With an automatic invite in hand, Scuderia Corsa is set to make its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut next year with an all-American driver lineup for its Ferrari F458 Italia in the GTE-Am class.
Team principal Giacomo Mattioli confirmed to Sportscar365 that the California-based team is now finalizing its entry for the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic, a project that’s being led by championship-winning driver Bill Sweedler.
Sweedler and Townsend Bell, who claimed the 2014 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup with AIM Autosport, have moved to Scuderia Corsa for next year’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
The longtime driver pairing will also spearhead the lineup for the team’s Le Mans entry.
“Giacomo and I are focused on putting the best possible All-American lineup together for Scuderia Corsa,” Sweedler told Sportscar365. “After winning the NAEC in 2014, we were hopeful to get an invite to Le Mans.
“We’re thrilled that IMSA helped bring this to fruition. We hope to represent our series well.”
The deal to put an American-entered Ferrari on the grid at Le Mans has been in the works for a number of years, according to Sweedler, who will make his race debut alongside the open-wheel and sports car ace.
“Both Townsend and I have been focused on Le Mans since our win at the 12 hours of Sebring in 2012,” he said. “The win at Daytona this year further reinforced our goal to get there in 2015.”
With Sweedler classified as a Bronze-rated driver and Bell as a Gold, the team is working to finalize its Silver-rated American pilot to complete the lineup.
Sweedler confirmed they will utilize the Ferrari GTE chassis the duo drove in the ALMS in 2013 when under the Team West/Alex Job Racing banner, with Scuderia Corsa in the process of prepping the Prancing Horse prior to shipment to Europe.
The team is exploring a cooperation with AF Corse for the program, although Mattioli said it could end up being an entire Scuderia Corsa effort instead.
Meanwhile, plans are being put into place for a pre-Le Mans test program, which could include a round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
With the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps falling on the same weekend as the TUDOR Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the FIA WEC season-opener at Silverstone would be the team’s only pre-Le Mans race option in the globe-trotting championship.
“We’re evaluating a testing schedule in Europe, as well as non-conflicting TUDOR Championship weekends, to ensure we are ready to arrive in France for the Le Mans Test Day,” Sweedler said. “We will not miss Detroit, so we’re working on flight logistics.”
The team is expected to formally announce its Le Mans program, its complete driver lineup, in the coming weeks.