Three Ferrari teams will be in action this weekend at Watkins Glen International as the Blancpain World Challenge America returns to action at the Upstate New York circuit. With the series last race being staged at Sonoma Raceway in early June, the Labor Day weekend event ends a long break for the GT3-based series.
With championships once again on the line, Ferrari will continue to have a strong competitive presence for the double-header race weekend. R. Ferri Motorsports, Squadra Corsa and One11 Motorsports will compete in 90-minute events on both Saturday and Sunday, marking the ninth and 10th races of the 2019 campaign.
Championship leader Toni Vilander will have a new co-driver in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3. Daniel Serra will co-drive in his Blancpain World Challenge America debut, filling in for Miguel Molina, who will be driving a Ferrari in World Endurance Championship competition at Silverstone. Serra was part of Ferrari’s GTE-Pro victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, his second class victory in the French endurance classic.
Vilander won his third race of the season at Sonoma, joining triumphs at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas and Mosport Park. The California weekend saw Vilander increase his lead in the premier class from one to 14 points, having claimed a remarkable seven podium finishes in eight races.
“These are interesting times in World Challenge, and I will have a new partner for the race at Watkins Glen,” Vilander said. “We are leading the championship now, but we have three weekends – six races – to go. We have to be fast and consistent. We have awesome tracks as well, Watkins Glen and Road America. Then nobody knows the season-ending track at Las Vegas, so that will be interesting.”
Vilander finished fourth and third at Watkins Glen in the 2018 season finale for R. Ferri Motorsport, winning two of the three championships that were awarded in last year’s format.
Squadra Corsa will be looking to keeps its record unblemished for the No. 7 Squadra Corsa Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3, also having a new co-driver for Martin Fuentes. Mark Issa will co-drive with Fuentes, who swept all three weekends the team has entered this season. Fuentes holds a nearly-insurmountable 99-point lead in AM competition, having co-driven with Caesar Bacarella through the opening rounds of the 2019 season.
The move to Blancpain World Challenge marks the progression of yet another Ferrari Challenge driver into professional level motorsports. Issa is a competitor in Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell competition, winning five of 10 races this season for Ferrari of Atlanta.
One11 Competition will race one Ferrari in the AM class this weekend, the No. 19 for Christopher Cagnazzi, who is currently second in the AM standings who will race alongside Anthony Lazzaro.
The Labor Day weekend event opens with a pair of practices on Friday at noon and 5:30 p.m. (all times ET). Qualifying is set for Saturday at 10:45 a.m. for race 1 and 11:05 a.m. for race 2. The 90-minute Saturday round takes the green flag at 3:10 p.m., while Sunday’s event begins at 3:15 p.m.
Both races and qualifying will be streamed live on gt-world-challenge-america.com, with Sunday’s contest live on the CBS Sports Network beginning at 3 p.m. ET.