DAYTONA BEACH, Fl. (January 29, 2016)- Having raced now for 15 straight hours of a 24-hour race, Scuderia Corsa have emerged at the famed 24 Hours of Daytona as a clear contender, crossing the halfway point in fourth after leading on multiple occasions. Debuting the 488 GT3 at Daytona in the No. 63 Ferrari, drivers Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan, Matteo Cressoni and Sam Bird have endured wet weather and now unbearably cold conditions to hold a strong showing in the early laps, priming the team for a great position as they look to finish out the night and engage in a long Sunday to the finish.
After Alessandro Balzan qualified the No. 63 Ferrari on the front row, the outright pace was evident as Balzan battled heavily with the race leader, pitting 45 minutes in for co-driver Christina Nielsen.
“It felt great to be back in,” stated co-driver Christina Nielsen. “It was nice to find the rhythm, our spotters did a great job, the whole team did a great job, I just enjoyed being out there having a great battle with the other drivers. I feel like I’ve experienced close competition so far but very fair racing, which I really liked. We’re only a few hours in to the race, so we just have to stick to our plan, stick to our strategy and don’t have any major problems, we’re definitely in contention.”
After a strong run at the front of the field, the team would rotate through Nielsen, then Cressoni, setting the stage for an impressive stint by Sam Bird leading to the important six-hour mark, which is the first of four milestones to score points in the series’ North American Endurance Championship.
The IMSA North American Endurance Championship awards points at the 6, 12, 18 and 24 hour milestones, which would prove critical for Bird.
Just 15 minutes from the critical points-scoring six-hour marker, a falling of rain would lead much of the field to pit for wet tires; with the team taking the decision to remain on slicks allowing Sam to cross the line at six-hours in second position, scoring valuable points.
“When I got in the car it was already really dark,” stated Bird. “I was cautious at first to make sure there were no mistakes, but once we got in a rhythm we were fighting for the lead the whole way through. Then it started to rain more heavily and more heavily, to the point where going on slicks was very very difficult. We were sliding around a lot, but I had a fun battle exchanging leads quite a lot, which was good fun.”
Since then, all drivers have cycled through successfully, with Alessandro Balzan crossing the line at the 12-hour mark in fourth place, continuing to garner valuable points toward the team’s North American Endurance Championship efforts.
Continued updates can be found on the team’s social media channels, as well as full race coverage on imsa.com.
The race can be followed internationally on imsa.tv, or within the US via FOX Sports 2 from now until 1PM ET, and then on FOX Sports 1 from 1PM to the race end at 2:30PM.
About Scuderia Corsa
2016 IMSA GTD Champion, 2016 24Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am winner, 2016 6H of Watkins Glen Winner, 2016 12H of Sebring Winner, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTA Champion, 2015 24Hours of Le Mans Podium, 2015 IMSA GTD and 2013 Grand-AM GT championship-winning team Scuderia Corsa was founded in 2013 by Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo. Follow Scuderia Corsa on Twitter @Scuderia_Corsa, on Facebook at Scuderia Corsa, Instagram at #Scuderiacorsaferrari and ScuderiaCorsa.com
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Picture Credit to Bob Chapman, Autosport Image