Maranello, 29 December 2016 – The North America series was the first to kick off this season, starting with the classic race held along with the 24 Hours of Daytona. However, it was also the last to decide its champions, with two drivers heading into the Finali Mondiali at Daytona separated by just three points in the Trofeo Pirelli Am standings. There were almost 60 drivers racing the 458 Challenge EVO in this series.
Perfect start for Perez. Defending champion Emmanuel Anassis (Ferrari of Quebec) and Mexican world champion at Abu Dhabi in 2014, Ricardo Perez de Lara (Ferrari of Houston), started the season well with wins in the two races held on the legendary Daytona track. Anassis triumphed again in Race-1 at Sonoma, while the day after the spoils went to Gregory Romanelli of The Collection. Romanelli, who also aims to become a GT championship driver, was fantastic in the undulating landscape of the Californian vineyards, proving himself to be a very good candidate for the title. The two COTA races saw Ricardo Perez perform in grand style although shortly after the Mexican withdrew from the championship. This allowed Anassis and Romanelli to hog the limelight in Montreal, when the Challenge took place along with the Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Flying Carlos. The Lime Rock round brought a change of fortune for Carlos Kauffmann (Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale). Up to that point he had been very consistent, collecting two seconds and three third places. Here though he surged to two wins. However, there were no points for Anassis and the unfortunate Gregory Romanelli, the victim of an accident that put him out for the rest of the season. At Homestead it was the guest stars who took centre stage. Italy’s Daniel Mancinelli, who raced in the Challenge Europe 2013, won twice at the wheel of Romanelli’s car, while Kauffmann pocketed valuable title points that turned the Finali Mondiali at Daytona into a formality. He clinched the title in the Friday Race-1 at the Florida Speedway.