing team for the 2022 supercar championship.
22-Year-old Pera drove for Team Project-1 in 2021, taking part in five of the six races of the year. Earlier, he signed with Dempsey-Proton Racing for 2018-19 and 2019-20. Initially Pera was only involved in the six-hour races. He later covered the entire season. Pera’s biggest WEC highlight so far was a second-place finish at Portimao. The 2022 season will be his third WEC championship.
This year marks the sixth consecutive GTE-Am season for GR Racing, and the second under the GR Racing name, previously racing under the Gulf Racing name. GR Racing will drive their #86 Porsche 911 RSR this season.
The 2021 Season featured five Ferrari 488 GTEs, three Aston Martin Vantage AMRs and the remaining cars all Porsches. Moving to the #86 Porsche 911 should be no challenge for Pera, having raced 911s at Team Project-1 and Dempsey-Proton prior to joining GR Racing.
GR Racing had a tough 2021 season with mechanical issues, poor weather conditions and a pre-race crash at Spa Francorchamps leading the team to finish with 23 points. Despite the difficult start the team pushed hard to deliver personal and team bests, with an almost flawless 6th place finish in the 6 hours of Bahrain.
Compared to his peers, team principal Mike Wainwright started late, yet made an instant impact. The Renault Clio Cup in Dubai back in 2010 set the stage for his debut. Finishing 5th, he went on to compete against some best names on-field in GT Racing. Wainwright embarked on the International Le Mans racing scene in 2011, bringing the famous Gulf Racing marque and livery back to Le Mans with Roald Goethe.
Through 2012 and 2013, Wainwright competed in a McLaren MP4 12-C in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Gulf Racing transitioned into the European Le Mans Series in 2014, with the Porsche 911 RSR GTE. Wainwright took first place at Silverstone with Ben Barker and Adam Carroll.Wainwright entered the World Endurance Championship in 2016. With a dream of finishing the Le Mans 24 Hours, he drove the Porsche, finishing in 5th place. Wainwright and team returned to the World Endurance Championship in 2017, finishing 3rd in class in Mexico and completing the 24 Hours of Le Mans once again.