For the 4th consecutive year and the 7th time since the circuit’s opening in 2012, Ferrari Challenge will again return to the Circuit of the Americas on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. Purpose built to host the return of Formula 1 to the United States, the circuit opened to much acclaim and fanfare. Since that time, however, the circuit has developed its own character, as bumps have formed throughout the 3.427 mile layout.
Strong Entries in All Classes. Nearly 50 488 Challenge cars will take to the track over the course of the weekend, with strong car counts in all four categories. Trofeo Pirelli features a number of returning faces, including last year’s Trofeo Pirelli Champion Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari Beverly Hills). Defending Coppa Shell champion Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Beverly Hills) also made the jump into Trofeo Pirelli after 10 consecutive wins last year. A few other notable names who are new to the class include last year’s Trofeo Pirelli AM Champion Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach).
While no category will have less than 10 competitors at COTA, Coppa Shell AM continues to offer the deepest grid – with 19 entrants. Featuring a mix of familiar and new faces, the category also features three female drivers, who will each vie for the Ladies Cup.
North American Series Grows Increasingly International. In a series that takes place almost entirely on US and Canadian soil, it was a pleasant surprise to see eight different nationalities represented on the 2019 entry list. Drivers from Norway to China, Brazil and of course Canada, have decided that the Ferrari Challenge series in North America offers the strongest combination of competition, camaraderie and of course hospitality of any single make series in the world.
Springboard to GT3. Cooper MacNeil and Brian Kaminskey (Ferrari of Long Island) are notably fitting the Ferrari Challenge into otherwise hectic racing schedules. Cooper is contesting the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship in the GT-Daytona category in a Ferrari 488 GT3 car and make his way to Sebring International Raceway for the 12 hour race there one week later. Brian Kaminskey, meanwhile, made his racing debut in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Americas on 2-3 March, also at Circuit of the Americas. Sharing driving duties with former Ferrari Challenge pilot, Chris Cagnazzi, Brian and the team earned their first ever podium in Race 1 on Saturday by finishing 3rd in the AM category.
Schedule. Participants will take to the track for their first official practice sessions on Friday at 9:00 AM Central time. The first qualifying session will take place on Saturday at 9:50am followed by the first race of the 2019 season at 1:55pm. The schedule will then repeat for Race 2 on Sunday with qualifying at 9:50, followed by Race 2 at 12:50.