Memo Gidley and Matteo Malucelli crash at 2014 Rolex 24Enlarge Photo
Winkelhock an Guidi battle for position at the end of the 2014 Rolex 24 at DaytonaEnlarge Photo
With so much on-track action (and an unfortunate amount of armchair intervention from the race organizer's box), it's clear that the rivalry between the GT Daytona teams is only heating up. The next stage of the American endurance racing series starts this weekend with the 12 Hours of Sebring, so we thought you'd enjoy hearing Mattiaci's perspective as it was during the race at Daytona.
Marco Mattiacci, CEO, Ferrari North AmericaEnlarge Photo
Mattiacci: In the last six years, Ferrari has been extremely consistent in delivering amazing products, amazing races, amazing drivers, and making this country the most important. It is the largest market, one of the largest fanbases, and the largest number of collectors. The consistency in fighting every weekend under different forms in every track, the consistency to be always competitive.
Motor Authority: Sitting just outside the building is the NART Ferrari 250 GTO, an icon of North American endurance racing history. How does that relate to today's racing?
Mattiacci: The 250 GTO is really an embryonic phase of Ferrari. Today we have the Ferrari 458 Italia, probably one of the best Ferraris ever, the important thing is that what we are showing to the world is that we have a car that can do a 40-minute challenge race, then come here with the same car, but win a 24 hours. Ferrari nuts and bolts, made by Ferrari in Maranello. Very few of these people at this race battling with us today can claim the same.
The 250 GTO was very innovative for its years. Likewise, the 458 Italia is very innovative today. Can you compare the two ways of racing, the braveness of drivers like Phil Hill, to the drivers of today? I don't know, they are brave too. But it's a different environment, there's a big organization behind it all. Today is the first race with IMSA, the merger of Grand Am and ALMS, to open a new chapter of racing in the U.S.
Motor Authority: Ferrari races all over the world. How does the atmosphere in the U.S. compare to Europe or Asia?
Mattiacci: I love it here. GT racing in the United States gets customers extremely close to the drivers, to the cars--extreme accessibility. It gives the possibility for the enthusiasts to get close to the drivers and dream of them. Ferrari is an aspirational brand, there are millions of people that love us, but probably will never buy a Ferrari--but they foster the brand and are very passionate.