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. FIA WEC: Solid first outing for Mark Webber and Porsche

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    Former Red Bull F1 driver finishes third, while Porsche’s GTE-Pro squads finish 1-2 in class.

  2. New incentive for NASCAR Sprint Cup teams to win races: free breakfast!

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    boxcar grille

    Trophies and big paychecks are no longer the only things a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver and team get when they win a race. Now they get a big breakfast, too. According to Statesville.com, the Boxcar Grille in Statesville, N.C., has begun serving breakfast to winning teams in the Charlotte area after they return from capturing a Cup race.

  3. FIA WEC: Title defense starts poorly for Audi

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    Both of their Le Mans Prototypes fail to see the checkered flag at Silverstone due to accidents.

  4. NASCAR’s Chad Knaus, NFL coach Ron Rivera swap strategies, philosophies

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT

    (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) AP

    While he probably can’t throw a football more than 20 or 30 yards, Chad Knaus is a diehard Carolina Panthers fan. And while football and stock car racing are polar opposites, they do have some similarities, particularly when it comes to team building, success, strategy and preparation for each game or race. Knaus, a six-time Sprint Cup champion crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, recently called Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera to throw around and share ideas that might be beneficial to both men.

  5. Hermie Sadler to promote new wrestling group in Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:49 PM EDT

    Hermie Sadler is seen in an advertisement promoting his involvement in Denny Hamlin's Short Track Showdown on Thursday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, as well as being named to the board of directors of the new Global Force Wrestling association. (Illustration courtesy of Global Force Wrestling) Hermie Sadler is seen in an advertisement promoting his involvement in Denny Hamlin's Short Track Showdown on Thursday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, as well as being named to the board of directors of the new Global Force Wrestling association. (Illustration courtesy of Global Force Wrestling)

    Hermie Sadler will never be confused with former wrestling greats Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin – not even Rik “Wooooo” Flair. But the NASCAR analyst for Fox Sports 1 has been a longtime fan of wrestling and will now become somewhat of a decision maker, too.

  6. Toyota scores 1-2 finish in WEC season opener at Silverstone

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT

    FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone Getty Images

    Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, and Nicolas Lapierre take the No. 8 Toyota to the win in the Six Hours of Silverstone.

  7. Call him Professor Junior: Dale Earnhardt Jr. going back to school

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. plays teacher and Kyle Busch the dutiful student prior to last Saturday's race at Darlington Raceway.  (Photo: Jeff Curry/Getty Images) Getty Images

    More than 20 years after graduating, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is going back to school. Well, for at least one day. Earnhardt will take part in a two-hour session on May 8 with two student groups, wrapped around an all-school assembly at Seaman High School in Topeka, Kansas, according to a report in the Topeka Capital-Journal.

  8. Happy Easter from MotorSportsTalk!

    Apr 20, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    Credit: Remains Credit: Remains

    We hope your Easter’s filled with family, friends…and maybe some jelly beans.

  9. Difficult weekend for Raikkonen worth just four points

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    Finn can only come home in eighth for Ferrari, some 50 seconds behind teammate Fernando Alonso.

  10. Hulkenberg and Bottas quietly brilliant in China

    Apr 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Practice Getty Images

    Largely unnoticed, these two youngsters were brilliant today in China.

  11. VIDEO: Vettel explains decision to not let Ricciardo past

    Apr 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    German driver saw no reason to follow team orders, but soon realised that there was no point in holding Ricciardo up.

  12. Rosberg perseveres after telemetry failure to finish second

    Apr 20, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg AP

    German driver downbeat after losing to Hamilton yet again, but in the grand scheme of things, it was a great result.

  13. Chinese GP called two laps early after checkered flag mix-up

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    Embarrassing error sees race end on lap 54, not lap 56; Kobayashi the only driver to lose a position.

  14. Alonso scores Ferrari’s first podium finish of 2014

    Apr 20, 2014, 6:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    Ferrari ends torrid week with something to smile about as Alonso finishes third in China.

  15. VIDEO: Vettel ignores team orders, telling team “tough luck”

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:47 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    German driver refuses to let Daniel Ricciardo past at first, but ultimately thinks better of it.

  16. Hamilton astonished by Mercedes pace after China win

    Apr 20, 2014, 5:30 AM EDT

    Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit Reuters

    British driver delighted with team effort, and pleased to see teammate Nico Rosberg reach the podium again.

  17. Hamilton makes it three with lights to flag victory in China

    Apr 20, 2014, 4:43 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    British driver goes wire-to-wire to claim his third straight win and number 25 of his F1 career.

  18. WATCH LIVE: Can anyone spring a Shanghai surprise?

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China - Qualifying Getty Images

    As the Mercedes turf war rumbles on, Red Bull and Ferrari will be waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces.

  19. Starting grid for the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix

    Apr 20, 2014, 2:00 AM EDT

    Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel AP

    Here’s how the drivers will line up for the 2014 Chinese Grand Prix today, live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 2:30am ET.

  20. Hamilton chases first ever career three-peat in China

    Apr 20, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    He has come close before, but Hamilton finally can make it three wins in a row today in China.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. McMurray (4778)
  2. A. Seuss (1937)
  3. B. Myers (1507)
  4. J. Myers (1394)
  5. L. Fleming (1379)
  1. J. Boston (1192)
  2. T. Hessert (1168)
  3. P. Kligerman (1079)
  4. C. Edwards (1069)
  5. B. Loftin (1069)