March 16, 2014 (Sebring, Fla.) – A strong first half of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring for the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia led to another frustrating result for last season’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champions.
From the drop of the green flag, the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari – which was started by Alessandro Balzan, before teammates Jeff Westphal, Lorenzo Case’, and Kyle Marcelli cycled through the car – was a contender in the GT-Daytona class. The car led the class on several occasions with Westphal leading the most laps of the race for the squad, and ran well within the top five throughout the pit stop cycles, staying out of trouble during a race marred with several caution periods and one red flag.
Just before the eight hour mark of the race, while running in fourth position, Case’ was forced to pit to allow the team to diagnose an electrical problem that had started during his stint. Further problems later in the race would cause the car to go many more laps down. The Scuderia Corsa crew was able to get the Ferrari back on track in the closing stages, and team newcomer Kyle Marcelli set the team’s fastest lap in the closing stages of the race.
“The team did a big job to give us a great car,” said Balzan “This weekend, things went really well, but at the end of the race we had some problems that took our car out of contention. The Ferrari was really good, very fast, easy to drive. Now, we just look to Laguna Seca.”
Balzan’s teammate Westphal, shared his thoughts.
“We had a plan this race, and we executed it perfectly, leading a bunch of laps,” said Westphal. “As the track got hot and the conditions got worse, the Ferrari remained a very easy car to drive. It’s too bad we didn’t get the chance to battle for the win at the end, especially when you consider how good the car was. Clearly, at the end of the race, the car had great pace and we could have been battling for the lead, but we will regroup and prepare for Laguna Seca!”
“The entire Scuderia Corsa team and drivers showed a lot of speed and a lot of competitiveness today in our first 12 Hours of Sebring,” said Giacomo Mattioli, team owner of Scuderia Corsa. “We were all very motivated to do well at Sebring, a track where Ferrari has enjoyed so much success and celebrated so many victories, and a track where we enjoyed the company of many of our friends and partners. But unfortunately for us, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m very proud of the effort that our drivers and crew put in to put a competitive car on the track.”
The next round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship that the GT-D class will compete in will be the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California on May 3-4.