Skip to content

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

Oct 9, 2013, 2:00 PM EST

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: Outcry causes GoDaddy to pull Super Bowl ad featuring Danica Patrick, puppy

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:41 PM EST

    Aaron's 312 Getty Images

    Negative backlash following ad’s premiere on Tuesday’s “Today” show leads to GoDaddy pulling it from Sunday’s big game.

  2. Indy Lights: Ed Jones leads Day 2 of Homestead road course test

    Jan 27, 2015, 8:55 PM EST

    Credit: IndyLights.com Credit: IndyLights.com

    The Lights contingent finish their two-day session on the Homestead road course before heading to the oval on Thursday.

  3. Sprint Cup champ Kevin Harvick: “I’m as comfortable as I’ve ever been”

    Jan 27, 2015, 7:12 PM EST

    (AP Photo/Steve Helber) Getty Images

    Following a dramatic Sprint Cup title victory in 2014, Harvick enters 2015 with less pressure – but not less motivated to continue his success.

  4. Gene Haas updates F1 team’s progress at NASCAR media tour

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:45 PM EST

    Gene Haas Formula One Press Conference Getty Images

    Gene Haas provides an update on his F1 team’s progress during NASCAR Media Tour.

  5. The King: NASCAR’s next great driver may be in XFINITY Series right now (video)

    Jan 27, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    richard petty daytona rising 2014 Getty Images

    In a new promotional video for the XFINITY Series, Richard Petty says the next great NASCAR driver may be in the sport’s junior league right now.

  6. NFL legends join NASCAR stars in NBC Sports’ upcoming “Gridiron Challenge” (VIDEO)

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:58 PM EST

    nbcsports1 (1)

    Don’t miss this special event on Friday, Jan. 30, at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

  7. Kurt Busch reasserts what he said about ex: “What I said was under oath”

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EST

    Kurt Busch Kurt Busch

    Kurt Busch says he’s unsure when a decision will be made in the protective hearing case sought by his ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll

  8. NHRA wants to give fans ‘Baptism by Nitro’ in 2015

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:22 PM EST

    (Image courtesy NHRA) (Image courtesy NHRA)

    In an effort to attract new drag racing fans, the National Hot Rod Association has embarked upon a new marketing and social media program for 2015: “Baptism by Nitro”, featuring the sport’s fastest cars, Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars.

  9. Danica Patrick enters final year of contract but wants to stay at Stewart-Haas

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:46 PM EST

    NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2

    Car owner Gene Haas confirms this is the final year of Danica Patrick’s contract but says he wants Patrick back.

  10. NASCAR: J.J. Yeley will be BK Racing’s primary driver in 2015

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Sprint Showdown - Qualifying Getty Images

    Yeley ran the final seven races of 2014 in BK’s No. 83 Toyota.

  11. Cast your vote: Which SHR driver will improve most in ’15?

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:53 PM EST

    SHR lineup AP

    While teammate Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Cup championship in 2014, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart all came up short. Which driver will bounce back the most in 2015?

  12. Danica Patrick: 2014 was a success to build upon for ’15

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Danica Patrick AP

    While some media may think 2014 was a sub-par year for her, Danica Patrick believes last season was just the opposite, a season of growth and improvement that she hopes to extend into the 2015 Sprint Cup campaign.

  13. Al Unser to be recognized at Legends Day this May

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    Photo: IMS Photo: IMS

    Al Unser Sr. gets a day of honor at IMS this month of May.

  14. NASCAR, RTA are communicating but not commenting much about it

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:08 PM EST

    Party in the Poconos 400 - Practice Getty Images

    RTA chairman Rob Kauffman deflected several questions Tuesday about the organization, which represents virtually every team in NASCAR’s premier series.

  15. Kurt Busch: Indy 500 return is “something we haven’t talked about”

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:05 PM EST

    Kurt Busch AP

    Former Sprint Cup champ finished sixth in first ‘500’ appearance last year.

  16. Bobby Hamilton Jr. makes comeback bid in ARCA

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:32 PM EST

    Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports) Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports)

    One year after his last comeback effort fell short, Bobby Hamilton Jr. is back to try it again with Carter 2 Motorsports in a full-time ARCA season racing effort.

  17. Sauber confirms Friday launch date, and HP partnership

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

    Sauber will have its new car launch on Friday, and also has confirmed HP partnership.

  18. Start times for 2015 Camping World Truck Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    NCWTS logo

    The 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule and race times was announced Tuesday.

  19. Start times for 2015 XFINITY Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:40 PM EST

    xfinity series logo

    Race times for the inaugural season of the new Xfinity Series were announced Tuesday.

  20. NASCAR: HScott announces second car for Michael Annett

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:32 PM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Annett will bring his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship with him to HScott Motorsports, where he’ll team up with Justin Allgaier.

Video from NASCAR America

Why 2015 is a big year for Danica
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2208)
  2. J. Clements (1710)
  3. K. Schrader (1705)
  4. K. Grala (1595)
  5. M. Lira (1516)