January 25, 2015 (Daytona Beach, Fla.) – Throughout the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the pair of Scuderia Corsa Ferraris – the red no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia and the Brazilian-flag liveried no. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia – took turns leading the competitive GT-Daytona class.
The final stretch of the endurance classic would prove to be troublesome for the team. While running in fourth place, the no. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia that was being driven by Francisco Longo and shared with Daniel Serra, Marcos Gomes and Andrea Bertolini, went off track and had an incident after hitting oil on the circuit. The incident led to heavy damage to the rear of the car and, as a result, the car was retired. From the drop of the green and throughout the night, the car was consistently at the front of the GT-D field.
Also taking turns at the front of GT-D was the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia. The car, which will be run for the whole TUDOR United SportsCar Championship by Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, also took several turns leading the field. Shared for this race by Anthony Lazzaro and Jeff Segal, the Ferrari captured the second NAEC segment and finished second in two of them. However, the car had a mechanical issue that slowed her down significantly in the final stages and finished the race in sixth position.
“It is tough to do so well throughout the race and then not have the result that you know the team is capable of,” said Sweedler. “But there are a lot of positives that we can take away from this race. Our Ferrari was very fast – we worked on it quite a bit throughout the week and made a lot of progress to make a very good race car. The NAEC is very important to us as well, and sitting second in that championship is also a great way to start the year. It’s a good start to our relationship with Scuderia Corsa and we’ll be prepared for Sebring.”
“I had a great first stint to start the race and a good turn at the lead of the field during the night,” said Bell. “Unfortunately, it just wasn’t our day. The Ferrari was extremely competitive and the four of us drivers worked very well together to get the car to a point that it was very good in all conditions during the day and during the night. We have good points with the NAEC and we’ll be ready for Sebring.”
The day was a rollercoaster for Scuderia Corsa team owner Giacomo Mattioli, who was taking part in his third Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Our result is a little bit disappointing, but I was proud to see our two Ferraris battling for the lead and to witness the effort of our entire team during this very long race” said Mattioli. “I can see the talent and the determination from our guys to win here, but it seemed that wasn’t meant to be for us this year. But, on a positive note, our drivers and team are in a good position in the NAEC. We are now looking forward to Sebring as well as the rest of the year.”
The next round of the TUDOR Championship as well as the NAEC is the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on March 21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.