BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (March 14, 2017)- After a hard-fought debut victory for the Ferrari 488 GT3 just one year ago, Scuderia Corsa will head to next weekend’s Twelve Hours of Sebring with a focus on repeat victory to kickstart their 2017 IMSA Championship season.
During the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, the strength of the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 was evident with not only their front-row qualifying effort in the series’ GTD class, but also demonstrated via their contention for victory throughout the race’s first 22 hours.
Six weeks later, the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari will head to the series’ second signature event looking to repeat their winning performance from 2016. Just twelve months ago, the team made a commanding North American debut for the Ferrari 488 GT3 while at the 12 Hours of Sebring, leading a majority of laps and ultimately taking victory.
Not only is the team looking to repeat the effort, but 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the marque. Since that time, Sebring has held a special heritage for Ferrari, with 12 overall victories at the famed “12 hour,” including seven consecutive victories from 1958-1964. Additionally, some of the most legendary names in auto racing have driven for the brand at Sebring, including Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, John Surtees, and more.
Returning to defend their victories will be drivers Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, who utilized last year’s title as their springboard toward the 2016 series championship. Also returning to the team will be Italian Matteo Cressoni, who returns to the team after driving some impressive stints including leading several laps.
“I’m really looking forward to going back,” stated Nielsen. “It’s probably one of my favorite circuits because it’s super tough mentally for the drivers, because it’s a really tough, physical track, especially with the weather and the track conditions combining to make everything tough about that race. That’s what makes it so special, and so special to win. We had an amazing race last year, the first race for the 488 GT3, and I think the whole team is ready to make a comeback after the Daytona that we had. We know the car is strong there, I haven’t been in the car for a while so I’m really looking forward to be back, and I’m just looking forward to being back with Scuderia Corsa, Alessandro and Matteo. Everyone’s done an amazing job and I’m just happy to be back with Scuderia Corsa again for 2017 and hope to make some good points for the championship after Daytona.”
For team owner Giacomo Mattioli, the memories of last year’s Sebring kicked off a remarkable 2016 season.
“For us, our incredible 2016 season really began at Sebring,” stated Mattioli. “To win in our very first race with the 488 GT3, and to help Christina with her first win in the series, was a special moment for everyone here. It really began an incredible run of momentum that led to winning at Watkins Glen, Le Mans, and of course the IMSA championship as well. We’re bringing back many of the same elements, so there’s no reason to think we can’t repeat the same result. This is a very important year for Ferrari with the 70th anniversary, and we absolutely want to add to their incredible Sebring legacy, it should be a great race for everyone watching.”
Official practice for the 12 Hours of Sebring begins on Thursday, March 16, with the race taking place on Saturday, March 18. Initial race coverage can be found on IMSA.tv at 10:30AM ET, with live FOX Sports 1 coverage for the final 10 hours, beginning at 12:30PM ET.