WATKINS GLEN, NY (26 July) A gorgeous, almost cloud-free day greeted Ferrari Challenge drivers at the historic Watkins Glen International circuit. Using the same 3.5 mile layout used in the 6 Hours at Watkins Glen, Ferrari Challenge drivers tackled the classic layout and largely stayed free of the iconic blue-painted guardrail that is never more than a few feet away from the blacktop. At an average speed of just over 110mph, drivers never dip below 3rd gear on a lap and reach speeds in excess of 170mph before braking for the bus stop chicane.
The day’s racing began at 9:30am with a 30 minute warm up session followed by 15 minutes of qualifying for each of the five classes in attendance. Racing action took place in the afternoon in three separate groups, starting with Trofeo Pirelli, followed by the 458 EVO cars and ending with the Coppa Shell competitors.
Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) again took the top step of the podium in a caution interrupted race where many of the battles raged further back in the field. Cooper’s win over Peter Ludwig (Wide World Ferrari) was a critical result for the championship as Cooper has bought himself some breathing room over his nearest rival. Jean-Claude Saada (Boardwalk Ferrari) took third in the final results after finishing behind Naveen Rao (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of San Diego) on the road. Naveen however received a time penalty for passing under yellow and thus dropped to 10th in class.
Trofeo Pirelli AM
A caution triggered by car to car contact and subsequent damage to Dave Musial’s (Lake Forest Sportscar) Ferrari 488 Challenge car brought out the loan caution period in the race as his car came to a stop in the blind turn 9. Further up the field, Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach) took the win, besting John Boyd (Ferrari of Denver) and Murray Rothlander (Ferrari of Vancouver) to the checkered flag. At the close, the three were only separated by three seconds.
A crowded field of 26 Coppa Shell cars took the green flag in the late afternoon as large storm clouds began to loom over the circuit. The threat of rain, however never materialized and the race was able to run its full length without interruption. At the front, it was another dominant performance by Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Beverly Hills), besting the rest of the field by over seven seconds and continuing his consecutive win streak. Further back, Mark Fuller (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Westlake) and Chris Carel (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Beverly Hills) rounded out the podium.
Coppa Shell AM
Kevan Millstein (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of San Diego) claimed the most dominant victory of the day, winning by over 10 seconds over Tomas Cabrerizio (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale). Tomas, however was not second on the road. That distinction went to Scuderia Corsa -Ferrari South Bay driver Bradley Smith. Incident responsibility however knocked him down to 4th, behind Roberto Cava (The Collection).
The 458 race also went off without a hitch, and while the battle was never far away, Martin Burrowes (Ferrari Ft Lauderdale) was able to control the field from the front and seal the win over Trevor Baek (Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo) and John Farano (Ferrari of Ontario). Lisa Clark of Scuderia Corsa Ferrari Beverly Hills took the Ladies Cup.
Racing will commence with a 9:00am warm up. Qualifying will be just 1 hour later at 10:00am and continuing through 11:35 while racing will begin just 1 hour later, at 12:40pm