Newcomer Franco Will Be Joined by Sbirrazzuoli, Balzan for Longer Races
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Conquest Racing with Ferrari confirmed its driver lineup for the team’s Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class entry in the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The Indianapolis-based team will be led by Manny Franco, who will make his WeatherTech Championship debut in January at the Rolex 24 At Daytona but has experience in other IMSA-sanctioned series including the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and Ferrari Challenge North America.
Franco will drive the No. 34 Ferrari 296 GT3, with his full-season teammate to be named. Cedric Sbirrazzuoli will join the team for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events, along with seven-time IMSA race winner Alessandro Balzan for the Rolex 24.
Franco has seen a great deal of progression within the Conquest Racing team over the past few years, previously competing in both the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and GT World Challenge America championships. This will be Franco’s first season competing at this level, but he is no stranger to winning races, having previously triumphed at some of the most challenging race tracks in the United States.
“It feels remarkable to be taking this next step in my racing career,” Franco expressed. “The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is one of the most competitive and coveted racing series in the world, and to be competing in the GTD class this upcoming year is a true testament to all the hard work that has been put into the Conquest Racing program. I could not be more excited for what’s to come, and I cannot wait to go racing at some of the most prestigious events in the world in the Ferrari 296 GT3.”
Sbirrazzuoli has been linked with Conquest and Ferrari for several years in other series, but has 12 career WeatherTech Championship starts in 2016 and ’17 with Lamborghini.
“I’m extremely happy to be continuing with Conquest Racing for another year, and especially in IMSA,” he said. “It’s the best championship in the United States, and we have everything it takes to be able to compete for top results with the likes of a great lineup and a great car. I’m looking forward to returning to IMSA, as my last time competing in the series was in 2017. I can’t wait to be back racing in these iconic events again.”
Balzan is no stranger to the team, having co-driven alongside Franco the year prior, with the duo securing two wins and two podium finishes together in 2023.
“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to race with Manny again,” Balzan said. “It will be very special to be competing with him in his very first 24-hour endurance race, and as for myself, this will be my eighth attempt to go around the clock at the famous Daytona International Speedway. We have a strong car and a great lineup, and I’m very confident that Conquest Racing will be able to achieve great things.”