Manny Franco, who has been building up a resume in the Conquest Racing with Ferrari team, will drive the No. 34 Ferrari 296 GT3 as the team embarks on a full-season effort in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class. He will be joined by Cedric Sbirrazzuoli for the endurance events, and Alessandro Balzan will be on board for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Franco’s full-season co-driver is yet to be confirmed.
Franco started with Conquest in both the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and GT World Challenge America championships. Stepping up to the WeatherTech Championship and endurance racing is something he feels prepared for and is eager to get started.
“It feels remarkable to be taking this next step in my racing career,” Franco said. “The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is one of the most competitive and coveted racing series in the world, and to be competing in the GTD Class this upcoming year is a true testament to all the hard work that has been put into the Conquest Racing program. I could not be more excited for what’s to come, and I cannot wait to go racing at some of the most prestigious events in the world in the Ferrari 296 GT3.”
Monegasque Sbirrazzuoli will be joining the team in the five endurance races that make up the Michelin Endurance Cup for 2024 – the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, the six-hour race Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Motul Petit Le Mans.
“I’m extremely happy to be continuing with Conquest Racing for another year, and especially in IMSA,” said Sbirrazzuoli. “It’s the best championship in the United States, and we have everything it takes to be able to compete for top results with the likes of a great line-up and a great car. I’m looking forward to returning to IMSA, as my last time competing in the series was in 2017. I can’t wait to be back racing in these iconic events again.”
Balzan, a two-time GTD champion with Christina Nielsen at Scuderia Corsa, will be completing the driver lineup for the first event of the season, the famed Rolex 24 at Daytona. Balzan is no stranger to the team, having co-driven alongside Manny Franco the year prior, with the duo securing two wins and two podium finishes together in 2023.
“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to race with Manny again,” said Balzan. “It will be very special to be competing with him in his very first 24-hour endurance race, and as for myself, this will be my eighth attempt to go around the clock at the famous Daytona International Speedway. We have a strong car and a great lineup, and I’m very confident that Conquest Racing will be able to achieve great things.”
Conquest Racing with Ferrari appears to be the only full-time Ferrari team in the GT ranks, something the series has been missing in recent years. Risi Comeptizione, AF Corse, Triarsi and Cetilar are expected to field 296 GT3s in the Michelin Endurance Cup rounds only.