After a qualifying race to set the grids for the 2021 running of the 24 Hours at Daytona, Ferrari is set for a strong showing at the famed endurance race. With a clear and warm weekend forecasted, and 50 cars on the official entry list, the 2021 edition of the race is set to kick off the 2021 IMSA season on a high note.
GTLM. The Ferrari charge will be led by GT-Le Mans stalwart Risi Competizione in the no. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Set to start from the fourth position in the GTLM category, the Risi squad is searching for its first-ever Daytona 24 win, a final feather in in the cap for a team that has won every other major endurance race in North America, most recently taking the GTLM class win at the 2019 Petit Le Mans.
Sharing the driving duties will be Brit James Calado, Italians Alessandro Pier Guidi and Davide Rigon, and also Frenchman Jules Gounon. The line up features a combined 25 starts in the famed 24-hour race as Calado will be making his sixth start in the famed 24-hour race, five of which have been with the Risi team, while Pier Guidi and Rigon are the most experienced of the group, with eight Daytona 24-Hour appearances a piece. Gounon, meanwhile will be making his third start in the 24 hour, and the first with the Risi team. Gounon’s experience with Risi runs deep, however, as he has two 24 Hours of Le Mans appearances with the American squad in 2019 and 2020.
GTD. In the GT-Daytona category, the charge will be led by the no. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 from the Scuderia Corsa team, who will start from eighth. Scuderia Corsa is also still searching for their first Daytona 24-hour win, having also taken class wins at the Sebring 12hr and Petit Le Mans. The team offers a very diverse range of experience, led by GT racing stalwart and 2020 prototype champion- Ryan Briscoe who won the 2020 edition of the 24 Hours in the prototype category. Joining Ryan will be Indycar ace, Ed Jones, who will mark this trip as his first to Daytona and his first start in a GT race. They will be joined by Marcos Gomes, who last took on the 24 Hours contest in 2019 and set the fastest lap of the race in the GTD category that year, and Bret Curtis who brings immense experience in GT racing from his numerous starts at Le Mans and in the SRO GT World Challenge championship.
AF Corse, meanwhile will field the no. 21 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 in a return to Daytona competition after a brief hiatus. Unfortunately, the team’s week did not get off to a great start, as an early puncture in the qualifying race will force the team to start from 16th. With 24 hours of racing, however, there will be plenty of time for the impressive line up of Daniel Serra, Nicklas Nielsen, Matteo Cressoni and Simon Mann to recover as the race progresses. Daniel has plenty of Daytona experience, having competed in the race every year since 2016, most recently for Risi Competizione in 2020 while fellow factory driver Nielsen is a Daytona neophyte as is Cressoni and Mann, though while Nielsen and Mann are making their North American debut, Matteo has prior experience on the continent in the SRO championship.
Schedule. Practice sessions will fill January 29th as drivers make last preparations and tweaks before getting a good night’s sleep for Saturday’s race start. The green flag on 24 hours of racing will be at 3:40pm (all times in ET) and will conclude 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon. The opening hours of the race will be available to watch on NBC until 4:30pm, at which point it will switch over to NBC Sports Network into the evening hours. The race will return to NBC at 2:00pm on Sunday for the build up to the checkered flag at 3:40pm.