Ferrari will be looking for a strong finish to the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in Saturday’s season-ending Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Cooper MacNeil and Alessandro Balzan will be joined by Jeff Westphal driving Scuderia Corsa’s No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in the 12-hour classic on the converted airport circuit. In their last outing together, the trio won the GT Daytona class in another American endurance classic, the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
With the 12-hour race postponed from its usual March date due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sebring International Raceway hosted a WeatherTech Championship race in July. MacNeil and Toni Vilander took second in that event, the Grand Prix which was a two-hour, 40-minute race on the 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit. The result was part of the IMSA Sprint Cup which did not award points for the GTD season championship.
MacNeil and Balzan finished seventh in the most recent IMSA round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The pair ran fourth for virtually the entire two-hour, 40-minute race before Balzan was spun out by the fifth-place car with only 15 minutes remaining. The Italian lost four positions in the incident but was only able to regain one of them before time ran out.
The Sebring circuit is one that has long played host to Ferrari success. Fangio’s earned the first Sebring victory for Ferrari in 1956, with the marque taking a string of four straight overall wins from 1961-64.
An iconic moment in motorsport was Mario Andretti’s amazing victory over Steve McQueen and Peter Revson in the final night time moments of the 1970 edition of the 12 hour classic. The win came after Andretti jumped into the team’s Ferrari 512S with co-drivers Nino Vaccarella and Ignazio Giunti and stormed to victory.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of that epic outing, and Andretti will be honored this weekend as the Grand Marshal of the event.
That legacy has been maintained in the modern era as well. MacNeil, Westphal and Vilander took third in the 2019 running of the Twelve Hours of Sebring for Scuderia Corsa.
MacNeil won the 2013 Sebring classic for Alex Job Racing after finishing second with that team in 2012, competing in the ALMS GTC category. An eight-time competitor in the event, he also finished second in the WeatherTech Championship GTD class with Scuderia Corse in 2018; third for Ferrari in 2019; and fourth with Alex Job Racing in 2014.
In four WeatherTech Championship races, Balzan has three podium finishes in four races at Sebring, winning for Scuderia Corsa in 2016. He also finished second for the team in both 2017 and 2018.
This will be the third time at Sebring for Westphal – all for Scuderia Corsa – with his best third in 2019.
Practice for the Twelve Hours of Sebring opens with three practice sessions on Thursday. There will be a pair of one-hour periods beginning at 10:50 a.m. and 3:35 p.m. (all times ET), followed by a 90-minute night practice at 7:45 p.m. Friday has GTD qualifying at 10:15 a.m. Daniel Serra holds the current Sebring GTD qualifying track record of 1:58.710-seconds that he set in 2018 on board a Ferrari 488 GT3.
The main event is set to start at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday.