WATKINS GLEN, NY (29 July) – Another picture perfect day greeted Ferrari Challenge competitors as they returned to Watkins Glen International for the second day of racing activity. Drivers clearly had grown more comfortable with the New York State circuit as lap times continued to fall in qualifying sessions in the morning and drivers got more aggressive with passing in the afternoon races. While the additional aggression certainly led to a couple of tense moments in all three races, only one full course cation was necessary to control a race. In all, it was a rousing conclusion to an important weekend in the championship in North America.
Trofeo Pirelli. Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) completed a critical weekend for his championship ambitions by sweeping the top step of the podium. On Sunday, with the exception of a first lap challenge from Peter Ludwig (Wide World Ferrari) Cooper was able to manage his pace throughout the race and ultimately crossed the line 2.4 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger. The leading two were clearly in a league of their own as Naveen Rao (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of San Diego) withstood a sustained, and aggressive challenge from Joseph Rubbo (Ferrari of Long Island). The one-time rivals from 2017 again found themselves locked together in battle for almost the entire duration of the 30 minute race – however it was Naveen who ultimately wound up ahead and the checkered flag.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Murray Rothlander (Ferrari of Vancouver) took the top step of the podium on Sunday, an important win that brought him equal to Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach) in the standings and capped off a topsy-turvey weekend in the class that saw Dave Musial (Lake Forest Sportscars) fall precipitously in the standings after a Race 1 incident went unresolved in Race 2. But it was Rob Hodes (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of Washington) who goes into the Road Atlanta weekend in the best shape, carrying a 19 point lead over Alfred Caiola (Ferrari of Long Island).
Coppa Shell. Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) continued his remarkable run of wins – dating back to Daytona. Sunday’s race was a hectic affair, and concluded slightly prematurely with a late caution period caused by drama in the high-speed essess section of the circuit. Up until that moment, Thomas had the race well under control, leading Mark Fuller (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Westlake) and Chris Carel (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Beverly Hills) on the all Scuderia Corsa podium.
Coppa Shell AM. Brian Simon (Cauley Ferrari of Detroit) took the win in the most tightly contested North American championship over Kevan Millstein (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of San Diego) and Tomas Cabrerizo (Ferrari Ft Lauderdale). Kevan’s strong finishes over the weekend have only bought him three points of separation from his nearest challenger – John Megrue. Brian Simon, however, has brought himself right back into contention with his win on Sunday, and trails Kevan by 18 points. Such is the competitiveness of Coppa Shell AM, however, but there are three drivers between him and the leader.
458 EVO. John Farano (Ferrari of Ontario) started the 458 EVO race on pole, but early action in the first couple of corners threw the race into chaos. An epic start and braking maneuver by Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft Lauderdale) saw the Floridian driver surge to the lead in Turn 1, but as he attempted to complete the pass on the outside of Turn 2 he was tapped on the inside rear quarter, initiating a half-spin in the tightest portion of the circuit. Somehow, the rest of the field managed to avoid the Ferrari, while Martin demonstrated an epic bit of car control to rescue the slide without major damage. The resulting chaos, however, dropped Trevor Baek (Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo) well down the field. Before the youngster could charge back, however, he was stricken by what seemed to be gearbox issues. By the time it was all said and done, John Farano had claimed the lead and driven away from the rest of the pack. He was followed home by James Walker (Ferrari of Houston) and Tony Ferraro (Ferrari Ft Lauderdale). The results of the weekend have closed up the championship standings, though Martin still has things well under control.
Next Up. Ferrari Challenge in North America will return in September at Road Atlanta, in Braselton Georgia.