AUSTIN, Texas (May 6, 2017)- Continuing a streak for the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 that has now seen three consecutive podiums in the 2017 IMSA championship, Scuderia Corsa drivers Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan would gain seven positions during the course of today’s race en route to a second-place finish.
Competing at the famed Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the same 3.4-mile venue that the Formula One World Championship competes at, a combination of strong driving, quick pit work, and team strategy would add valuable championship points to the team’s current tally. After four rounds of the series championship, the team now has a further stronghold on second-place in in the GT-Daytona (GTD) category standings.
Starting the two-hour, forty-minute race, Christina Nielsen would drive the opening stint, continuing an impressive trend of runs where she set lap times on pace with the top cars in the field, including two passes to move up before the first round of pit stops, where she’d climbed to seventh.
As the race cycled through and pit stops were over, Alessandro Balzan would benefit from incredible pit work and team strategy to advance to fifth, firmly behind the top-four and poised to make the most of the situation. Balzan would earn his place as the defending series champion by making a pass to fourth by time the final round of pit stops would come, with a combination of outright speed and clever race-craft to maximize the traffic around him and make two additional passes as he climbed to second in the final 30 minutes.
The finish for the team would actually be their second consecutive podium at the famed Texas circuit, a track notorious for requiring a car that demonstrates equal parts power, handling, and aerodynamics.
“I got up to to P7 and was basically able to hold P7 from there,” stated Nielsen. “It was still very warm conditions but it was nice, it wasn’t humid, but definitely not an easy type of condition to compete in. Everything was slippery, with the heat on the asphalt you just use the tires up very quickly, so it was very had to manage the tires. Luckily Scuderia Corsa executed to a top level, Alessandro had really great pace, and it was an amazing effort by the team today. It was great to have another podium finish, we’re still searching for that victory, but it was nice to score some points for the championship.”
For Alessandro Balzan, another great drive was part of a larger team effort.
“This was a really challenging weekend for us,” stated Balzan. “This track is getting bumpier and bumpier, and the team made a big move during the warm-up, and they made a perfect setup. I was using the tires perfectly, there was no drop-off that we had to worry about, we really squeezed everything out of our 488. Christina did a very good opening stint, the team had a perfect strategy, perfect tire pressure and everything. The guys in front of us are having a hot streak at the moment but I’m sure we can turn things around.”
For Giacomo Mattioli, the depth of the team continues to show.
“I am very pleased with the Team performance today,” stated Mattioli. “Everyone put in their absolute maximum and it showed. Christina drove a great opening stint and did a good job to gain positions, our pit stops were second-to-none, and Alessandro put in a stellar performance to get us up to second. This is the kind of performance it takes to win championships, It’s great to come back to Texas and get another podium, our third of the year, and we look forward to being even stronger for Detroit.”
With the IMSA Championship’s “sprint” season well and truly under way, both team and series will head to the second and final street course of the season, The Grand Prix of Detroit located on the scenic Belle Isle. Kicking off a busy month of June, the two-day event will kick off with practice on Friday, June 2 and racing action on Saturday, June 3.