Following an impressive debut outing at Sebring, Kyle Marcelli will return to the wheel of a Prancing Horse for the balance of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
Sportscar365 has learned that the 24-year-old Canadian driver has been confirmed in Scuderia Corsa’s No. 64 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, beginning with this weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Marcelli will co-drive Sunday’s two-hour race with veteran Stefan Johansson, the team’s recently appointed sporting director, who stepped aside to let the rising star make his GTD debut at Sebring.
As it turns out, the late opportunity to drive the team’s No. 63 Ferrari helped pave the way for Marcelli to land a full-time ride with the California-based squad.
“The stars just really aligned at Sebring,” Marcelli told Sportscar365. “Stefan was kind enough to step aside and I was able to fulfill his position.
“Our result wasn’t that great. We had some electrical fueling issues. Aside from that, we were one of the leading cars for the first eight hours.
“Following the race at Sebring, Giacomo [Mattioli, team principal] said to make sure I talk to him before I talk to anybody else [about the future]. A couple of days later we connected and they shared their thoughts on offering me a contract for the balance of the year.”
A standout in the Prototype Challenge ranks, Marcelli was due to contest the entire Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup in a Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09, but the team’s late withdrawal of the No. 8 car from Sebring initially left him on the sidelines for the race.
Marcelli, who got permission from Starworks to make the switch to the Giacomo Mattioli-owned squad for the season, is now hoping to make a name for himself in the GT ranks, as he sees that as the best career path in sports car racing today.
“I’ve wanted to make this switch to GT racing for quite a while, probably the last two years,” he said. “2011 was a really good year for me in PC but it really didn’t spark anything.
“I’ve had communications with Viper and Corvette and Porsche but it didn’t really spark any manufacturer opportunity.
“Everybody I spoke to said I really need to be in a GT car. Ron Fellows was one of those people. That’s been a priority of mine. Being a prototype guy, and not having the GT experience, it was tough to get an opportunity.
“Thankfully the stars aligned at Sebring and I got an opportunity. Now it’s led to something full-time. I really want to continue to impress and see where this leads.
“Scuderia Corsa is really well connected with the manufacturer. In a perfect world, I could see myself in a red suit for quite some time.”
Marcelli has been signed for whatever races the No. 64 Ferrari will contest this season.
The car’s exact schedule has yet to be determined but it’s understood no fewer than five additional rounds are being planned beyond Monterey.
Additionally, he will continue his full-season commitment with Rebel Rock Racing in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.