IMSA GT powerhouse Scuderia Corsa is laying the groundwork to turn its upcoming Indy 500 debut into a full-time IndyCar program.
The Las Vegas-based team is partnering with Rahal Letterman Lanigan to field an Indy 500 entry for Oriol Servia next month, and team owner Giacomo Mattioli told RACER that he is approaching the event as a first step toward a permanent IndyCar presence.
“Absolutely, we are interested in a full-season entry,” he said. “We’re not there yet, but we are definitely looking at it. IndyCar has done a fantastic job – the product they offer, the platform, the new car looks great, and there’s a lot of interest in it. We’re working diligently towards it. We don’t know whether it will be next year or the year after, but we are working towards it.
“IndyCar racing has been spectacular for a few years – very competitive, many winners. Now, everybody is complaining about Formula 1; its always one team [dominating] or another, but in IndyCar you don’t have one team that dominates, which makes it very interesting.”
While IndyCar/sports car crossovers are not unusual – RLL, Penske, Ganassi and Michael Shank all currently dovetail IndyCar and sports car programs – IndyCar doesn’t immediately appear to be a natural fit for a team linked to a network of Ferrari dealerships. But that diversity, Mattioli says, is a big part of the appeal.
“If you look at Penske, which personally I always look at in the car business and in motorsport, the platform that they offer is amazing; it’s one of a kind,” he explained. “And that’s kind of the aim here. It brings Scuderia Corsa to a larger platform to allow our partners and sponsors to reach out to a wider audience.”
The seed for a Scuderia Corsa Indy program was first planted as Mattioli watched former Scuderia Corsa driver Townsend Bell being competitive in Indy one-offs. “The opportunity to compete in this event in a really competitive way is unique,” he said. “You’d be hard-pressed to repeat that in any other series; to be able to show up [as a one-off], maybe with a joint venture like we’re doing, and be competitive.”
The team’s sporting director Stefan Johansson helped fan the flames, and things came to a head when Mattioli and Servia – who has a long history with RLL – began to talk.
“I had the opportunity to meet with Oriol, we both live in LA, and I was very impressed by him and his determination, and a lot of combination of things aligned from my side with the business,” he said. “We want to expand, and Indy looked like a natural expansion.”
News of Scuderia Corsa’s plans comes at a time when IndyCar is enjoying its biggest injection of new teams in years, with Juncos, Carlin, Harding and Meyer Shank Racing all having launched new programs in the past 12 months, and Belardi collaborating with AJ Foyt Racing on an entry for James Davison at this year’s 500.
Scuderia Corsa has won multiple GT championships in North America across Grand-Am, IMSA and the PWC, as well as class wins at Le Mans and Sebring, both in 2016. It also already has a victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the books, with Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal having combined for a GTD win in the Brickyard Grand Prix in 2014.