Cetilar Racing has done only a handful of races in the U.S., so it would have been an easy team to miss. It competed in last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in LMP2, and then brought a Ferrari 488 GT3 to this year’s race. The results from those efforts probably weren’t going to draw a lot of attention to the team. But winning GTD at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with a 488 that more resembled a patchwork quilt than a Ferrari by the end of the race should garner some notice. The team has plans to make an even bigger splash in 2023 by bringing the first Ferrari 296 GT3 to America for a full season in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD.
Cetilar Racing is the child of Roberto Lacorte, who with his brother founded a pharmaceutical company, Pharmanutra, the products of which include a joint cream called Cetilar. He has dabbled in racing for a decade, but has ratcheted up the seriousness of his efforts in recent years, including three full seasons of WEC: two in LMP2 and last year in GTE-Am. This year the team is tackling the Michelin Endurance Cup races in conjunction with AF Corse, with plans to expand to the full season next year with Ferrari’s new GT3 car.
“Next year we’re coming for a full season in IMSA, all the championship, not only the Endurance Cup, with the 296 the brand new GT Ferrari – beautiful, amazing and aggressive,” said Lacorte, who won Sebring partnering with Antonio Fuoco and Giorgio Sernagiotto, his usual driving partners. “And I saw the car and in a short time we will visit the factory and the car, and in a few few weeks, we have the shakedown of the car. So we are committed with the Ferrari, with AF Corse in this program. And we will be the first team to bring the new car and race IMSA. Daytona will be the first race for the 296.”
Ferrari is shifting its GT3 strategy from the car that the 488 has evolved into, the F8 Tributo, to its new “entry-level’ car, the 296 GTB. The 296 GTB is powered by a new turbocharged V6 engine and while it has a hybrid component, the racecar will not. It will be a car that’s easy to get excited about, but there are other reasons for Lacorte’s enthusiasm.
“We we are in front of a big program made of a lot of elements, and mainly the strong commitment that Cetilar racing received from Ferrari and AF Corse, and one fellow, Amato Ferrari [principal of AF Corse],” he said. “First, he is a very important friend of mine, and I perceive the support everywhere. And so for this reason, I want to invest with my brand in parallel because we are entering the USA. So this is one one reason more to race in next year in IMSA.”
Cetilar Racing’s next IMSA outing will be at the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen in June.