DETROIT (June 3, 2017)- At a track notorious for heavy incidents and difficulty gaining positions, Scuderia Corsa and the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan claimed a second-place finish during today’s Detroit Grand Prix. This would serve as the team’s fourth consecutive podium in the 2017 IMSA Championship season, as well as their fourth in five years at the Grand Prix of Detroit. With today’s podium, the team stretches its second place in championship, with an unofficial nine points behind the leader with seven races remaining.
Qualifying seventh at Detroit, Nielsen would take on starting duties. Knowing that patience would be key for her opening due to the challenges of passing and high likelihood of contact, Christina would find herself in an impressive battle throughout the race’s opening laps, doing her best to stay competitive but not put the car at risk. When a caution for two separate incidents would arrive, the time proved ideal for Nielsen to pit and hand the car over for the final hour.
The race’s one-and-only pit stop would prove the turning point, with the Scuderia Corsa crew gaining four positions during pit stops, and Balzan coming out in third once stops were over.
For the final hour, Balzan would maintain solid pace to chase down the lead, matching lap-times and doing his best to take advantage of traffic in his pursuit. With the team recognizing their need to maintain championship form, a decision to manage fuel mileage to the end would result in Alessandro driving the final minutes cautiously, ultimately taking a comfortable second.
For Christina Nielsen, the result was a perfect example of teamwork.
“Phenomenal job by Scuderia Corsa,” stated Nielsen. “I was so impressed once again today. The car was absolutely amazing to drive, I could have driven it lap after lap. I was really impressed with the work that the team did, it was so comfortable to drive. It’s not often you hear drivers say they’re comfortable driving around street circuits, but this car made the whole experience so comfortable. Ale delivered an excellent performance once again like he always does and Scuderia Corsa definitely showed that they are the ones to watch out for in the pits. We nailed it, it was amazing to see, the boys were on point and it was just a great start to what hopefully becomes a great month. We have a long two weeks ahead of us with a lot of work, but it’s super exciting, we can’t wait, and I hope that this is just one of many podiums in the future.”
For Alessandro Balzan, a similar sentiment is shared.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way our day went,” stated Balzan. “Christina did a great job managing the car during the start, and having a clean car was critical for our chances at the end. The pit crew is absolutely the best, and we really have to thank them for their efforts today, what a job. Once I was in second, I did everything I could to chase down the leader, but at Detroit you really have to be careful where you make your move, and I didn’t want to do anything costly. At the end I had to manage fuel and think about the championship, and hopefully that thinking will pay off as the championship continues.”
For Giacomo Mattioli, an incredible team effort shows their championship form.
“Detroit is always a circuit where things can change dramatically, and everyone performed flawlessly. Our pit work really prevailed today, and I cannot give these guys enough credit for their efforts. Our competition had to gamble and change only 2 tires to come out ahead from the pitlane. A strong stint by Christina and another solid drive by Alessandro put the final stamp on the race. We are now within striking distance for the Championship. Our drivers are en route to Le Mans for testing tomorrow, the team is heading to Montreal for the Ferrari Challenge at the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend before Le Mans 24 Hours. What an exciting month ahead!”
With the action of Detroit behind, the team will now switch their attentions to the upcoming 24 Hours of LeMans test day tomorrow, the Ferrari Challenge in Montreal, part of the annual Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix weekend, followed by the 24 Hours of LeMans itself in two weeks’ time, June 17-18.
The team then returns to IMSA action at the famed Six Hours of the Glen on July 1-2.
About Scuderia Corsa
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