After turning heads in St. Pete, TR3 Racing and Daniel Mancinelli are hoping to add more races to their already confirmed slate of Pirelli World Challenge events this year.
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based team, run by brothers Gregory, Arthur and Oliver Romanelli, made its PWC debut last weekend, with Mancinelli, initially classified as a GTA entrant, scoring a surprise overall pole.
While the 28-year-old Italian went on to record a 10th place overall finish in Race 2, Mancinelli nearly pulled off a podium for not a last-lap bobble that dropped the former Italian Formula Renault 2.0 champion to 14th at the checkered flag.
“It’s impressive. The level is very high,” Mancinelli told Sportscar365.
“In qualifying, there were 14 cars within one second. That gap on a street circuit is normally [higher]. I found out there’s factory [teams] like Cadillac, McLaren, Porsche North America and so on.
“It was really a big satisfaction for me and for the TR3 Racing to get a pole. I had never seen the race track before Thursday; it was very tricky.
“It would have been wonderful to bring a podium, but it didn’t happen for jut a little bit. I’m very happy for me and the team because everyone did a great job.”
The team, which has fielded cars in Ferrari Challenge for the last two years, took delivery of its Ferrari 488 GT3 car last July, entering it in an end-of-year Italian GT Championship race in Mugello.
With Mancinelli and Gregory Romanelli having also taking part in last year’s Total 24 Hours of Spa last year, the duo were set to contest the SprintX series together until a Ferrari challenge accident sidelined Romanelli with leg injuries.
“The SprintX series is what really got us because we could race together,” Romanelli said. “I’m more of a beginner driver, having done Ferrari Challenge.
“It would help me grow and Daniel could get in the car and the team can move forward.
“We’re hoping that Daniel is able to do the Sprint races; that’d be amazing. If I’m OK to run the SprintX, maybe we could do it together or have another driver come in for us.”
Romanelli said they’re currently committed to the Sprint round at Road America and SprintX event at Circuit of The Americas but are also discussing the possibility of adding Long Beach, and other PWC races to the schedule, following their strong start at St. Pete.
“The program might now change,” he said. “We may run a Pro-Pro [driver] program.
“We have to go back home, talk to our [partners] to see what we can get out of them for the full season. They’ve already been impressed with what we’ve already did.
“It’s a huge step for us, going against six or seven factory backed teams. We’re a team built by three brothers. It’s not a [factory] backed team. For that it is a huge job.”
As for the potential of the program turning into a full-season effort, Mancinelli admitted it would be an ideal scenario but for now has remained realistic.
“It would be very great for me,” he said. “I hope that can happen. But we have to decide together with the team. We’ll see. But for sure it would be wonderful to make the full season.
“It was nice and a big surprise that the other competitors see that they have to beat you. That’s cool and it gives me more force to go quicker.”