Alessandro Balzan said he’s relishing the “incredible opportunity” to mount a full season championship attack in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS with Conquest Racing following the team’s strong start to the program at the end of last year.
Balzan will team up with Manny Franco at the wheel of the No. 21 Ferrari 296 GT3 in the Pro class, as one of only two of the new-for-2023 Prancing Horses in the field.
The team took part in the final two rounds of the season last year in a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, highlighted by a pole for Balzan at Sebring International Raceway and fourth and second place finishes in the pair of 90-minute races at the Florida airfield circuit.
Franco elected to sit out the season-ending Indianapolis 8 Hour powered by AWS but is set for a full season program alongside the Italian, a two-time IMSA GTD champion.
“I’m extremely proud and excited to be a part of the Conquest Racing and Corsa Horizon team for the upcoming 2023 SRO season,” said Balzan.
“To be sharing the new Ferrari 296 GT3 with Manny is an incredible opportunity. Our debut last year at Sebring with the 488 GT3 was very successful and Manny showed remarkable speed.
“We want to be competitive and hit the ground running in Sonoma with the new car. The team has been working really hard to be ready for the event, I can’t wait to start this new challenge.”
While having had limited time to prepare with the Ferrari, team owner Eric Bachelart is hopeful of making “quick progress” with the new car, which made its competition debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Sonoma will mark the first SRO race for the V6-powered machine.
“I am looking forward to continuing our GT3 program in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America with Manny Franco and Alessandro Balzan aboard our new 296 GT3 Ferrari,” said Bachelart.
“We had very little track time with this car to prepare for our first race event in Sonoma but I am convinced we will make quick progress and find good speed with the car.
“We had great success with the 488 GT3 in the final two races of the 2022 season and this new 296 Ferrari should even be better in the longer run.”