June 10, 2015 – With an all-American driver lineup and enough of a solidified European presence to aid its transition to its first 24 Hours of Le Mans, Giacomo Mattioli’s Scuderia Corsa team is poised for success in the GTE-Am class this year. While the trio of Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Jeff Segal in the No. 62 Ferrari F458 Italia are all-American, they’re also Le Mans rookies. They’ll work in tandem with a mix of American and European crew, the latter from Kessel Racing and Michelotto. The team’s pit stop practice went well on Tuesday in preparation for the rest of the week.
As a whole, Scuderia Corsa has built toward this moment for the better part of three years.
Mattioli’s team, which only made its series debut in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in late 2012 but went on to win the GT class title a year later, is now at Le Mans not even a full three years later.
Meanwhile the seeds of Bell and Sweedler’s assault on Le Mans were sown in 2012, when they paired with Dion von Moltke to win that year’s Twelve Hours of Sebring for Alex Job Racing in the American Le Mans Series GTC class. Bell, Sweedler and Segal were three of the five drivers who won the Rolex 24 for Level 5 Motorsports in the TUDOR Championship’s GT Daytona class in 2014, and now they’ll have a shot to add one more marquee endurance race win to their resumes.
“The combination of Scuderia Corsa and the team we’ve assembled, while we are newcomers to Le Mans, each one of us, Jeff, Townsend and myself, have been in this spot before,” Sweedler told Sportscar365. “We were newcomers at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, so we hope we can carry that luck with all the preparation, all the expertise, all the partnerships we’ve put together to make this as successful as possible. “That’s been the motivation. Let’s get Daytona, and we’re going to Le Mans. This started three years ago.”
Mattioli, who is overseeing a dual-pronged U.S. program with both TUDOR Championship and Pirelli World Challenge entries, explained the logistics and planning process that went into making the Le Mans dream a reality. “It’s a big endeavor. In Detroit we [had] 25 people, personnel, here between the race in TUDOR and Pirelli,” Mattioli told Sportscar365. “Then at Le Mans, [we have] 15 people. “Obviously we have access to team personnel and equipment in Europe, we’re running the car with Michelotto, which prepared the car, gives us the engineer and the lead mechanics. Our team technical director Roberto Amorosi is in Le Mans. “It was a challenge. I’m very confident that we’ll have a great car for Le Mans. The car has been completely rebuilt, like a brand new car. We have full support from the factory, Michelotto, so we’ll be in good shape.”
Bell, Sweedler and the GTD team’s data engineer, Colin Mason, went over to Le Mans immediately after Detroit. Mattioli said five more team members from Scuderia Corsa’s TUDOR Championship program will also be on site for the race.
In addition to the Michelotto prep work done since January, Mattioli confirmed they had rented tools and equipment from Kessel Racing. “You need to have some insider there,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to ship the things from here.” The car is the same chassis Bell and Sweedler drove the full 2013 ALMS, but is essentially a new car compared to two years ago.
What was a Yokohama-shod ALMS GT-spec car is now a modified, updated Ferrari running on Michelins. Sweedler joked he’s had as much seat time in the chassis since 2013 as he does in his GTD-spec 458 Italia, which is to say not much. What Sweedler didn’t joke about was the effort Mattioli and the team assembled for this race.
“Giacomo is being very humble,” Sweedler said. “I’ve raced with a lot of what I consider the best sports car teams in the series [Job, AIM, etc.], and what he’s done in the past couple years to elevate himself to the top of the game, and how he runs and manages his team is second to none. “Frankly the logistics of what’s going on has been unbelievable. The critical components of who we rely on will be with us at Le Mans.”
Both Bell and Sweedler have had time in the simulator (see Bell’s thoughts here) and Sweedler echoed Bell in terms of praising the ACO for the preparation it provides.
