Scuderia Corsa, the defending champions of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champioship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup GT-Daytona titles, has finalized its driver lineup for the Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the TPNAEC rounds of the 2017 WeatherTech Championship.
At Daytona, Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan - who captured the IMSA and NAEC GT-Daytona driver's titles in 2016 - will be joined by Ferrari factory driver Sam Bird. Bird captured two victories in the 2016 World Endurance Championship driving the Ferrari 488 GTE and in his first year with Ferrari has greatly contributed to the WEC Manufacturer win.
In the North American Endurance Cup, which is made up of the endurance races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans, Nielsen and Balzan will be joined by Matteo Cressoni. Cressoni, a veteran of international sports car racing, previously drove for Scuderia Corsa in the team's no. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia at the 2014 Petit Le Mans.
This year's 24 Hours of Daytona will also mark the debut of the Ferrari 488 GT3 in the endurance classic. The reliability and speed of the turbocharged Ferrari already well-proven, and with the demonstrated strength of the drivers, the team is aiming for a victorious debut for the car - similar to it's debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring last season.
"With this driver lineup and the proven success of the 488 GT3, I am confident that Scuderia Corsa will defend our Championships this year. The GTD field has expanded this season to factory entries and we welcome the challenge" said Giacomo Mattioli, Scuderia Corsa Team Owner. "2017 marks the 70th anniversary for Ferrari and there is no better way to celebrate than success at the race track, where it all began"
Scuderia Corsa will take part in this week's Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 6th - 8th.
24 Hours of Daytona Technical Analysis - Joe LaJoie, Scuderia Corsa Engineer
The Rolex 24 Hour is a pure endurance race so the racecar handling takes a backseat to other aspects. The planning and preparation is critical and starts in November. The crew must completely refurbish the car and prepare spares. The crew must prepare for more than 28 stops in the race while each driver will run more than 5 hours each and the first twenty-one hours must be error free in order to race the last three as a sprint race.
In past races at Daytona, most teams would sacrifice the infield in order to run low drag to assure being fast down the straights while keeping the braking excellent in order to pass. Trim the car out too much and the car can be difficult to drive - especially for 24 hours. The arrival of the GT3 specification has altered this tactic somewhat.
Top speed has not been one of our strengths relative to the competition. The car has always shown competitive lap times while being well balance throughout the fuel load and life of the tire. This means the car is easier to drive than others, a good strength to have for the 24 Hour.