IMSA News Roundup: April 8, 2016

Please see attached press release, below is a text-only version.

IMSA News Roundup: April 8, 2016

Notebook Items Include Hunter-Reay Doing Double Duty; Balzan Set For GTLM Debut In

Ferrari 488 GTE; Galante Combines Love Of Racing, Golf In Monterey

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 8, 2016) – Ryan Hunter-Reay will be tackling a rare double at Long Beach the weekend of April 16-17. Before competing in his regular ride in Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar race, he will join Visit Florida Racing to tackle Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.

The 2012 Indianapolis 500 winner will co-drive with Marc Goossens in the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP. He will be filling in for Ryan Dalziel, who has his lone schedule conflict of the season as he also competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Hunter-Reay drives the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport in Verizon IndyCar Series competition, winning for that team at Long Beach in 2010.

“It’s a new challenge,” Hunter-Reay said of doing double duty. “I love mixing things up, and hopefully it will benefit me in both cars.”

The South Floridian mixed things up at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2009, when he finished 11th with Scott Tucker in the DP class of a GRAND-AM race on the 2.3-mile road course, and then placed 13th for A.J. Foyt on the venue’s 1.5-mile oval. Hunter-Reay planned double duty at Long Beach in 2010, but the Level 5 Motorsports prototype qualified but did not start. Hunter-Reay then went on to win the IndyCar race.

Hunter-Reay opened the 2016 WeatherTech Championship season by placing third in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and then finished fifth in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.

“We didn’t quite have the pace for the two Action Express cars at Sebring – a little lack of balance – but I had a good time in the car before the cooling system went south,” Hunter-Reay said. “We know what we need to do heading into Long Beach – hopefully that will be the race where we break through.”

Scuderia Corsa Adds Balzan To GTLM Lineup

Facing a weekend off from WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) competition, Alessandro Balzan is ready to visit the beach. Long Beach, to be exact, where he will co-drive Scuderia Corsa’s No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE with Daniel Serra in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class.

With regular driver Alessandro Pier Guidi set to compete in the World Endurance Championship race at Silverstone, it made sense for Scuderia Corsa to put Balzan in the car.

“It is a big honor to get drive the Scuderia Corsa No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE at Long Beach,” Balzan said. “The last time I drove a GTE car was in 2012 and I am looking forward to racing for the first time in the GT Le Mans class. The level of competition with all of the factory teams is very, very high but this is very fun for the drivers.

“I am very excited to race at Long Beach. I really enjoy the street circuits, and on the simulator where I am training it looks like a very fun and very challenging circuit. Long Beach is a very special event, and for us it is more than another race as it is the home circuit for Scuderia Corsa with the Ferrari South Bay, Ferrari Beverly Hills and the Ferrari Los Angeles dealerships near the circuit. And after winning at Sebring, I would love to bring them another great result.”

Scuderia Corsa is expected to field both Ferraris in the Continental Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, May 1. Balzan rejoins Christina Nielsen in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida GTD class-winning No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3, with Serra and Pier Guidi expected to share the No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE in the Prototype/GTLM race.

Galante Finds Best Of Racing, Golf Worlds In Monterey

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge driver Nick Galante grew up in Massachusetts, where he caddied in the summer and worked at ski resorts in the winter, but his life-long dream was to drive race cars.

“One of my buddies told me I should move to Monterey, California,” Galante recalled. “I said, ‘Where the heck is that? When he told me that Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was right next to the Pebble Beach golf course in Monterey, I decided that was where I wanted to be. So I drove across the country. I went to the Pebble Beach Pro Shop and found a job there, and then I went to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and told them I wanted to learn how to race cars. They helped me get into a driving school.”

Starting out at age 27, Galante worked his way up the ladder, winning several titles in karting and the Jim Russell F3 Championship. He’s been competing in the Continental Tire Challenge since 2011, finishing 10th in last year’s Grand Sport (GS) points.

He currently co-drives the No. 17 RS1 Legistics/ Porsche Cayman, opening the season with a second-place finish in the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona. He and co-driver Spencer Pumpelly are third in the Street Tuner (ST) standings, only seven points behind leaders Sarah Cattaneo and Owen Trinkler.

In addition to racing, Galante is recognized as one of the top 10 professional caddies at Pebble Beach – the top public golf course in the world.

This weekend, he’s avidly following the action in Augusta, Georgia, where he will be pulling for Rickie Fowler, a leading contender to win the coveted Green Jacket in the Masters. He’ll also be keeping an eye on competitor Nick Watney, for whom he’s caddied in the past.

“Every year following the Masters is a big-time thing,” Galante said. “I have a few buddies who will be caddying, and of course I’m watching Rickie Fowler, whose name is on the hood of our Porsche. I’m also looking forward to our upcoming race. I’ll play some golf with our sponsors – Legistics is big into golf and sponsors a tournament – and then Spencer and I will go out there in our Porsche and try to beat those Mazdas.”

End Quote:

Jordan Taylor, Driver of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP: “We’ve always seemed to run well on both street courses and sprint races. We’ve had a first and second at Long Beach, and then two wins at Detroit. Everything has to go right in these races, from the drivers maximizing every lap, to the guys in the pits for that one crucial stop, to the strategy. So I think it just shows how well our team executes in those situations.”

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