September 17, 2014 (Los Angeles, Calif.) – Last season’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas saw the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia cross the checkered flag first to take the team’s maiden professional sports car victory. However, a penalty for avoidable contact imposed after the race meant that the team had their victory taken away. Already twice a winner in this year’s TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, drivers Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal would like to put the Ferrari in Austin’s victory lane for the first time.
The team enters the weekend in Austin coming off of its third podium result of the year, with a second place at Virginia International Raceway. Balzan and Westphal had previously won at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan as well as Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team is focused on winning the final two races and helping Ferrari to secure the GT-Daytona manufacturer championship.
And after last year’s race in Austin, Balzan is anxious to have another shot at a victory at Circuit of the Americas.
“It was a very strange feeling last year, to cross the finish line first but not be awarded the victory,” said Balzan. “Now we want to win again and celebrate like we did in Detroit and Indianapolis. Jeff, myself and everyone at Scuderia Corsa will be pushing for another win and another championship for Ferrari. We want to see our no. 63 Ferrari in victory lane at Circuit of the Americas.”
Joe La Joie, the engineer for the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, offered his analysis of the challenges that the Circuit of the Americas will present to Balzan and Westphal.
“Circuit of the Americas is a world class track built to F-1 safety standards,” said La Joie. “The track is challenging to drive because of all the different types of corners. The setup requires good compromises between grip and high speed corners. For us there are two other challenges considering it could be in the high 90’s and we will have over 50 cars of four classes on track again.
“The first section, which the no. 63 Ferrari dominated in 2013, starts with braking uphill, a flat hairpin, and then it is flat out, back down the hill and through six high speed corners. The brake zone is a possible passing zone except the wide track makes it difficult to make it stick. Then you could get left behind accelerating down the hill and loose time in the next six corners. These corners are single file due to the narrow width of the track. The second section starts after turn eight which leads into a short straight. Turn 11 is another slow, tight hairpin and provides a better place to attempt a pass than turn one. The car must accelerate well to get down the longest straight of the track to turn 12, the best braking zone to pass.
“The third section is a group of technical, slow-to-medium speed corners. The first couple corners are just far enough apart to get to full throttle between them. The last few curves create one long triple apex corner that gets faster and faster. These turns are always difficult to setup for since it is difficult to maintain the front grip with all the power that must go to the rear wheels.”
This weekend also marks the penultimate round of the 2014 Ferrari Challenge season. Scuderia Corsa drivers John Horeisji and Chris Ruud will compete for the team at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Ruud is the points leader in the Coppa Shell category.
About Scuderia Corsa
The 2013 Grand-AM Rolex GT championship-winning team Scuderia Corsa was founded in 2011 by Giacomo Mattioli and Art Zafiropoulo. The team was created for the sole purpose of supporting the racing needs of Ferrari clients and includes turnkey programs, GT endurance racing, the North American Ferrari Challenge Series and track events. Giacomo Mattioli is the owner of Ferrari Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and South Bay and partner in Ferrari Maserati Silicon Valley with Art Zafiropoulo.
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