It has been said many times that there is nothing better in this world than pizza. Some of the most important meetings in history have taken place over a plate of this fine food, and such was the case with the first chance encounter between Giacomo Mattioli, team principal of the 2013 Grand‐AM Rolex GT champion Scuderia Corsa racing team, and his recently hired Sporting Director, legendary driver Stefan Johansson. That encounter, as well as the role of Johansson and the driver line-up for the Rolex 24 at Daytona was released via email by the team this afternoon.
"I met Stefan in a pizzeria in Modena back in 1986 after he signed up with the Ferrari F1 team,he was young and I was younger. We have finally found a way to collaborate on a business level and I am very happy that Stefan is joining Scuderia Corsa. In his capacity as Sporting Director I'm confident that he will be instrumental in the continuous growth of the team,” said Mattioli.
In his new role, Johansson will oversee team driver development, manage the sponsor relationships and work with both existing and potential clients in Scuderia Corsa’s GT and Ferrari Challenge programs.
“It is a great honor for me to join the Scuderia Corsa Team in my new role as Sporting Director, added Johansson. "Giacomo Mattioli has been a friend ever since my days as a Ferrari Formula One driver and it is with great pleasure I am now looking forward to us also working together. I hope my experience and knowledge from my various racing activities over the last 30 years will help to contribute to the teams continued success both on and off the track.”
For almost three decades Stefan Johansson has been one of the top drivers in the world of international motorsports. He has been successful in Formula One, IndyCar and Le Mans style sportscar racing, winning both the 12 hours of Sebring twice and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Swedish born Johansson is also an accomplished painter and designer, and resides in Los Angeles with his family during the offseason.
For the 52nd running of the legendary Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 25‐26, 2014, Scuderia Corsa will field three Ferrari 458 Italias in the GT‐D class; the No. 63, driven by 2013 Grand--‐AM GT champion Alessandro Balzan, Jeff Westphal, Toni Vilander and Lorenzo Case, the No. 64 car piloted by Dr. Rod Randall, Ken Wilden, David Empringham and John Farano, and the No. 65 car, in association with Brazil’s Via Italia Racing, driven by Francisco Longo, Daniel Serra, Xandinho Negrao and Marcos Gomes.
Stay tuned to this column for continuing coverage of the run-up to the Rolex 24 at Daytona, as well as in-depth analysis and live reporting from the speedway this weekend. Be sure to subscribe to the West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner, and keep track of your favorite racers. If you're a motorsports fan, and know of an event, team, or person you'd like to see profiled, please let me know. Also, be sure to follow me on twitter, and read my articles about local getaways,HOAs,elections, and restaurants.