Fontana: Scuderia Ferrari of Washington to debut new car

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 29, 2003) -- Scuderia Ferrari of Washington will unveil a new race car and paint scheme at the Rolex Sports Car Series Grand American 400 at California Speedway next week. The Virginia-based team recently took possession...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 29, 2003) -- Scuderia Ferrari of Washington will unveil a new race car and paint scheme at the Rolex Sports Car Series Grand American 400 at California Speedway next week. The Virginia-based team recently took possession of a new #33 Ferrari 360GT from the factory in Maranello, Italy, featuring the same bright red paint scheme used on Ferrari's Formula 1 race cars.

Showing up at the racetrack with a brand new, untested race car in the hauler can be a scary experience for a team, so Ferrari of Washington will be taking their new 360GT for a shake down the day before official practice begins at California Speedway.

"The car is mechanically and structurally the same as our current race car, its just a newer one," explained driver Cort Wagner. "But you still have to break it in, so that's why we are taking it to Willow Springs to shake it down before the race."

Team manager Glenn Marquis also said that the team will have its current Ferrari race car on hand just case the team runs into new car woes before the Grand American 400.

The last time Ferrari of Washington rolled out a new 360GT race car was nearly one year ago at the Six Hours of The Glen where the team picked up its first win of the 2002 season. That debut victory sparked a five-race winning streak that carried the team and its drivers to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series GT team owner and driver championships.

Ferrari of Washington hopes debuting another new car from the prancing horse stable will be as lucky for the team as it was last year. "(The debut win) was the turning point for our season last year. It sparked a five-race winning streak for us that won us the championship. We want to do that again this year," said Los Angeles-native Wagner, who co-drives the #33 Ferrari with Laguna Beach's Brent Martini.

Currently, Wagner and Martini are tied for third place in the Rolex Series GT driver standings after scoring two class wins this season in Miami and Phoenix. Throughout the season the Ferrari pair has exchanged the points lead with BMW drivers Hugh Plumb and Brian Cunningham, who currently hold the top stop. With only three points separating the two sets of drivers, a debut win at the Grand American 400 could easily spark another run to a second championship for the Ferrari team.

Tickets are currently on sale for the Grand American 400 at California Speedway and can be purchased online at www.californiaspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 800-944-RACE. Additional information is available on the Grand American website at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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Series GRANDAM