If you were listening to our Podcast last week, you’ll be familiar with the news that our great friend, Jeff Westphal, secured a ride in the #63 Ferrari 458 of Scuderia Corsa. Jeff is a top-shelf driver and has graced our Formula One race review podcasts as well as offered a behind-the-scenes look at the driver during a race weekend in our Op Ed columns.
I have great news to share with you:
After many close calls with victory during the current Grand-AM season, Scuderia Corsa is celebrating a well-deserved second place finish at today’s Porsche 250 held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Less than one second was the difference between the #63 Ferrari 458 and the winning Stephenson Camaro. Jeff Westphal addition to the driver lineup paid off when he qualified the car in fourth place despite very little time behind the wheel. At the start Westphal wasted no time, storming to second place to then lead GT class until co-driver Alessandro Balzan, one of the new stars of Grand-AM, kept on the heels of Robin Liddell in the winning car. The #63 Ferrari held the second spot for much of the race.
Of his team’s strong result, team principal Giacomo Mattioli, said,
“I am very pleased with the result today, we needed a positive weekend after Austin. Because of the rain on Thursday, we had a limited amount of practice and the drivers had to improvise a little. Alessandro and Jeff did a fantastic job, and we look forward to Road Atlanta in a few weeks.”
Helping his team reach the podium in his first race in the #63 Ferrari, San Francisco native Jeff Westphal added,
“It’s great to be back racing again. For me, this weekend was used to get familiar with the car, tires, setup, and to gel with the team. The car and the setup were fantastic and the race was executed well. Moving forward, I have a great feeling.” The team’s Technical Director, Roberto Amorosi affirmed the strong teamwork, saying, “After Austin, the team worked very hard to achieve this result. I am very happy that Jeff is driving with us. Alessandro was great as well and the crew did a great job. I am proud of everyone. This now puts us in a competitive spot in the championship and we will see what we can do in Atlanta.”
Of course it was veteran driver Alessandro Balzan who reminded race fans of the challenges drivers face every weekend,
“The first 5-10 laps were a little surprising for me. I had some difficulty finding the line. After all, this was my first time driving the track in dry conditions. The car felt really good. The last 20 minutes I pushed very hard and the car was so nice to drive, thanks to the crew. Jeff had a great race and I am very happy to be with him. Now we begin to fight for the championship.”
Here was the finishing order:
DP 1st: Jordan Taylor/Max Angelelli, No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP
DP 2nd: Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP
DP 3rd: Ricky Taylor/Richard Westbrook, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP
GT 1st: John Edwards/Robin Liddell, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro
GT 2nd: Jeff Westphal/Alessandro Balzan, No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458
GT 3rd: Boris Said/Eric Curran, No. 31 Whelan/Team Fox Corvette
GX 1st: Jim Norman/Spencer Pumpelly, No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman
GX 2nd: Tristan Nunez/Joel Miller, No. 00 Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource Mazda 6
GX 3rd: Tom Long/Sylvain Tremblay, No. 70 Mazdaspeed/SpeedSource Mazda 6
Margin of Victory: 4.116 seconds (DP); .733 seconds (GT); 3 laps (GX)
Average Speed: 96.494 mph (DP); 88.882 mph (GT); 83.639 mph (GX)
Cautions: 1 for 6 laps
Next stop for Jeff and the team is on April 20th at the Road Atlanta race.