The heavy crash suffered by Scuderia Corsa’s Frankie Montecalvo during the opening stint at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring will require a new chassis to replace the one that landed upside down in Turn 17.
Triggered by an aggressive passing maneuver by Sebastien Saavedra in a prototype, Montecalvo’s No. 64 GTD Ferrari 488 GT3 was left with no room to avoid the spinning Ligier P217 and was subsequently flipped high into the air once car-to-car contact was made. Crashing down on the Ferrari’s roof, Montecalvo emerged under his own power, but the car was too severely damaged to continue.
As a result, his Scuderia Corsa teammates Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler were unable to drive in the race, and a quick inspection of the 488’s frame confirmed it met its end in Sebring’s final corner.
“Frankie was a total innocent bystander in this situation with Saavedra,” Bell told RACER. “We’re less than 20 minutes into a 12-hour race, [Saavedra’s] charging through like it’s for the win, and Frankie had no options in front of him other than to get pulled into the crash. He finally came down from 10 feet in the air on the roof, which wasn’t a pleasant experience for him, and it was hard enough that it maxed all the G meters on the car. So, we’ll need to get a new chassis coming over from Michelotto and build a fresh car around it.”
Repairing a crashed Ferrari will never be an inexpensive venture, although from Bell’s description, there were a few aspects of the incident that fell in their favor.
“Most of the other expensive bits; the engine, transmission, suspension, and a lot of the stuff beneath the bodywork came out OK, so it could have been a lot worse in that regard,” he added.
Bell hopes his next outing will involve more time behind the steering wheel.
“Our next scheduled event is the six-hour at Watkins Glen, but we’re hoping to do a spring race or two before then – maybe Mid-Ohio, or who know – since we didn’t get to stay very long at Sebring,” he said. “I did a total of three laps the whole time I was there. One lap in practice, and two in night practice. I’ll be ready to work if we can get through to my turn to drive next time out.”