This weekend saw the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season (second round of the North American Endurance Cup) at the Sebring International Raceway, we catch up with the Ferrari teams;
IMSA, Sebring 12 Hour – Pole And Front Row For Ferrari Teams:
The field for the 66th running of the 12 Hours of Sebring was set in qualifying on Friday ahead of the second race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. A combination of great conditions and outstanding driving saw new track records established in both the GT-Daytona and GT-Le Mans classes.
GTD. Leading the GT-Daytona field to Saturday’s green flag will be Daniel Serra in the No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 that he will share with Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, and Paul Dalla Lana. The pole position time of 1:58.710-seconds on the 3.7-mile circuit marked an improvement of one second from the previous track record as Serra earned his second pole of the IMSA season. The 2016 Sebring 12 Hour winners Scuderia Corsa will start from sixth on the grid with the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil, Alessandro Balzan, and Gunnar Jeannette, with the sister Scuderia Corsa No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 of Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, and Frank Montecalvo slotted in ninth for the start of Saturday’s endurance classic.
Satisfaction. “I’m really happy,” said Serra. “We decided to do this race in the last minute, but ever since the first practice the car was really good. We have four drivers so I didn’t have a lot of track time but I could feel that the car was really good. It was great to put everything together for that fast lap. I knew it was a good lap. The car was even better in than it had been in practice and I was enjoying every corner. It is awesome to start from pole position, our second in a row. It doesn’t mean a lot for the result of the race but it is always good to start from the front.”
GTLM. The GT-Le Mans class also saw a new track record established, with a BMW (De Philippi-Sims-Auberlen) securing pole just ahead of Jame Calado in the No. 62 Risi Ferrari 488 GTE machine. Calado’s time of 1:59.229-seconds in the 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE also bested the existing track record in GTLM as the Briton looks ahead to a front row start on Saturday. Calado will share the driving duties with Toni Vilander and James Calado as Risi targets a return to victory lane on Saturday night.
IMSA – Ferrari On Sebring 12 Hour Podium:
The second race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season (second round of the North American Endurance Cup) extended a 66-year tradition as Sebring International Raceway played host for the annual 12 Hours of Sebring. Perfect conditions saw the race run at a frantic pace in the opening stages before being slowed by a series of caution periods in the second half of the event. As darkness fell, the final two hours of the race featured a sprint to the finish with Ferrari once again well figuring in the final results.
GT-Daytona. For the third year in a row, the Ferrari 488 GT3 emerged from a tough Sebring 12 Hours with a podium finish. The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488GT3 of Cooper MacNeil, Alessandro Balzan, and Gunnar Jeannette came home second in GT-Daytona. The trio ran in the top ten for much of the day but made steady progress towards the front as the track cooled following another dramatic Sebring sunset. A decisive move in turn 17 by 2016 race winner Balzan moved him into third before making one final pass for position in the closing laps to come home second at the checkered flag. Winning was the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini with Sellers-Lewis-Snow.
Team effort. “The team spent all the free practices preparing to have a good car for the night,” said Balzan. “It was a bit tricky with the balance in the day, but Cooper (MacNeil) and Gunner (Jennette) did an amazing job. A win and two podiums in the last three years with the Ferrari, it is a great feeling. This is a total team effort and I am really proud of this entire No. 63 WeatherTech Racing team. The car felt so good. It is so cool to race this Ferrari at Sebring, it is just amazing.” The pole-winning No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 suffered a tire puncture on the first lap, but fought back to race to 12th at the finish. No luck at all for the No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari that was involved in an accident in the first part of the race.
GT-LeMans. The driving trio of Toni Vilander, James Calado, and Alessandro Pier Guidi led several extended segments of the race in the the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE. Despite the strong pace, the team fought to score a fifth place finish at the end, matching the result the team scored in the season-opening 24 Hours of Daytona. The race was won by the Porsche of Tandy-Pilet-Makowiecki.