After making its track debut at home in Fiorano, the Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am will be back in action on 26 and 27 July, 2011 for a private test session at Florida's Daytona International Speedway. Taking turns at the wheel will be the tried and tested duo of Jaime Melo and Toni Vilander who can pride themselves of having an extensive list of wins to their name in Ferraris. They will continue development work on the Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am in preparation for its participation in the 2012 American championship.
The Ferrari 458 Grand Am is built to match the American regulations and is therefore different to the European car, especially in that it develops 500 horsepower and has less efficient aerodynamics than the GT version. It is also fitted wîth a 48 mm restrictor and maximum revs are 8000. Significant modifications have been made to the braking system, as the car has neither ABS nor traction control. Other differences to the GT3 include the roll-over bar which gives greater lateral protection to increase safety in a series in which collisions are rather more frequent. The car is fitted wîth tyres from Continental, the sole supplier to the series, featuring a very hard compound, again to conform wîth the series regulations. On its shakedown today, it completed a good number of trouble-free laps, 45 to be precise in the hands of Maurizio Mediani and Jaime Melo, as they took turns at the wheel.
Daytona recalls many memories of past Ferrari victories in the famous 24 Hour race, the company having close links wîth this important event. In fact, Ferrari has taken part in 47 of these endurance races, winning five of them outright as well as taking 15 class wins.
Standing out in that list was an amazing clean sweep of the podium in 1967 for the two Ferrari 330 P4 and a 412 N.A.R.T., while back in 1962, Phil Hill and Ricardo Rodriguez won in a Dino 246 SP. That year, no less than four Ferraris finished in the top ten while in 1972, Mario Andretti and Jacky Ickx won in a 312 PB.Source - Ferrari
Ferrari on the podium at the Daytona 24 Hours
Ferrari's adventure in the 51st Daytona 24 Hours ended wîth one car on the podium and three places in the top ten, at the end of the legendary endurance race held at Florida's Daytona International Speedway.
The long and closely contested race began yesterday afternoon and the 458 Grand AM was taking part in the event for the second time, after last year's debut appearance.
Of the six cars flying the Maranello marque's colours in the Únited States, the best result came from AIM Autosport, the reigning Grand AM champions wîth a crew made up of Emil Assentato- Anthony Lazzaro – Nick Longhi – Craig Wilkins, who took the third place on the podium on the very last lap, behind the two Sport Customer Racing Audis.
Fourth at the flag, the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari in the hands of Monegasque driver Olivier Beretta, along wîth the Italians, Alessandro Balzan – Marco Frezza – Alessandro Pieguidi, who were very competive in this team's first attempt at this race, although, wîth four hours remaining they took a penalty because of a collision after the umpteenth appearance of the safety car, which compromised the Los Angeles based team's legitimate aspirations to victory. The AF Waltrip and Extreme Speed Motorsport cars finished eighth and ninth respectively, while the second AIM Autosport car, run in conjunction wîth Canadian dealer Remo Ferri and crewed by Giancarlo Fisichella – Max Papis – Toni Vilander – Jeff Segal had to retire. In fact, right from the start this no. 61 car suffered wîth electrical problems which spoilt its chances of getting to the podium, although the crew showed great potential and usually were the fastest on track.Source - Ferrari