Scuderia Corsa ends two-year win drought with PLM victory

The 23rd edition of Petit Le Mans saw the WeatherTech Racing Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 score its first IMSA GT Daytona victory since conquering the same race two years earlier

Scuderia Corsa ends two-year win drought with PLM victory
Listen to this article

The GT Daytona field has generated some fantastic scraps throughout the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, and this is indicated by the fact that the #14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus, the Wright Motorsports Porsche and the #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura squads are covered by just three points at the top of the Teams’ championship.

But yesterday’s Petit Le Mans emphasized how the IMSA’s Balance of Performance has honed the competitiveness of the GTD field. Of the 13 entries, eight appeared to have class-winning pace for long periods throughout the 10-hour race, despite the diversity of Pro and Am drivers, and these potential victors came from five of the class’s nine manufacturers.

Ultimately, Jeff Westphal, Alessandro Balzan and Cooper MacNeil conquered in the Ferrari 488 GT3, a car coming toward the end of its fifth season in IMSA competition. The entry’s last win had come at the same event two years earlier when MacNeil, Gunnar Jeannette and Daniel Serra won the Motul Petit Le Mans two years ago.

With the Ferrari having run in the top five (of those cars on the same strategy) throughout the race, Westphal made the decisive pass for the lead on Jack Hawksworth’s #14 Lexus RC F at Turn 10 with an hour to go.

Although recent BoP tweaks had seen the Ferrari granted more horsepower at the Charlotte Roval race one week ago, the team had not entered that GT-only race in order to focus on MacNeil’s ultimately successful efforts in this year’s Ferrari Challenge.

When Westphal delivered second on the grid for Petit Le Mans on Friday afternoon, it was clear the slight power hike had helped, but the team’s troubles weren’t yet over.

“We showed up with a car that had great pace over one lap but it was killing the rear tires,” he explained.

“Throughout each day, we made it better and better. We didn’t lose faith, we kind of just marched along and it really came alive in the race.”

It was Westphal’s third career IMSA win, the eighth for MacNeil and seventh for Balzan.

Said MacNeil: “This is one of the most difficult races in the world, even though it’s ‘only’ 10 hours. These two guys drove their asses off, phenomenal all weekend.

“The team worked super hard all weekend, the Scuderia Corsa WeatherTech guys – I can’t thank them enough. We rolled the car off the truck expecting a good car because we had a good car during the six-hour here. That wasn’t the case; we had to work hard at it.”

By finishing second, Aaron Telitz and Hawksworth – who shared their Lexus with Michael De Quesada – have taken the lead in the Teams’ points race. However, Telitz is two points ahead of Hawksworth in the Drivers’ points race, due to the fact that the pair haven’t been partners in the same AVS Lexus for the whole year.

Four points behind Telitz are Ryan Hardwick and Pat Long (Wright Motorsports) who finished fourth in PLM yesterday, accompanied by the highly impressive Jan Heylen, while MSR Acura’s Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry are only one point further adrift, despite being wiped out in the late stages of the race following a clash with the Heart of Racing Aston Martin.

 

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Porsche aces thrilled with first IMSA win of 2020
Previous article

Porsche aces thrilled with first IMSA win of 2020

Next article

Corvette's Garcia: “If this is a bad result, I’ll take it”

Corvette's Garcia: “If this is a bad result, I’ll take it”
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Prime

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Prime

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with teammates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022