R. Ferri Motorsport is back on the Pirelli World Challenge grid this weekend for the first time since Alex Riberas’ hard crash in qualifying at the SprintX round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but the team’s plans for the rest of the season remain in flux.
Kyle Marcelli, who was signed to contest the five SprintX weekends alongside Riberas for R. Ferri, is entered as the sole driver in the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GT3 this weekend.
Marcelli said the Toronto-based team has been evaluating its options since the crash on its home turf at CTMP in May, and the decision to make the trip to Mid-Ohio for this weekend came on fairly short notice.
“To make a long story short, about a week and a half ago I was told the program was not going to continue for the rest of this year, then the next day I was told we’d be going to Mid-Ohio,” Marcelli told Sportscar365.
“Of course I’m very pleased. I think it’s the best decision for the team and for Ferrari and for the sponsors to keep going.
“It’s a new car to the team, it’s a new car to me, so why not continue the development curve and see what we can learn in the remaining races and just go on a race-by-race basis depending on the result.
“At this point it’s Mid-Ohio only. Assuming we have a good weekend, it might lead to more this season, but at this point it’s race-by-race.”
Marcelli said the team was aided by the fact that team-owner Remo Ferri owns one of just a handful of body shops capable of making the requisite repairs, which included re-welding the subframe on the car.
After a handful of shakedown laps at CTMP, the team put the car through its full paces for the first time since the accident on Thursday and was pleased with the performance.
While Marcelli hopes to be competitive in the pair of races at Mid-Ohio, the Canadian driver said his orders for the next few days start and end with taking care of the extensively-repaired Prancing Horse.
“My instructions were to take absolutely no risks but get a good result, piece of cake!” Marcelli said. “But that’s the plan.
“If we can leave here with no scratches on the car and a good result or two, I think that will be more motivation for the whole program to continue.”
Marcelli added that he went through a wide range of emotions from the time he initially heard the program would be shuttered for the season to the call that they would be heading to Mid-Ohio after all.
With that whirlwind behind him, the 27-year-old said the focus now is making the most of the opportunity.
“You go from a high [at VIR] there to a low at [CTMP] with the off, and then it was a question of what to do for the rest of the season,” Marcelli said.
“Of course the opportunity for me to continue was of high interest on my side, but to find out that we weren’t going to was a lull. I started wondering what I would do now.
“It’s the middle of the season so I’m not going get a drive with any of the other competitor teams, nor would I really have interest in jumping ship this early. Then to find out we were going to go racing, that was the best answer any of us could have hoped for.
“I’m very excited that I had an opportunity this weekend. The goal is to make the most of it, and we’ll see where we sit.”