Scuderia Corsa will be looking to continue Ferrari’s winning tradition when it returns the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo to Saturday’s 23rd running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Scuderia Corsa will have a new lineup for the 10-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event. Cooper MacNeil will be joined by three-time Scuderia Corsa champion Alessandro Balzan and endurance specialist Jeff Westphal for the race, which is the third round of the Endurance Cup.
In its most recent IMSA outing, Toni Vilander was running fourth when the WeatherTech Ferrari was taken out by a DPi competitor with only 12 minutes remaining in the six-hour race at Road Atlanta.
Since then, the team raced the WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo in the GTE Pro category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and MacNeil continued to dominate the Ferrari Challenge lead Trofeo Pirelli division at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. MacNeil saw his 2020 Ferrari Challenge victory streak ended at eight when he experienced mechanical issues in the Saturday race, but he bounced back in the No. 63 Ferrari Westlake 488 Challenge Evo to dominate Sunday’s race in quest to become a back-to-back champion in the category.
MacNeil then clinched his third consecutive Ferrari Challenge title in last weekend’s season finale at Sebring. He kept his pole position streak perfect at 12, and then won the Sunday finale after placing second on Saturday. He won 10 of the 12 events.
Balzan and Westphal finished second in the recent Indianapolis 8 Hour, helping Ferrari driver Martin Fuentes secure the SRO GT World Challenge America Pro Am title. Balzan won the final Series GT crown in 2013, and won the 2016 and 2017 IMSA WeatherTech Championship GTD titles, all in a Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.
Scuderia Corsa’s best finish of the IMSA season was in the sprint round at Sebring with a second-place finish. MacNeil and Vilander also finished fourth at Road America.
Ferraris Captured First, Most Recent Petit Le Mans. Ferraris have bookended the Petit Le Mans, winning overall in the inaugural event in 1998 while capturing GT class victories in three of the last four years.
Doyle Risi Racing won the first Petit Le Mans with Wayne Taylor, Eric van de Poele and Emmanuel Collard driving a Ferrari 333SP. Risi Competizione won GTLM honors in 2016 with Giancarlo Fisichella, Vilander and James Calado, and returned to the top of the GTLM podium last year with the Le Mans-winning lineup of Alessandro Pier Guidi, Calado and Daniel Serra.
Scuderia Corsa won in GT Daytona in 2018, with MacNeil joined by Serra and Gunnar Jeannette. Last year, MacNeil, Westphal and Vilander placed fifth in GTD.
Other Ferrari highlights in the event include a 1-2 GTS finish in 2003 for the Prodrive Ferrari team, with Alain Menu, Peter Kox and Tomas Enge driving a Ferrari 550 Maranello. Risi Competizione won from the pole in both 2008 and 2009, with Jamie Melo, Mika Salo and Pierre Kaffer (2009) sharing a Ferrari 430 GT2.
Event not the season finale. With the coronavirus pandemic rearranging the IMSA schedule, the Petit Le Mans will not occupy its traditional position as the WeatherTech Championship season finale. Road Atlanta replaced the Watkins Glen Six Hour in September, and will now host the third round of the Endurance Cup. The IMSA season continues Nov. 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and concludes with the Twelve Hours of Sebring on Nov. 14.
Practice for Petit Le Mans begins Thursday at 11:15 a.m. (all times ET), with an additional session at 3:45 p.m. and night practice at 7:30 p.m. Friday has GTD qualifying at 12:30 a.m. There will be a Saturday morning warm-up at 9:10 a.m., with the 10-hour race set to start at 12:40 p.m.