SEBRING, FL (March 18, 2018) – Following a final push that would see the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 advance four positions in the closing 45 minutes, Scuderia Corsa and drivers Cooper MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette, and Alessandro Balzan would take second place during today’s 66th Annual Twelve Hours of Sebring. Serving as the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and North American Endurance Cup, the team would take its fourth consecutive GTD class podium in Sebring, following a third-place in 2015, win in 2016 and second-place in 2017.
Qualifying sixth, the 12-hour classic would fail to disappoint in its trademark excitement, with the tight confines of the bumpy circuit producing a string of incidents and caution periods resulting in a series of wheel-to-wheel battles.
Advancing up and down the order throughout the race, the true excitement would occur after the final round of pit stops, where Alessandro Balzan would mount a closing effort to go from sixth to the podium. With 30 minutes to go, Balzan would stalk the third-place competitor for several laps until an opportunity in traffic would allow the No. 63 to make a daring pass in the bumpy Turn 17, putting the team in a podium position by time they reached the front straight. Just 20 minutes later, a similar fight would ensue for second, eventually being presented in Turn One to elevate the team to second.
Unfortunately, the No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Bill Sweedler, Frankie Montecalvo, and Townsend Bell saw an early end as they would fall victim to a spinning prototype knocking the team out of the race within the first 30 minutes.
For Alessandro Balzan, now earning his third Sebring podium, the drive to the end brought a lot of reward.
“I had a great feeling after the previous stint,” stated Balzan. “When I went in to the final stint with sticker tires, the car felt really really good. I had great confidence in braking and great confidence in to Turn 17 where I was able to pass several cars. I want to thank Cooper and Gunnar who did an amazing job, and all of Scuderia Corsa. I am so proud of this team, this is one of the most fun races I’ve ever had, and everyone on this team put their head down and improved on everything to make a team effort.”
For Cooper MacNeil, the cumulative team effort of the program was the key to success.
“Huge team effort today,” stated MacNeil. “None of the drivers made any mistakes, none of the crew members made any mistakes, and we just ran as fast as we could for as long as we could. We didn’t have the fastest car out there but we had the most consistent, and that’s what it takes to get on the podium. The Ferrari was flawless, a complete team effort, and hats off to the team for getting us another podium.”
For Gunnar Jeannette, great pit work would highlight a fantastic effort.
“We made up a good few spots as we cycled through the pits,” stated Jeannette. “The guys did an amazing job on the last couple pit stops, got us out in good time, and here we are on the podium.”
Finally, for Team Owner Giacomo Mattioli, the depth of Scuderia Corsa would once again shine through adversity.
“To take our fourth consecutive podium at Sebring felt great and is a testament to the talent of our team,” stated Mattioli. “I am very pleased with the performance of everyone, from the drivers to the crew who gave their 100 percent. Our car was strong when it mattered the most, at the end of the race. I’m really happy for Cooper and Gunnar, and once again Alessandro proved why he is a champion. Although the outcome was unfortunate for the 64, as they were knocked out early in the race by a spinning prototype, I’m glad that Frankie was ok.”
With the “36 Hours of Florida” now behind, all efforts will turn to the sprint-racing season, beginning in May at the famed Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Expanding the team across two programs, both the next round of the IMSA championship as well as Ferrari Challenge North America will take place from May 4-6, with IMSA at Mid-Ohio and Ferrari Challenge at Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
About Scuderia Corsa
2017 IMSA GTD Champion, 2017 Le Mans podium, 2017 6H of Watkins Glen podium, 2017 12H of Sebring podium, 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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