Incredible heat and humidity persisted at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, offering an immense challenge at the close of the 2019 season in North America. With ambient temperatures exceeding 95 degrees Fahrenheit, drivers made full use of the 488 Challenge air conditioning system, alongside its 660hp. The difficulties, however, brought out the best of the series as drivers worked through the challenges to maximize their results. Every point matters as a number of categories do not have a clear front-runner.
Trofeo Pirelli. Benjamin Hites (The Collection) pulled out a critical race 1 win, after Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Westlake) encountered problems that forced him to retire midway through the race. After starting third, the young Chilean immediately applied pressure to Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale) while Cooper began to establish a lead that seemed to be insurmountable. After Cooper’s trouble, however, Ben re-doubled his efforts to get past Martin. Martin put up a stellar defense, but ultimately roasted his Pirelli tires and Ben was able to sneak by. Martin’s tire woes continued and ultimately Marc Muzzo (Ferrari of Ontario) also got by for second place, leaving Martin in third.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Dave Musial (Ferrari of Lake Forest) took his first win in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, holding off an incredibly aggressive Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) for the duration of the 30 minute contest. While Dave focused on tidy driving and clean corner exits, Ziad took a more aggressive approach, frequently taking to the grass and curbing to try to find an advantage. Despite all of the drama, Dave’s smooth style paid off and resulted in the win. Third place was taken by Neil Gehani (Continental Autosports), meaning the top three in the championship took the top three places on the podium, ensuring Sunday’s race will be critical for everyone’s title aspirations.
Coppa Shell. Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) converted his pole position start into a race 1 win, thus extending his championship advantage. Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) continued his upward swing of the past few races with a second place finish, successfully navigating a couple of late race yellow flag periods to earn his finish over Claude Senhoreti (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale) by nearly six seconds. With a significantly larger field, the Coppa Shell race produced far more action and drama with drivers forced to navigate yellow flag periods to get to the checkered flag.
Coppa Shell AM. Roberto Perrina (Ferrari of Seattle) took his first ever win in Ferrari Challenge in his first ever race with the series. But an even more remarkable accomplishment was his race-long fight with Coppa Shell championship leader, Mark Issa. The two spent nearly the entire 30 minute competition separated by less than a car length, but were able to fight cleanly and fairly throughout. Roberto was followed home in the Coppa Shell Am category by Jay Schreibman (Cauley Ferrari) who trailed Roberto by seven seconds at the checkered. Championship leader Brad Horstmann (Foreign Cars Italia) completed the podium in third place.
Schedule. The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will complete its North American season on Sunday with qualifying action starting at 9:35AM (all times in ET) and lasting until 10:50AM. Racing action will begin at 1:30PM and continue to 3:15PM.