With a strong record that stretches through the decades at Daytona International Speedway, Ferrari racing teams in both GT classes will be looking to add to that legacy with victory when the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opens with the 57th Rolex 24 at Daytona on Saturday, Jan. 26. The race marks the first to see all IMSA runners on Michelin tires, while the series also opens a new era with NBC Sports as the broadcast partner.
GTLM. Risi Competizione returns to the Rolex 24 in the GT Le Mans category with the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina tested the car in the recent Roar Before the Rolex 24, and will be joined in the race by Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado in an all-Platinum driver lineup.
The team looks to be starting the year off on the right foot after Rigon led the one of the practice sessions, and will look to convert that pace into a new watch on Sunday afternoon.
“This year I think we will have the best drivers in the Ferrari,” said Rigon. “I feel honored to be with the Risi Competizione team. Every time I drive with them I see the professionalism and the perfect organization in all the details. That’s really good, and I thank Mr. Giuseppe Risi for choosing me for driving in his team. I am very happy and looking forward to work together with all the Risi Competizione team.”
GTD. Having just earned an amazing 200th victory with the Ferrari 488 GT3 last weekend, Ferrari will be represented by three teams in the GT Daytona class at Daytona.
Spirit of Race will have the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GT3 with Pedro Lamy, Daniel Serra, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana. Via Italia Racing will have Andrea Bertolini, Victor Franzoni, Marcos Gomes and Chico Longo in the No. 13 Ferrari 488 GT3.
Scuderia Corsa will have the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3, driven by Toni Vilander, Dominik Farnbacher, Cooper MacNeil and Jeff Westphal. Westphal led the Ferrari GTD drivers in a special qualifying session at the Roar, running a lap of 1:45.753 in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, good enough for fifth-fastest as IMSA set the positions for pit lane and garage selections.
“I was surprised how well everything was prepped and how the team spirit was when I arrived for the Roar test,” said Farnbacher. “Straight out of the box I felt comfortable in the WeatherTech Ferrari. It is well engineered and prepared for the Daytona circuit. I think we have a good chance to make this a very good race. It will not be a walk in the park. The competition is strong. But we have a fantastic lineup with our lightning fast bronze Cooper, Ferrari Factory driver Tony and myself and Jeff as the fast addition to the lineup. Man I can’t wait.”
Ferrari a Five-Time Winner of Daytona Event. Ferrari has a strong history at Daytona, winning the prestigious race overall five times in addition to capturing several class victories in the event now known as the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team scored overall wins with Pedro Rodriguez in a Ferrari 250 GTO in 1963 (when it was the three-hour Daytona Continental) and 1964 as Rodriguez and Phil Hill triumphed in a Ferrari 250 GTO, with Ferraris taking the top three positions.
Ferrari won the 1967 24-Hour Daytona Continental in a 1-2-3 photo finish. Lorenzo Bandini and Chris Amon shared the winning factory-entered Ferraro 330P4. The Ferrari factory also swept the top two in the 1972 event – a six-hour race due to the fuel crisis – in a one-two finish led by Mario Andretti and Jacky Ickx in a Ferrari 312PB.
Daytona was also the scene of another triumph for the iconic Ferrari 333SP, as Gianpiero Moretti, Arie Luyendyk, Mauro Baldi and Didier Theys co-drove to an overall victory in 1998. The most recent run to victory lane came in 2014 when Pier Guidi, Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell, Jeff Segal and Scott Tucker won GTD in the Level Five Motorsports Ferrari F458 Italia.
New GTD Qualifying Rules. Qualifying for all WeatherTech Championship events will have new rules for the GTD class, with the Bronze-or Silver-rated drivers required to qualify and start the car.
Weekend Schedule. The 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona will open with practice on Thursday, January 24, with the event taking the green flag at 2:35 PM on January 26. Fans will enjoy live race coverage on NBC Sports, with IMSA Radio also carrying every on-track session through the weekend.