Skip to content

Scuderia Corsa reflects on Ferrari’s second straight Rolex GT title

Oct 9, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT

Alessandro Balzan celebrates with team (Scuderia Corsa/Ferrari North America) Alessandro Balzan celebrates with team (Scuderia Corsa/Ferrari North America)

For the second consecutive season, Ferrari has captured the championship in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series’ GT class. That gives the Scuderia a perfect 2-for-2 strike rate in the years it has entered with the GRAND-AM spec F458 Italia, before 2014 arrives and GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series take the green flag as the newly merged Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

Scuderia Corsa followed AIM Autosport/Team FXDD’s championship-winning ways of 2012. This year, Alessandro Balzan took the title in dramatic fashion in the season finale at Lime Rock Park. Balzan entered the title decider down four points to the Magnus Racing pair of Andy Lally and John Potter, but avoided trouble as the Magnus Porsche was hit by another car on just the second lap of the race. With second place, his ninth top-five finish in 12 races, Balzan emerged as champion ahead of Lally and Potter by 10 points.

“I was never relaxed during the race since things were always happening in front of us, behind us, or next to us,” Balzan said after the race. “The DP’s were passing us and sometimes it was a nightmare because you know that you are leading the championship but you also know that you are losing so much time in traffic.”

Scuderia Corsa team principal Giacomo Mattioli explained Balzan rose to the challenge in his first full season of Rolex GT competition.

“The thing that really convinced me is his track record,” Mattioli said. “This is now five years in a row he’s won the championship: Porsche Cup three years, Ferrari Challenge and now Rolex GT. I knew he wouldn’t crack under pressure, and wouldn’t do, shall we say stupid things.

“What I was surprised by is how quickly he has learned and adapted to tracks, and to tires he didn’t really know. That beat even my expectations. It’s a telling talent. That’s hard to do and it’s not easy to predict how quickly he’ll pick up a track. I’ve never seen anyone else do that within 3-4 laps.”

Balzan had several different co-drivers in 2013 – Alessandro Per Guidi for two races, Jeff Westphal through Watkins Glen and Leh Keen the last five races – and had to mesh his style with whoever else was sharing the seat of the No. 63 Ferrari F458 Italia. They only won once, but had the best finishing record in the field.

“The chemistry between the drivers is a key ingredient, but the chemistry among the team is a bigger ingredient,” Mattioli said. “Pretty much every driver who has raced for us has felt welcome and comfortable and grown in very quickly. One big component with Alessandro is he is a super nice guy. He’s easygoing, he makes everyone comfortable, and he gelled with Jeff and Leh. I couldn’t have scripted it.”

source:

Mattioli (left) and Mattiacci (right) (Scuderia Corsa/Ferrari North America)

Nor could they have scripted the fact that the team could enter into Rolex GT and win the title in its first full season. Mattioli and Ferrari North America president/CEO Marco Mattiacci have a strong relationship and to win in front of Mattiacci was great for both individuals.

“My background has been in working with the factory,” said Mattioli, who was born and raised in Modena and eventually came to work for Ferrari in North America. “We have had the opportunity to see – shall we say, both sides of the fence: the corporate and retail ends of it. I have a unique perspective to be able to reflect and understand the factory requirements. Marco and I have had a friendship for many years, but we are very in tune on the business side.”

“The manufacturer championship is very important for Ferrari, because it demonstrates not only the phenomenal performance, speed, balance, but also the reliability of the 458 Italia,” Mattiacci said immediately after the race. “To win it for the second time, against the high level of competition in the Rolex Series in the United States, is an achievement we are very proud of.”

Balzan reflected on the title, too, as this was his first full season racing in the U.S.

“I am very happy for the team. Everyone at Scuderia Corsa, really deserved it,” he said. “It’s really crazy to think we are champions in the first year. I have to thank Giacomo because he believed in me, otherwise I would have never gotten the seat. I’m a 100% Scuderia Corsa product, and it is a dream for a little Italian driver coming from Italy that is now living in Modena.”

source:

Team shot (Scuderia Corsa/Ferrari North America)

Looking ahead to 2014, Mattioli confirmed Scuderia Corsa will return to defend its title.

“It’s definitely exciting and very interesting, the first year, because it’s easier said than done when you mesh two different series and so many classes,” he said. “We’re staying in GTD. The goal is two cars for the full season.

“We are very happy to be involved with the Tudor United championship. I think there will be a lot of competition again, coming from Porsche, coming from other manufacturers. But we’ll be there with the 458 package.

“For a driver – this is not me saying it – but the opportunity to race for Ferrari is the top,” he added. “I think our drivers feel the same, we are very lucky to be involved with Ferrari and there are few things in life you cannot separate. It’s part of the DNA of the company. If you want to represent Ferrari at any level – retail, business, dealer – you need to race. It’s exciting, it’s fun.”

