A long Challenge season came to an end. It was a fascinating and exciting experience. It was definitely a long season, because it started at the end of March and ended at the wonderful race track of Mugello just a couple of days ago. Almost nine months, where I had time to get to know the secrets and the history of this single-marque racing series; the most famous and exiting series in the world. I still remember my first day at the paddock at Monza, where the first race of the Italian and European series was held. I met Domenico Fantasia, the logistic genius for the Corse Clienti. He immediately explained to me the technical details and the magic of the fantastic F430, queen of the Challenge. I have to admit I was a bit shy, when I saw all these cars from the Prancing Horse. It was a really stunning experience at the box and the pitwall, because it was the first time for me that I was behind the scenes at such an incredible motorsports event. But in the end I wasn’t shy anymore, because I also had pretty much work to do. When I saw the cars lining up for the start, the adrenaline level rose. The Challenge 2008 started and I was ready to write about it, tell you about my feelings and the sensation such a race can cause, but also about the drivers, the team managers and the mechanics.It was easy to see that there’s a golden thread, connecting everybody involved in the Challenge: passion for Ferrari and the love for motorsports. Following this thread I was able to see the most spectacular race tracks in Italy and Europe, up to Mugello, where the fact that we met the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, the Formula One team of the Prancing Horse, was the season’s most natural conclusion.
From Monza we went to Silverstone, “home of British motorsports”, as the billboard reads above the track’s entrance. It was cold and foggy over the whole weekend, when the standings of the European Shell Cup and Pirelli Trophy got their first shape: on the British track Max Blancardi and Mike Cantillon started their race for the title, although they had to wait until crossing the line at Mugello to win the series.
This is a sign of how difficult these racing series are and how the drivers have to work hard for every race, giving it all, to bring back home precious points over the whole season. Meanwhile in the background there are great teams, such as Rossocorsa, Motor, Ferrari GB Dealer, Ineco and all the others, who constantly work on the cars before and after the races. Every time I left the media centre late in the evening I could still see the mechanics at work, setting up the F430s in the best possible way for the race.