Team Puts New Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO 2020 to Test in 24 Hour Race
Scuderia Corsa put the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO to the ultimate test running green to the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway in the iconic IMSA 24 At Daytona.
The Scuderia Corsa team finished seventh in the GT Daytona Class after running the entirety of the twice-around-the-clock classic. The team executed flawlessly over the duration of the race with error-free pit stops. The drivers answered their pit crew’s performance by remaining focused and avoiding all possible incidents on-track. The No. 63 never faltered, even taking the lead of the GTD field at nightfall under the guidance of Ferrari Factory Driver Toni Vilander.
Each driver seemed to take his turn running out front with Scuderia Corsa running in the top five for much of the race. WeatherTech Racing Driver Cooper MacNeil maneuvered around the competition smoothly, earning cheers from his teammates in the pitlane. Scuderia Corsa Veterans Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal experienced some of the infrequent full-course cautions and took full advantage of their racecraft on restarts.
For MacNeil, the race takeaway was focused on the hard work of all involved.
“It was a good first outing for a brand-new race car from Ferrari, so thank you to them for building such a reliable race car,” MacNeil said. “It’s a shame we didn’t seem to have the speed the other cars showed, but it definitely wasn’t from lack of effort. A big thanks to everyone at Scuderia Corsa and WeatherTech Racing for the hard work. Obviously, not where we wanted to be at the finish, but I think we got some decent MICHELIN Endurance Cup points, and we’ll take this as a learning experience moving forward.”
For Westphal, Daytona ignited a continued excitement for the upcoming 12-hour race.
“You have to look big picture. You have to think about the next race and the next three after that,” Westphal said. “You have to focus on scoring as many points with what you have and move on because there’s a championship at the end of the year, and it’s pretty sweet to win. The new Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO 2020 definitely is a different machine than what we had before; I like a lot of the upgrades. At a high-speed track like this, I think we could have used a little more testing. We made hay with what we had; the new machine is really good. I’m looking forward to giving it a shot at Sebring because a lot of the attributes the car has should be really sharp at Sebring, so I’m very excited about the next race.”
For Balzan, he felt pride in the machine prepared for him and the drivers.
“I think that the EVO is a great car,” Balzan said. “Here we were really strong in the corners. The car has massive downforce. I think for the kind of track that Daytona is we were needing a little bit more top speed, maybe that was a little bit of B.o.P, but this car is impressive. The car had a good balance once we found good pressure in the tires. The team did a great job fine-tuning the car; it was really nice to drive. I think we are a little bit disappointed because it is strange when you have a car that drives well, but you aren’t performing. I think we did our best today. The drivers, really no one, made one mistake. I think today, with more luck, we had a top-five car.”
For Vilander, Daytona presents an opportunity to learn.
“We really believed we had a chance to win,” Vilander said. “But, at one point, it was obvious that we just didn’t have the speed. Even cruising around towards the end of the race, I couldn’t stay with the winning cars in our category in the infield. Coming out Turn 6, we’d pull fifth or sixth gear, and they would just pull away. I had no chance, at this level, to recover from that loss [of power] in a straight line. It’s a bit frustrating. We also need to analyze why we lost even more [ground] during the daytime. During the day, it felt even worse.”
For Team Owner Giacomo Mattioli believes this race is something his team can build upon.
“The team executed well, but I guess not well enough,” Mattioli said. “On Sunday morning our competitors found additional speed that we couldn’t match, I found that interesting. We took home a good amount of endurance cup points and a great sense of pride as we gave it all and didn’t leave anything on the table. I am proud of the team and looking forward to Sebring.”
Next up for the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 EVO 2020 is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring during the Super Sebring event weekend. The weekend kicks off at Sebring International Raceway Thursday, Mar. 19 with Practice One at 8:50 a.m. ET followed by Practice Two at 2:00 p.m. and Practice 3 at 7:30 p.m. The team returns to the track Friday for Practice Four at 9:00 a.m. and Qualifying at 9:45 a.m. Finally, the race begins Saturday, Mar. 21 at 10:40 a.m. For event details and ticket sales, visit http://imsa.com.