For Segal, meanwhile, Le Mans comes after running the second half of the 2014 WEC season with the 8Star Motorsports-entered, AF Corse-run, entry. It’s an overdue race debut for the American, who is the closest thing at the moment to an American factory driver for Ferrari.
Mattioli noted where his team fits into history with other successful American teams running Ferraris. “It’s a trajectory where now, it’s happening,” he said. “Obviously it’s a major honor to be able to represent Ferrari and North America in a big race like Le Mans. “Ferrari has a long history, particularly from North American racing teams at Le Mans, like Chinetti and Risi Competizione. We’re so proud to represent this lineage, so hopefully we do well.”
By Tony DiZinno at sportscar365.com
About Scuderia Corsa
The 2013 Grand-AM Rolex GT championship-winning team Scuderia Corsa was founded in 2011 by Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo. The team was created for the sole purpose of supporting the racing needs of Ferrari clients and includes turnkey programs, GT endurance racing, the North American Ferrari Challenge Series and track events. Giacomo Mattioli is the owner of Ferrari Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and South Bay and partner in Ferrari Maserati Silicon Valley with Art Zafiropoulo.
Follow Scuderia Corsa on Twitter @Scuderia_Corsa, on Facebook at Scuderia Corsa, Instagram at #Scuderiacorsaferrari and ScuderiaCorsa.com
Ferrari Beverly Hills / Los Angeles / Silicon Valley / South Bay - North America’s premiere Ferrari dealership group specializing in new and pre-owned sales, Classiche designation work, collision repair and factory trained service and original parts. Robert Graham – with its retail presence in more than a dozen countries around the world including New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Dusseldorf, Robert Graham is ‘American Eclectic.’ Since its launch in 2001, it introduces sophisticated, eclectic style to the fashion market as an American-based company with an intention of inspiring a global movement and includes four menswear and women’s wear collections a year—spring, pre-fall, fall and resort. Royal Purple - Royal Purple manufactures high performance lubricants for most automotive, industrial, marine, motorcycle and racing applications. The Houston, TX based company is considered the best synthetic oil by many end users and its synthetic oil and synthetic lubricants are formulated to maximize performance in real world applications. Kaspersky - Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users1. Throughout its more than 17-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. With its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, Kaspersky Lab operates in almost 200 countries and territories, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.
Ferrari Palm Beach - Providing the exclusive Palm Beach market with a premium inventory of new and pre-owned Ferraris, state-of-the-art facilities and technicians for expert maintenance and repair. Wide World Ferrari - Located in Spring Valley, New York, offering Ferrari customers a premium selection of new and pre-owned Ferraris, expert authorized service and exclusive Ferrari certified body repair. Hublot - A champion of innovation, Hublot revolutionized the watch industry with the introduction of the Big Bang, a multiple award winning timepiece created using a combination of precious metals with rubber. Since then, the Swiss brand has become universally known for the concept, “Art of Fusion.” From in-house watch complications to world-class collaborations such as Ferrari and the Los Angeles Lakers, Hublot is constantly evolving and looking to the future. Passtime - Is a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of wireless GPS telematics devices for the global automotive industry in the vehicle finance and fleet transportation sectors offering a web-based software portal with a complete end-to-end software solution designed specifically for the automotive industry. Ultratech - A pioneer of laser processing, Ultratech designs, manufactures and markets photolithography and laser processing equipment.
Motegi Racing - through technical partnerships with leading professional racing teams, Motegi Racing Competition and High Performance Tuning wheels are designed and engineered for performance. Motegi Racing is a Wheel Pros brand. Wheel Pros products are sold worldwide in more than 20 countries on four continents and through a U.S. network of more than 10,000 active dealers. Sabelt - leading manufacturer of seat belts and safety harnesses for production and racings cars, race suits, shoes and helmets, carbon seats for automobiles and child restraint systems worldwide. AllState - Allstate Roadside Services strives to provide the industry’s best roadside experience for our partners, their customers and our service providers.