RACER has learned Indy car veteran Alex Tagliani will make his second consecutive Rolex Series start for the R. Ferri/Aim Autosport Ferrari team this weekend in Monterey.
Tagliani, who scored a pole in his first outing for the team as a late substitute for Italian driver Max Papis on the Kansas roval, will partner with two-time Grand-Am Rolex GT champion Jeff Segal in the No. 61 Ferrari F458. Tagliani also led the most laps in the GT category during the race, but issues during a pit stop relegated the car to a fifth-place finish.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to drive with Ferrari and the R. Ferri/Aim Autosport team again, and I really think we started something good during the Kansas race,” the French-Canadian told RACER. “I said before that driving a red Ferrari is like a dream for me, and this dream gets to continue. The team and my co-driver Jeff Segal are also amazing, so I'm really happy about where everything is headed. I love the Laguna track and I'm going there with the belief that we can win.”
With five CART/Champ Car starts to his credit at the 2.2-mile Monterey road course and a podium finish with the Starworks DP team last year during the Rolex Series event, Tagliani expects to get up to speed quickly this weekend
“It's a track I know very well and have raced there many times, including last year with Ryan Dalziel and the Starworks guys, so I can't wait to see what we can do with our Ferrari,” added Tagliani.
Papis, who found himself drawn into a an unfortunate bit of notoriety this week in the aftermath of being slapped by a driver's girlfriend at the conclusion of the NASCAR Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, will not miss the Monterey race due to the incident. It's believed the decision to put Tagliani in the car for Monterey, and possibly the season finale at Lime Rock, came shortly after his breakout performance at Kansas.
With the addition of Tagliani to the entry list, the penultimate Grand-Am round will feature five IndyCar Series stars, including Indy 500 winners Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon in a second, Cessna-sponsored Ganassi Daytona Prototype, Dale Coyne Racing's Justin Wilson in a Michael Shank Racing DP and Baltimore IndyCar podium finisher Sebastien Bourdais in an 8Star Motorsports DP.