Many things can happen in a 24 hour endurance race with 67 competitors and the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona proved no different. The 2013 Grand-AM Rolex GT champion Scuderia Corsa entered three Ferrari 458 Italias (#63, #64, #65) in yesterday’s race, the only team with such a presence on the grid.
Car #63 led much of the race during the first 18th hours and was running in the lead when contact with another participant who was several laps down forced repairs in the garage. #63 rejoined the race and finished 11th.
Car #64 had a mechanically trouble free run but incurred several penalties and finished in 14th place. Car #65 ran some very fast laps and in the end had the best finish of the team in 10th place.
Team Principal Giacomo Mattioli said, “I want to thank the crew for the outstanding job during this past weekend. We ran 3 cars in GTD and 4 in the Ferrari Challenge, a massive effort. We had wins and podiums in the Challenge and all three of our entries finished the 24 Hour race. I’m proud and grateful for their efforts and the long hours they put in. It is always special to represent Ferrari but this year it was even more special as Ferrari North America celebrates its 60th year anniversary. I’m humbled by the opportunity to continue the Ferrari dealer racing tradition started by Luigi Chinetti 60 years ago."
The #63 Ferrari 458 Italia with 2013 Rolex GT champion Alessandro Balzan was pushing for the lead when unavoidable contact on lap 483 led to a broken steering arm. “I am very sad for what happened because the entire team was doing a great job,” said Balzan before adding, “I was side by side with the #19 and we had door to door contact which put me on the wall and this broke the front suspension. I feel really bad because we were racing for the podium and maybe to win the race.” Ferrari factory driver Toni Vilander, Lorenzo Case’ Jeff Westphal rounded out the #63 team.
The #64 put in a consistent performances from Ken Wilden, David Empringham, John Farano and Dr. Rod Randall. Dr. Randall who will campaign the #64 with Ken Wilden for the 2014 TUSCC season discussed the race, “it’s an incredible experience to be able to race at the 24 Hours with such a great team as Scuderia Corsa. Our team’s been wonderful and the car’s been great. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the 2014 season.”
The #65 which qualified P3 despite limited practice drove the fastest Scuderia Corsa lap time of 1:47.849 set by Daniel Serra on lap 332. Of the Brazilian Via Italia racing team’s second consecutive appearance at Daytona in association with Scuderia Corsa, team principal Francisco Longo added, “This year we improved a lot. After contact with another car we had to change the bar. But it’s ok. It was a great experience and I am looking forward to the next race.”
The team will now return to Los Angeles and begin preparation for the Sebring Test weekend on February 20-21 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. The test weekend is in preparation for the next race on the TUSCC calendar, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race on March 12-15, 2014.