Ferrari will be looking to build on its impressive legacy in one of America’s premier endurance events with a three-car entry in Saturday’s 70th anniversary of the Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway.
Ferrari has 12 overall victories and 37 class triumphs at the challenging airport circuit built around a World War II training facility. This weekend, the Marque of the Prancing Horse will have entries in both GT classes in Round 2 of the IMSA SportsCar Championship. Both classes feature cars built or adapted to international GT3 specifications, with GTD limited to Pro-Am driver lineups.
The weekend is also the 50th anniversary of Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti winning the 1972 12 Hours in a Ferrari 312. Ickx will give the command to start engines in his role as Grand Marshal of this year’s event.
GTD Pro. Risi Competizione will return with the No. 62 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in the new GTD Pro category with drivers Daniel Serra, Davide Rigon and Edward Cheever III.
Serra and Rigon– partnered with Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado– placed second in the class in the 2022 season-opening Daytona 24 Hours. The team led many laps and ran in podium contention throughout the race, which was run in near-record chilly temperatures. The team took second with a pass by Pier Guidi on the final lap of the race.
Cheever raced in the 2018 Sebring 12-hour event, driving a DPi for Spirit of Daytona. He also competed in the 2019 FIA WEC 1,000-mile race, placing fifth in LMGTE Am in an MR Racing Ferrari 488 GTE.
“We have a great deal of history at Sebring, including three victories,” said Giuseppe Risi, Team Principal. “Returning to a track we have experienced much success over the years certainly gets everyone excited. It will be a big weekend with the WEC (World Endurance Championship) teams competing on Friday and our 12-hour race on Saturday. Fans should enjoy many hours of good racing, and particularly with the Ferrari battles in both series.”
GTD. AF Corse returns in the GTD category, fielding the No. 21 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 for Simon Mann, Luis Perez Companc and Toni Vilander.
Joined by Nicklas Nielsen, the three drivers opened the year by running in the Daytona 24 Hours, just missing the podium by 10 seconds with a fourth-place finish for AF Corse after the team was required to serve a drive-through penalty in the final 30 minutes.
The Ferrari was the car to beat in the early hours of the race before being slowed slightly by on-track contact. AF Corse is looking to compete for the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which showcases the endurance classics at Watkins Glen and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in addition to the races at Daytona and Sebring. Vilander and Mann will both also compete in the World Endurance Championship.
Completing the Ferrari attack is the No. 47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with an all-Italian driver lineup of Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Antonio Fuoco.
The three drivers joined Alessio Rovera in placing 14th in the 24 Hour. That was the team’s IMSA debut with Ferrari, extending a European partnership with AF Corse.
A Historic Contest. Seven of Ferrari’s overall triumphs came from 1956 through 1964 for the Italian-based factory team. Juan Manuel Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti gave Ferrari its first victory in 1956, sharing a Ferrari 860 Monza, while Phil Hill won back-to-back in 1958 and 1959, driving a Ferrari 250TR. Hill added a third victory in a similar car, opening a streak of four consecutive Ferrari victories from 1961 through 1964.
Mario Andretti won the 1970 race in a Ferrari 512S with Ignazio Giunti and Nino Vaccarella. Andretti and Ickx completed the Daytona-Sebring double for Ferrari in 1972.
The venerable Ferrari F333 SP won the event three times from 1995 through 1998. Gianpiero Moretti, Mauro Baldi and Didier Theys backed up their Daytona 24-hour victory in 1998 for Kevin Doran’s Momo team, while Andy Evans and Fermin Velez won twice for Scandia Motorsports in 1995 and 1997.
More recently, Ferraris tallied four class victories in five years from 2007 through 2011, including three by Jamie Melo. The most recent victory was in 2016, when Christina Nielsen, Jeff Segal and Alessandro Balzan won GTD for Scuderia Corsa in a Ferrari 488 GT3 on the way to Balzan and Nielsen securing a history-making IMSA championship.
Schedule. Practice for the Twelve Hours of Sebring begins at 10:15 a.m. (all times ET) on Thursday. Qualifying begins Friday at 9:20 a.m., followed by a 1,000-mile/eight hour FIA World Endurance Championship race at noon. The main event takes the green flag at 10:10 a.m. on Saturday.