The 2019 IMSA championship season kicks off this weekend with a motorsport classic, the Daytona 24 Hours. Four Ferraris are set to start, one in the GTLM class, three in the GTD class.
GTLM. In the GTLM class, Risi Competizione is back on track after a 2018 not easy at all. The 488 GTE no. 62 will be in the hands of a top ranking crew of official Ferrari drivers. James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, usually involved in the WEC in AF Corse no. 51, are joined by Davide Rigon, driver of no. 71, and Miguel Molina, who won two European Le Mans Series races in 2018 for JMW Motorsport and has already raced twice in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in car no. 71. For Pier Guidi, who won in the GTD class in 2014, and Rigon it will be their sixth entry, while Calado will line up for his fourth start and Molina his second.
GTD. Three 488 GT3s will appear in the GTD class. An experienced crew with all the skills to do well will take the wheel of Scuderia Corsa no. 63. The winner of the 2018 Petit Le Mans, Cooper MacNeil, teams up with official GT racing driver Toni Vilander, Dominik Farnbacher and Jeff Westphal. It will be MacNeil’s ninth start at Daytona, Vilander’s eighth, Westphal’s fifth and Farnbacher’s 14th. Another official Ferrari driver, the Italian Andrea Bertolini, will be in the 488 GT3 no. 13 of Via Italia team. The Brazilians Francisco Longo, Marcos Gomes and Victor Franzoni will join him. It will be Bertolini’s fifth appearance, Longo and Gomes’s third, and Franzoni’s debut.
Spirit of Race. Spirit of Race no. 51 will have a four-man crew three of whom usually number among Ferrari’s rivals. Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, race in the WEC with an Aston Martin but will make their second start in the 24 Hours at the wheel of a 488 GT3. The Brazilian Daniel Serra, very fast in the dry, will try to help his crewmates achieve a great result. Dalla Lana is the most experienced of the group with nine outings, followed by Lamy with eight, Serra with five and Lauda with four.
Schedule. After the free practice sessions, qualifying is on Thursday at 3.35 pm and 4 pm (9.35 pm and 10 pm CET). The race gets going on Saturday at 2.35 pm (8.35 pm CET). Ferrari has ten wins to its name at Daytona, also counting class victories. The first came in 1966 with Jack Slottag and Larry Perkins in 250 GTO (in the 3-litre Sports car class), while the last was in 2014 in the GTD class with the 458 Italia GT3 of Level 5 Motorsport driven by Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler, Jeff Segal, Scott Tucker and Alessandro Pier Guidi.