Alessandro Balzan is an Italian racing driver who achieved the most in the sports car racing, winning many championship titles with GT cars. Most recently, he won GTD class in the IMSA SportsCar Championship for two years in a row (2016, 2017), driving a Ferrari for Scuderia Corsa.
Previously, he was the GT champion in the 2013 Grand-Am Rolex Series, winner of the European edition of the 2012 Ferrari Challenge and a three-time champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup Italy from 2009 to 2011. His first championship title was in the 2002 Italian Alfa Romeo 147 Cup.
Early years in different Renault competitions
Born in October 1980 in Rovigo in the north-eastern Italy, Balzan spent teenage years in karting competitions. He left karting in 1998, entering the Italian Formula Renault Campus and Renault Megane Winter Cup.
In the following years, he contested in different Renault-powered competitions, such were Renault Clio V6 Cup, Renault Megane Sport Cup, Renault Sport Clio Trophy or Renault Clio International Cup.
Victory in the Alfa 147 Cup and ETCC season with Alfa Romeo
And then, in 2002, he changed a manufacturer, entering the Alfa Romeo 147 Cup Italy. He was a race winner five times and he won the championship.
His next step was the 2003 European Touring Car Championship, in which he was driving the #24 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA for Scuderia Bigazzi. His best overall result was the third place at Pergusa, where he was the best among independent drivers. At the end of the season, he was 14th in the points.
Three more seasons in touring car championships
For the 2004 ETCC season, Balzan joined JAS Motorsport to drive the #14 Honda Accord Euro R. He was an independent winner and sixth overall at Imola, finishing 17th in the final standings.
In 2005, his main competition was the Italian Super Touring Championship, in which he was driving a Seat Toledo Cupra for Scuderia del Girasole, finishin fourth in the final points. With the same car, Balzan participated in five races of the World Touring Car Championship, not scoring points. In October, he finished ninth in the inaugural FIA European Touring Car Cup, driving a Seat Toledo Cupra at Vallelunga.
In 2006, Balzan finished third in the Italian Super Touring Championship with DB Motorsport's Alfa Romeo 156. He also made four WTCC starts with that car, finishing fourth in the Italian round at Monza.
Runner-up in the Superstars championship with Jaguar
In 2007, Balzan made a step higher on the racing ladder, participating in the Superstars Championship Italy. He was driving a Jaguar S-Type R for Jaguar Dealers Team, scoring one victory and three podiums in eight races. At the end of the season, he was second in the championship, behind Audi's Gianni Morbidelli.
Stepping to GT racing in 2008
In 2008, Balzan participated in his first GT competition, driving the #4 Ferrari F430 GTC for the Racing Team Edil Cris in the Italian GT Championship. His co-driver for most of the season was Massimiliano Mugelli. In twelve races, Balzan was a race winner once and added four more podiums to his account, finishing 16th in the points.
It was a time for another change in 2009, when Balzan joined Ebimotors to drive Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
Three-time Porsche Carrera Cup Italian champion
Balzan scored great success in his rookie season in the Italian Porsche Carrera Cup, recording twelve podiums in sixteen races, including four wins, dominantly winning a title ahead of closest rival. In 2010, Balzan was a race winner three times and he defended Italian Carrera Cup title, beating Cristian Pasutti by four points. The third title in a row followed in 2012, when Balzan again was dominating driver, winning eight times.
While driving in the Italian Carrera Cup between 2009 and 2011, Balzan had guest appearances in the Porsche Supercup every year. His best result was the third place in the Italian round of the 2011 Supercup at Monza.
2012 – first championship title with Ferrari
In 2012, Balzan continued his championship-winning streak. He was combining competitions with Porsches and Ferraris, claiming the best result in the Ferrari Challenge Europe, in which he was a Trofeo Pirelli champion. Balzan also made a debut in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with Ferrari, driving a Ferrari 458 for Scuderia Corsa at Laguna Seca and Lime Rock Park. At Lime Rock, he and Johannes van Overbeek were third in the GT class.
In 2012, Balzan was also driving a Porsche for Ebimotors in the Italian GT Championship, scoring three wins and finishing sixth in the points of the GT3 class.
2013 Grand-Am Rolex Series GT champion
In 2013, Balzan became a full-time driver for Scuderia Corsa in the Grand-Am Rolex Series. He was driving the #63 Ferrari 458 Italia Grand-Am. In his debut at Daytona 24 Hours, Balzan was fourth in the GT class.
Later in the season, he scored one victory and six podiums, sharing a car with different co-drivers. He won a race at Kansas Speedway with Leh Keen as a co-driver. At the end of the season, Balzan was GT champion.
Two seasons without championship titles
Balzan stayed in the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari for the 2014 IMSA United Sportscar Championship, scoring two wins in the GTD class and finishing 13th in the points. His full-time co-driver was Jeff Westphal. They won at Belle Isle and Indianapolis. In the same year, Balzan gained some success in the Italian GT Championship, winning two races for MP1 Corse and finishinf sixth in the standings. He also participated in three races of the Blancpain Sprint Cup with Scuderia Villorba Corse.
In 2015, Balzan took a sabbatical from North American racing, driving a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 for Scuderia Villorba Corse in the International GT Open. Sharing a car with Nicola Benucci, he was a race winner once, finishing fourth in the final points.
Victorious return to IMSA Championship in 2016
In 2016, Balzan returned to the IMSA Championship, driving again the #63 Ferrari for Scuderia Corsa. His full-time co-driver was Christina Nielsen. After finishing sixth in the GTD class at Daytona 24 Hours, they were class winners at Sebring 12 Hours in a new Ferrari 488 GT3. The third driver was Jeff Segal.
Later in the season, the same trio won a race at Watkins Glen. At the end of the season, Balzan and Nielsen has won both the IMSA championship title and North American Endurance Cup in the GTD class.
Defending an IMSA GTD title in 2017
A victorious pair stayed together in the #63 car for the 2017 IMSA season. They were without wins until the penultimate round at Laguna Seca, but six podiums made him a main candidates for the title. They finished ninth in the season's finale at Road Atlanta but collected enough points to defend the IMSA GTD title. In the North American Endurance Cup, they were second.
In June 2017, Balzan made a debut at 24 hours of Le Mans, driving the #65 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE together with Christina Nielsen and Bret Curtis. They were 44th overall and 14th in the GTE Am class.
New co-driver for the 2018 IMSA season
For the 2018 IMSA Championship season, Balzan annouced that he would stay in Scuderia Corsa Ferrari. His new partner in the WeatherTech-sponsored car will be Cooper MacNeil.