Three Ferrari teams will tackle the Las Vegas Motor Speedway road course for this weekend’s season-ending Blancpain GT World Challenge America. The event is the first to be held on the oval-based road circuit as Blancpain GT closes out its global championship season with the North American finale event.
R. FERRI MOTORSPORT
With the Blancpain GT World Challenge driver championship secured, R. Ferri Motorsport will look to also claim the manufacturer and team championships in the finale. Miguel Molina returns to the lineup of the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GT3, joining newly crowned driver champion Toni Vilander.
Daniel Serra filled in for the recent weekends at Watkins Glen International and Road America, scoring first in the Pro category in all four races including his strong late race charge at Road America to help seal the driver championship for Vilander.
“It looks like the driver championship is done and we won it, but there’s still the team and the manufacturer championships to fight for,” Vilander said. “I’m looking forward to a nice weekend, and hopefully we will have a good run. Daniel will be racing the stock cars in Brazil, so Miguel will come back, and now we’ll have the same lineup that we used for most of the season.”
The event will be held on a nine-turn, 1.1-mile layout utilizing the speedway’s oval and infield layout. It was last used in professional sports car competition in 2000.
“Las Vegas is a little bit of an unknown,” Vilander said. “The track layout doesn’t say much. I’ll known more when I see the track in real life, especially on Thursday when I get to run on the track. Hopefully, it will be a nice circuit and a nice event.”
Martin Fuentes – who already clinched the Blancpain GT Am driving title – moves to the Pro ranks this weekend with Renger van der Zande sharing the No. 7 Squadra Corse Ferrari. Fuentes won all eight races he entered in the Am category to clinch the championship. Squadra Corse moved to the Pro-Am ranks for the most recent event at Road America, finishing seventh and sixth in the competitive category co-driving with Mark Issa.
This weekend, he’s joined by van der Zande, the 2019 winner of the 24 Hours At Daytona and second-place finisher in the recent Petit Le Mans.
“I’ve never been there,” said van der Zande of the Las Vegas circuit. “Every weekend you go to, you want to win. Martin is a good friend of mine, and he’s asked me a few times to do something with him. I’ve never done it with him because it was during the season, but now that the IMSA season is over we can do it. Martin is a cool guy, and as a non-Pro, he’s very fast and his lap times are very close to the Pro guys. This weekend is a very good opportunity and it’s all new for us – a blank sheet – and off we go.”
Having raced to the conclusion of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last weekend, Scuderia Corsa will move its focus to the Blancpain GT event as it fields the red No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Alessandro Balzan and Bret Curtis.
“Las Vegas is Scuderia Corsa’s home city now, because the team has been based there for the last two years,” Balzan said. “I’ve also lived in Vegas for the last four years, so I’m local there – even if I’ve never even drove on nor raced on that track. It looks nice as a speedway plus infield, and it’s a brand-new championship for me. I’ve raced in Pirelli World Championship in 2015, but never raced for SRO in America. I’m really happy that Bret Curtis decided to race with me. It’s our second race together, after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2017 (GTE Am), also in a Ferrari.
“I’m excited,” Balzan added. “The level of the competition is very high, and I know all of the Ferraris will be fighting for a very good result. We will try to do our best.”
While new to the racetrack, Balzan will be driving a very familiar car.
“This is the car that I drove to win the IMSA championship in 2017,” Balzan said. “It’s a car that I know very well. We were on a different tire at the time, but I’ve raced the same spec Pirelli tire in a different series and that should be a little help for me. Ferrari and Pirelli is always a great combination.”
Schedule. The provisional weekend schedule opens with Blancpain GT World Challenge America practice on Thursday at 11:35 p.m. (All times ET). Friday begins with final practice at 2:30 p.m., followed by qualifying at 6:50 and 7:10 p.m. Both 90-minute races will be held on Saturday, at 1:55 and 10:30 p.m.