AUSTIN, Texas (September 19, 2016) - Scuderia Corsa Ferrari continued their pursuit of the GTD-class Championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series with drivers Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan piloting the No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 to third place at the Circuit of the Americas.
The hot September weather brought an equally challenging dynamic to the race as the field of competitors such as race winners Turner Motorsport in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 and second place-finishers Paul Miller Racing in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3.
Nielsen capitalized on a strong start, taking the AERO-painted Ferrari from fifth to fourth, creating a dominant position for the team. However, the driver change resulted in a 10th place position for co-driver Balzan.
Balzan battled hard at the wheel, gaining positions where he could on both strategy and on-track grit. Thankfully, the ultra-durable AERO™ paint film helped keep the car intact as it careened through the race field to fourth.
The Scuderia Corsa's shrewd fuel strategy then allowed Balzan to capture the podium on the final laps, for a valuable points-paying finish.
"A podium finish is always nice," Nielsen stated, "but early in the race I was thinking about our closest championship competitors. As soon as we got through the start and was in fourth position, I knew that we had a big gap [...] so I began to back off." She continued, "I loved every minute of it, even though it was way too hot!"
Balzan remarked "The Ferrari 488 GT3 was great today." Despite the heat, he commended the team and and his co-driver for excellent on- and off-track efforts. "To score another podium is incredible, and now we are all very excited to go to Petit Le Mans and win the title for Scuderia Corsa and Ferrari!"
The third place finish at COTA helps extend the championship win for Scuderia Corsa to 32 points with one race remaining. As such, drivers only need to meet the minimum drive time requirements, barring any other penalties, in order to secure the championship for the IMSA GT-Daytona class.
Catch the action from Road Atlanta September 28 to October 1 at the Petit Le Mans; the season finale for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Photo credit to Bob Chapman, Autosport Image