The Prancing Horse logo has been making its mark over the years in Pirelli World Challenge with the Ferrari marque winning GT races with numerous drivers and teams.
Last year, TR3 Racing captured three PWC GT SprintX races with drivers Daniel Mancinelli, Andrea Montermini and Nicolo Schiro taking the No. 31 Ferrari 488 GT3 to wins at Virginia International Raceway, Utah Motorsports Campus and Circuit of the Americas. Mancinelli, meanwhile , won again a week ago in the streets of Long Beach.
With this weekend’s Grand Prix of Virginia presented by Audi Sport set, Ferrari could be the favorites again.
While Mancinelli sits out this weekend, the R. Ferri Motorsport duo of Toni Vilander and Spain’s Miguel Molina could be the pair to beat when practice get underway on Friday.
Last month at COTA, Vilander and Molina proved to be the class of the GT SprintX field with a sweep of the weekend and beating cars from Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini.
“The COTA event was my first race with Miguel, but he has a lot of experience with the Ferrari in the Blancpain Series in Europe,” said Vilander.
“We had great pit stops there and that helped us gain the advantage. We practice the driver change a lot. His input on the car and the various information we received was a big help too. We were aiming at that minimum time in the pits. Miguel pulled out of the pits with the lead and he did a great job extending the lead to the checkered flag. The team is really professional and gives us a great car.”
Vilander and Molina enter VIR this weekend with a five-point margin in the current GT SprintX point standings.
“When I was told I would do the SprintX championship, I was looking up some of the old races, checking out which cars and drivers and manufacturers were involved with the championship,” said Molina. “I took that information to Toni and we had long conversations about it, so that put me in a good place to start off the championship. I knew the car and the tires so, in the end, it was a little easier to transition into this year.
“We were really happy with everything at COTA and we’re doing a good job together, especially since this was my first race with Toni and the team. I think there’s no better way to start the season or a championship than this.
“Toni tested at VIR too and really liked the circuit. I’m anxious to get there this weekend.”
Vilander added: “Overall, it might look easy or like we have it under control, but it’s always a hard battle, a hard fight. The Mercedes was not allowing us to win easily. Also, the Porsche picked up some more speed and was a little more competitive and had two wins in St. Pete, so these are exciting races.”
In addition to Vilander and Molina’s Ferrari success, 2016 GTA series champion Martin Fuentes has taken his Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3 to four class victories already in the GTA Sprint and GT SprintX Am class.
The Mexico City veteran driver took wins GTA Sprint wins in the streets of St. Petersburg and teamed with Caesar Bacarella to capture the two GT SprintX Am events at COTA.
Fuentes also took second place a week ago at Long Beach in the GTA category.