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR: Corey Lajoie to make Cup debut; ARCA’s Boston to drive 2 N’Wide races for Gibbs

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Corey LaJoie AP

    Lajoie will run his first Cup race at New Hampshire, while Justin Boston will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky and Dover in the Nationwide Series.

  2. NASCAR AMERICA: One Sprint Cup title not enough for Brad Keselowski (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Brad Keselowski AP

    Will experience or hunger help him capture his 2nd Sprint Cup title? The NASCAR AMERICA gang debates the topic.

  3. NASCAR AMERICA: The possible outcomes for Tony Stewart (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    NBC Sports legal analyst Jack Furlong breaks down what could happen now that a grand jury will decide whether Stewart will face charges for his involvement in the accident that killed sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr.

  4. Red Bull GRC: Layout, entry list set for L.A. doubleheader

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    RedBullGRCLA

    The nine-turn Port of Los Angeles circuit will feature the longest joker of the 2014 GRC season.

  5. FIA clarifies new Formula One team radio restrictions

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Christian Horner AP

    Teams now know what radio messages can and cannot be made heading into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

  6. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA has the latest on Tony Stewart saga at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also coming up today: What’s more important in winning a Sprint Cup title: Experience or Drive?; rookie phenom Kyle Larson on dealing with the hype; NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott to be honored next month.

  7. IndyCar’s Mikhail Aleshin released from Indianapolis hospital

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Mikhail Aleshin AP

    The Russian driver will continue his rehab work in Indy after sustaining multiple injuries in a practice crash on Aug. 29 at Auto Club Speedway.

  8. DA will submit evidence from Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. case to grand jury

    Sep 16, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    The three-time NASCAR champion responds that he intends to “continue to provide my full cooperation.”

  9. OAK set for three of last four FIA WEC races

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

    Le Mans 24h Race Getty Images

    OAK Racing to return to FIA WEC for three of last four races.

  10. NASCAR: Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott to be honored next month at M’Ville

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Credit: Front Row Motorsports Credit: Front Row Motorsports

    Sprint Cup driver David Ragan and Camping World Truck Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. will sport special paint schemes honoring Scott during the Martinsville Chase weekend in October.

  11. PWC: 25th Anniversary and Season Recap Videos (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    WC

    Videos from the Pirelli World Challenge championship celebration highlight 25 years, and the 25th year (2014) of the championship.

  12. Everything you need to know about the 2014 Chasers at New Hampshire

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    SYLVANIA 300 Getty Images

    All the notes and numbers to keep in mind as NASCAR enters the second race of the Chase’s Challenger Round.

  13. Australian GP may have a new contract, but it also posted a record loss in 2014

    Sep 16, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Australian F1 Grand Prix - Practice Getty Images

    Reports from Australia peg the season-opening race having posted an A$60 million loss in 2014.

  14. IndyCar: CFH to make major team announcement on Wednesday

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT

    CFHlogo

    CFH Racing reveals logo and will reveal a part of its 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series program on Wednesday.

  15. Big weekend for Chevy upcoming in Austin

    Sep 16, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    CorvetteCOTApre Getty Images

    Corvette Racing and Corvette DP teams look for Austin win encore this weekend.

  16. Renault’s Taffin: Fuel consumption could well be an issue in Singapore

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Lotus F1 Formula One driver Grosjean drives in the pit lane during the qualifying session of the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix Getty Images

    Expect the 100 kg fuel limit to enter the equation this weekend, says Renault’s head of track operations.

  17. Perez seeks to continue Singapore points streak this weekend

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:28 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain Getty Images

    Sergio Perez looks to go 4-4 in Singapore scores.

  18. Michael Waltrip premieres to less than critical acclaim on “Dancing with the Stars”

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT

    MWslaterdance1 Getty Images

    Michael Waltrip and partner Emma Slater look to avoid being eliminated after first dance effort on DWTS.

  19. Tony Stewart awaits District Attorney’s review of Kevin Ward Jr. case

    Sep 15, 2014, 10:54 PM EDT

    tony stewart chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    Tony Stewart is expected to learn later this week if he will not face charges or may be indicted in last month’s Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy. A noted attorney with extensive experience in death and catastrophic injury cases explained to MST the legal process in Stewart’s case.

  20. NASCAR America (video): Aric Almirola needs a good showing in New Hampshire

    Sep 15, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    Aric Almirola Chicagoland 2014 Getty Images

    In his first-ever race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, Aric Almirola suffered a blown engine at Chicagoland Speedway for the first time in his three-year career.

Video from NASCAR America

Johnson's quest for a record 7th title
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (1518)
  2. J. Johnson (1189)
  3. J. Gordon (1185)
  4. K. Harvick (1155)
  5. B. Keselowski (1086)