Conquest Racing with Ferrari claimed their second podium finish of the season in the GTD class after securing second place in the highly eventful 2024 edition of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Manny Franco, Albert Costa Balboa, and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli brilliantly co-drove the #34 Corsa Horizon Ferrari 296 GT3 through mixed track conditions, including heavy rain, in order to clinch imperative points and bring home more hardware. The team now sits third in the GTD class championship standings with a total of 1290 points. 

After starting from eighth on the grid in class, Manny Franco immediately began making up ground, gaining positions and putting in an excellent opening stint throughout the first two hours of the race before handing over the car to Cedric Sbirrazzuoli. Light rain began to drizzle over certain sections of the track as the halfway mark approached, with mixed track conditions persisting throughout his time in the car, but the Monegasque carried on and navigated the challenging situation with poise.

With just over two and a half hours remaining in the event, Albert Costa Balboa got behind the wheel and quickly progressed through the field. However, the rain began to worsen, and the team opted to perform a pit stop to switch to wet tires. Shortly thereafter, a red flag was called due to inclement weather, putting the race under stoppage while the time continued to count down.

Once the race resumed under full course caution, Costa Balboa was called into the pits again in order to switch to slick tires, re-emerging in fifth place as the green flag waved for the final sixteen remaining minutes. He overtook two competitors in the final laps, and crossed the finish line in third position, claiming their second podium finish thus far. Conquest Racing was further promoted to second place following a post-race penalty applied to another team. 

Quotes from the drivers: 

Manny Franco, Driver of the #34 Corsa Horizon Ferrari 296 GT3: “It was a good weekend, and a great race. The event was a bit tricky at first, it initially seemed like we were on the backfoot in terms of our setup. We worked so hard in order to ensure that the car was reliable, but when you go into a long race such as this one, you don’t always know if the small changes are going to work out the way you hope they will. I’m very happy to say that the adjustments we made were great and they paid off, they were the key to our podium result today.” 

Albert Costa Balboa, Driver of the #34 Corsa Horizon Ferrari 296 GT3: “I’m really happy because ever since the beginning of the season I knew we had the potential to earn results like this. We were on the podium at Daytona, and in the following races we always had the speed but ran into bad luck and issues on track. As a team, we have been consistently trying to push each other in order to learn from our mistakes and improve on every single little detail. Throughout this weekend we were working harder than ever, and I knew it would pay off in the end. We were pushing so hard both in and out of the car, by reviewing data, videos, and preparing ourselves for all circumstances. This is the outcome of all of our efforts as a crew and I’m so proud.” 

Cédric Sbirrazzuoli, Driver of the #34 Corsa Horizon Ferrari 296 GT3: “I’m thrilled with the result and to be back on the podium. I think I had a good first stint and was able to pass a few cars on the first restart. The second restart was a bit trickier because it was dry and I was on rain tires, so I was focused on staying out of trouble and keeping it clean for the next few laps before completing my time in the car. I then gave the car to Albert and he did an amazing job, just as Manny did in the opening stint. The team was awesome, and this was a well-deserved result, we knew it was only a matter of time before we were back on the podium again. Let’s keep the momentum going and aim to do the same in Indy!” 

Eric Bachelart, Team Owner: “The result we earned today confirmed that we can further replicate our prior performance in Daytona. I’m so happy to have secured a podium finish in two out of the three Endurance Cup rounds so far. I’m very proud of the team and the drivers. It was a bit nerve wracking because there was so much going on between the weather and track conditions, but we did a really good job. We’re very excited and we will keep on fighting for the championship.” 

The team will return for the upcoming sprint race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from July 12th to 14th. Manny Franco and Albert Costa Balboa will be back on board the #34 Corsa Horizon Ferrari 296 GT3 in the GTD Class.