- Christina Nielsen, Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Segal drive new Ferrari 488 GT3 to victory in its first race sixty years after first Ferrari victory at Sebring
- Perfect GT-Daytona race – class victory, NAEC victory, pole position and fastest lap – for Scuderia Corsa
- No. 68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE shows speed before finishing in seventh position
March 20, 2016 (Sebring, FL) – It came down to the closing stages of the race, but after a late race restart, Alessandro Balzan unleashed the speed of the new no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 to take the GT-Daytona class lead and win the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Starting from pole position, the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari was slowed by incidents and rain in the early stages of the race. Drivers Balzan, Christina Nielsen and Jeff Segal orchestrated a drive through the field in the after a challenging middle portion of the race which featured a two-hour red flag period for rain and lightning. Nielsen and Segal’s efforts set up a final stint for Balzan, who decisively took the lead of the GT-Daytona class and took the victory by 2.28 seconds.
Taking the checkered flag, Balzan repeated the feat of his countryman, Italian Eugenio Castellotti, who along with Juan Fangio drove a Ferrari 860 Monza to Ferrari’s first victory at Sebring in 1956.
“I am really happy to be back with Scuderia Corsa and to win this race,” said Balzan. “I was missing these guys that I won the GRAND-AM championship with. And I am very happy because this is my first endurance race win. To be a part of the first race for the 488 GT3, and its first victory, is incredible – and it is more incredible to win here at Sebring. It is such a big target just to finish, so to win is amazing, especially sixty years after Ferrari and Castellotti won the 12 Hours.”
For Nielsen, who guided the Ferrari through a rainy stint of the race while on slick tires, the Sebring victory was her first in the IMSA SportsCar Championship – becoming the first female winner at Sebring history in the GT-Daytona class
“I don’t like to think about the results that we have achieved before,” said Nielsen. “You start from scratch, and that’s what we did here. We had our problems – I was actually worried at one point that we might not make it! But everyone kept fighting and kept pushing, and that is what led to our victory. It was a team effort. I can’t thank everyone at Scuderia Corsa enough for this. And, I am really glad that I was able to share my first victory in IMSA with my Dad – he is a big part of my racing so I am really glad he was here.”
The team’s GT-LeMans class no. 68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE rebounded from adversity suffered in the third
hour of the race. Losing five laps, drivers Andrea Bertolini, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra were among the fastest GT-LeMans cars for the rest of the race, gaining back three of their lost laps to finish in seventh position.
The victory capped a perfect day for Scuderia Corsa in GT-Daytona. Not only did the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 set a new track record to score pole position before winning the race, but the team also scored the North American Endurance Cup victory and set the fastest GT-Daytona lap of the race with 2:02.810. The drivers and team are unofficially in second position in the GT-Daytona driver’s championship and third in the GT-Daytona North American Endurance Cup championship.
“What a fantastic feeling to win Sebring,” said Mattioli. “Our drivers did a great job in very difficult conditions
Christina did a fantastic job in the rain. We had some mechanical issues, but our guys were able to keep us going and pull it off. It’s all about coming back – how you overcome adversity, because you are always going to have issues. That’s exactly what the team did, they overcame everything that we had in front of us. Being the team that brings the first win to the 488 GT3 is very special.”
Scuderia Corsa will compete next at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in the GT-LeMans class on April 18-19, before competing in both GT-LeMans and GT-Daytona at the Monterey Grand Prix on April 29-May 1.
About Scuderia Corsa
2015 24Hours of Le Mans Podium, 2015 IMSA GTD and 2013 Grand-AM Rolex 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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