Monterey, 14 May 2017 – Skies remained clear and crowds flocked to see the all-new 488 Challenge race car turn its first racing laps at Laguna Seca. Within that crystal clear day, however, was true competition at every level and in every class.
Trofeo Pirelli/Trofeo Pirelli 458 EVO. The first race of the day featured both the Trofeo Pirelli class in 488 Challenge cars and the Trofeo Pirelli 458 EVO category. Drivers saw over 140mph cresting Turn 1, before applying maximum braking to slow down in time for the tight Andretti hairpin. Peter Ludwig (Wide World of Cars) was the class of the field and despite two caution periods, was able to manage and maintain his lead throughout the race. Ludwig is a rookie in Ferrari Challenge but is an experienced GT driver. Martin Fuentes gave valiant chase, but ended up second ahead of Cooper McNeil, his teammate at Scuderia Corsa-Ferrari of Silicon Valley. In the Trofeo Pirelli 458 EVO class, Joseph Rubbo (Ferrari of Long Island), back in the series after an appearance at Lime Rock in 2013, took charge of the race right from the off. He was followed home by rookies Naveen Rao (Ferrari of San Diego) and John Boyd (Ferrari of Denver). In the competition for the Ladies Cup between Lisa Clark (Scuderia Corsa-Ferrari of Beverly Hills) and Debra Palermo (Ferrari of San Francisco), Lisa edged out Debra after close competition throughout the race.
Trofeo Pirelli AM/Coppa Shell. Race two of the day ran virtually incident free, with just a single caution on lap 7. There was an intense battle at the front throughout the race, a battle that was eventually won by rookie Brent Holden (Ferrari of Newport Beach), holding off former Coppa Shell champion Jean-Claude Saada (Boardwalk Ferrari) for the win. Ferrari of Ontario’s Marc Muzzo, our pole sitter, came in third position. In Coppa Shell, Barry Zekelman (Ferrari of Ontario) and Osvaldo Gaio held a comfortable lead over the rest of the Coppa Shell class. It was an impressive performance by Gaio to finish on the podium in his first ever Challenge race. The Miller Motorcars driver also won the Gentlemen Cup class. Third on the Coppa Shell podium was another rookie: Murray Rothlander of Ferrari of Vancouver.
Next stop Canada. The next North American round of the Ferrari Challenge will be held at Montreal in conjunction with the Grand Prix du Canada on June 11.