Scuderia Corsa targets a GTD home victory at Long Beach


Competing with the Ferrari 488 GT3 for the first time on the prestigious street circuit, Scuderia Corsa and drivers Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan will take to this weekend's Grand Prix of Long Beach with a clear target of victory following their podium performance during the most recent race at the 12 Hours of Sebring.

With Scuderia Corsa serving as the racing arm for Southern California-based Ferrari dealerships including Ferrari Beverly Hills, Ferrari Westlake, and Ferrari South Bay, the team will arrive as the lone Ferrari entrant in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's GT-Daytona (GTD) category.

The history of Ferrari and the Grand Prix of Long Beach feature a rich pairing, dating all the way to the very first Formula One Grand Prix at the venue, where Clay Regazzoni and the 312 T2 took victory in 1976, it would begin a legacy of performance at the storied street circuit that continues to today. Carrying the mantle for the marque in to this weekend's Grand Prix, Scuderia Corsa will participate with the added expectations of being the home team, with both the organization and driver Christina Nielsen residing in the Los Angeles area.

After a second-place result at Sebring just three weeks ago, the team is currently enjoying a surge of championship momentum that should suit them well around the tricky 1.9-mile, 11-turn street circuit. As a temporary configuration on city streets that literally line Long Beach's downtown "Pike" district, the circuit leaves little room for error.

With the narrow confines lined by walls on all sides, the slightest mistake can result in extensive damage. As the shortest race of the year at one-hour, 40-minutes, Saturday's event will kick-off the "sprint" season for the championship, with the majority of races now running under three hours; a major departure from the first two races which combined for 36 hours of racing.

The team's extensive dealership relationships will be in full effect as they host dozens of proud Ferrari owners throughout the festivities, set in a scenic backdrop unlike any other in motorsports. Boasting the marque's track heritage, not only did Ferrari win three of the first four Formula One races that took place in Long Beach, but Scuderia Corsa also took a debut victory there last year in a Ferrari 458, with driver Martin Fuentes crossing the finish line first in his class while competing in the Pirelli World Challenge.

For driver Christina Nielsen, who resides in Los Angeles, the excitement of her "home race" is palpable.


"I raced there for the first time two years ago in a different car, and I don't believe the Ferrari 488 GT3 has raced there yet so it's going to be interesting to see how it goes," stated Nielsen. "We had a good car at Detroit last year which is also a street circuit, so we just have to work with what we have. It's a super-cool event and a super-cool track, we'll be running on the same weekend as IndyCar, and I'm looking forward to being back after our podium finish at Sebring. It's sort of the home race for the team, they're doing a good job, and it's definitely a race where qualifying and pit stops are going to be really crucial since it's hard to overtake on street circuits. It's only a 100-minute race, but hopefully we can start from scratch, find a good setup, I'm sure the team will nail it during the pit stops, and that will result in a great run."

For team owner Giacomo Mattioli, a Beverly Hills local, the home race for everyone involved is an event not-to-be-missed.

"We always feel extra positive pressure and enjoyment when it's in front of our home crowd," stated Mattioli. "With so many of our friends coming for the event, our team is coming with expectations to put on a great show on Saturday's race. It's such a short race and such a tricky course that we know how challenging it can be, but we should have a great car and would like to add another Ferrari victory to the legacy of Long Beach  on its 70th anniversary."

Practice for the Grand Prix of Long Beach begins this Friday, April 7, with the race taking place one day later on Saturday, April 7 with live coverage on FOX at 4PM ET.