MONTEREY, Calif. (September 24, 2017)- In front of a home crowd of over 200 guests, and celebrating the team’s five-year anniversary of their professional debut at this very circuit, Scuderia Corsa and the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 would take a thrilling victory during today’s round Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Proving again that this is a team effort, a combination of race strategy and relentless driving would result in the team making one less pit stop than much of the field, advancing to the front of the field with only three laps to go. Equally important, with only one race remaining, the victory would advance both the team and drivers Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan to a 26-point lead in the IMSA championship, as well as Ferrari to a nine-point lead in the Manufacturer’s Title.
Not only would it serve as the team’s seventh victory in IMSA competition, but would highlight a remarkable season that has included seven podiums and nine top-five finishes. The team now only needs to start the final race in two weeks’ time to clinch the series championship.
Beyond the team, the win would also mark a historic milestone, winning on the 60th anniversary of Ferrari’s first victory at Laguna Seca, taken by Pete Lovely in a Ferrari 500 TR in 1957.
Starting the race in ninth, Christina Nielsen would do a solid job on the opening lap avoiding calamity in front of her, comfortably settling in to the top-10 with a championship-minded drive, Christina would eventually hand the car over as the team approached the one-hour mark.
With Alessandro Balzan in the car, he would drive in full attack mode, gaining an incredible six positions over the next 45 minutes, elevating his Ferrari to third, followed by a brilliant pit strategy that ultimately took the team to victory in the final three laps.
For Christina Nielsen, the victory was perfectly timed in their repeat for a second consecutive championship.
“As a team, we really fought hard all season” stated Nielsen. “It’s our second year with the car, and I don’t think anybody could have expected us to win the championship again. We’ve been fighting so hard, with so many podiums and good runs, and to take victory there’s just something about it. I’m so proud to be with these guys and it’s made me so happy.”
For Alessandro Balzan, a reflection of the team effort is critical.
“Without Christina, it would have been impossible she’s one of the best teammates I could ever have,” stated Balzan. “This is the best team out there, Scuderia Corsa. Five years ago I made my debut here with a pole, we had a podium last year, and today we had 200 guests here with Ferrari Silicon Valley and team partners, and this is great. It’s great for them, great for me, great for Christina, and thanks to Scuderia Corsa and Ferrari for a phenomenal car today. I’m very emotional.”
For Giacomo Mattioli, owner of Scuderia Corsa, a victory in front of so many guests on their five-year anniversary is a memory of a lifetime.
“On a weekend where we celebrated our five-year anniversary, I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” stated Mattioli. “Any victory in a championship this competitive is special, but to do it in front of 200 of our guests, at a home race, makes this a race we’ll all remember. To win a race this way is a testament to the perfection of everyone on the team, perfect pit stops, perfect driving, and ultimately a completely precise attention to a strategy that would give us victory. To walk away knowing we’re very close to our fourth championship in five years, and within capturing a championship for Ferrari on their 70th Anniversary, it’s all magical.”
The final round of IMSA competition will occur in just two weeks’ time, taking place at the historic Road Atlanta for the famed Petit Le Mans, which will close out both the IMSA Championship as well as the North American Endurance Championship, which Scuderia Corsa is in strong contention to win both. Broadcast coverage will begin on Saturday, October 7, with race action beginning at 11AM ET and running until 9PM ET, with full coverage available via Fox Sports GO and IMSA.com, as well as from 10:30-11:30AM on Fox Sports 1, 11:30AM – 2:30PM on Fox Sports 2, and 5:00PM-9:30PM on Fox Sports 2.
About Scuderia Corsa
2017 Le Mans podium, 2017 6H of Watkins Glen podium, 2017 12H of Sebring podium, 2016 IMSA GTD Champion, 2016 24Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am winner, 2016 6H of Watkins Glen Winner, 2016 12H of Sebring Winner, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GTA Champion, 2015 24Hours of Le Mans Podium, 2015 IMSA GTD and 2013 Grand-AM 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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Picture Credit to Bob Chapman, Autosport Image