Valencia, 18 May 2017 – The European season of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli is about to begin and is packed with innovations and novelties not only on the track. This year every event will also be an opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Ferrari. The new 488 Challenge, the first turbo car used in the world’s most famous one-make series, will make its European debut in Valencia. More than 40 drivers from 15 different countries, divided into three categories and three subclasses, are ready to battle it out at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
Trofeo Pirelli. Bjorn Grossmann will be the man to beat in the Trofeo Pirelli class, reserved for the most skilled drivers. The German winner of the last two years with Octane 126 has 17 victories to his name. He will be under pressure from his teammate Fabio Leimer. The Swiss has only won one race up to this point but is a former GP2 champion who has also tasted Formula 1 and is determined to win on the turbo car’s debut. The two will be championship opponents but will also pair up in some GT races at the wheel of the 488 GT3 of the same Octane 126 team. The evergreen Philipp Baron (Rossocorsa) should not be underestimated. With his 15 victories he is one of the most experienced drivers in the category. Sam Smeeth has been newly promoted to this class, after last season dominating the Pirelli Am class with the Ferrari of Stratstone team.
Trofeo Pirelli Am. The Pirelli Am is without its reigning champion after the promotion of Sam Smeeth to the top class. In compensation, however 2015 champion Alessandro Vezzoni returns with the 488 Challenge of Rossocorsa-Pellin Racing. The favourites also include Swedish driver Martin Nelson (Scuderia Autoropa) and Belgium’s Jacques Duyver (Kessel Racing) who returns after a year out following his triumph in the 2015 Coppa Shell.
Coppa Shell. The veterans will be taking to the track in the Coppa Shell class. Erich Prinoth and Fons Scheltema after over 70 races at the wheel of the 458 Challenge EVO are ready to debut in the new car, and the same goes for the highly experienced Eric Cheung, who boasts over 100 starts in the world’s most famous one-make series championship. The Coppa Shell also includes the Ladies’ Cup subclass, with three drivers competing: Manuela Gostner and Deborah Mayer, who took part last season, and Danish newcomer Tina Kok. Reigning champion Corinna Gostner is on “maternity leave”. Forty-three cars are registered for the first race of the season, with three 458 Challenge EVOs and forty 488 Challenges.
Not just sport. However, the weekend in Valencia will be about more than the Challenge. The Ferrari Passion initiative that allows customers to experience a weekend on track, provides the perfect setting for the race activities. The Ferrari enthusiasts can drive their own cars on the track or try one of those made available to enjoy the excitement that only the Maranello brand can convey.
In the paddock. For Ferrari’s 70th anniversary the paddock will be as lively as ever. Spectators and fans will be able to walk amongst incredible cars, admire the entire range on show, including the iconic LaFerrari Aperta, and buy exclusive Prancing Horse products at the Ferrari Store that will be set up at each event.