The North American series of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will make its way to Sebring International Raceway April 5 through 7 for the second round of its seven round 2019 calendar. Fifty one drivers will take on the classic 3.74 mile, 17 turn circuit, starting with practice sessions on Friday followed by qualifying and racing action on Saturday and Sunday.
Historic Setting. Sebring’s place in the lore of sports car racing in North America began two years after its opening with a 12 hour competition of endurance that became known as the 12 Hours of Sebring. Initially raced over the adjacent airfield, leveraging runways and taxiways, the circuit became known for its rough, changeable concrete surface and its utter lack of elevation change, a byproduct of the Florida topography. Held every year since 1952, the Sebring 12 Hour has become a benchmark for endurance sports car racing, both in the US and internationally, and the scene of a number of notable Ferrari sports car wins, with the first overall win coming in 1956 and the most recent overall win in the monstrous 333SP in 1998.
Mind the Bumps. This will be the first time that Ferrari Challenge has visited the south Florida circuit in the current decade, meaning many drivers will be unfamiliar with its particular characteristics. Two critical corners, turn 1 and turn 17 both have significant undulations and will require commitment and precision to navigate successfully. In turn 1, the apex is not visible at the turn in point, and is right up against a concrete wall to the inside. At track out, a surface change and narrowing of the course make for a difficult opening to the lap. Turn 17, however, offers a greater challenge, and larger bumps. Drivers will arrive in 7th gear and will need to slow to 4th gear through a corner that has many correct lines. It also has some of the worst bumps on the circuit, making power application extremely difficult. Watching the 488 Challenge car and Ferrari Challenge pilots navigate these two corners will certainly be a highlight of the weekend.
Broadcast to Augment Challenge Experience. The North American leg of Ferrari Challenge will be live streamed via live.ferrari.com for all stand-alone rounds going forwards in 2019. Drivers, family, friends and fans will be able to tune-in on live.ferrari.com on race day to see the racing schedule, and learn more about the Ferrari Challenge series and its participants.
Championship Battles. While it is still early days, some championship battles are coming in to focus. In Trofeo Pirelli, Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Westlake) leads Benjamin Hites (The Collection) by four points. The two swapped wins at COTA, and the rivalry will certainly continue for much of the season. In Trofeo Pirelli AM, Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) has an eight point lead, earned by winning race 2 and taking pole position and fastest lap. His nearest competitor, Todd Morici (Wide World Ferrari) is just one point ahead of Barry Zekelman (Ferrari of Ontario). In Coppa Shell, Danny Baker (Ferrari of Palm Beach) had a perfect weekend with two wins, and leads Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) by eight points. In Coppa Shell AM, Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) also had a perfect weekend with two wins, while the results behind him were a bit mixed. Ian Campbell (Ferrari of New England) currently leads the charge, but sits 19 points back, and only one ahead of his nearest competitor, Eric Marston (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Westlake).
Schedule. On track action begins on Friday, with qualifying and racing on both Saturday and Sunday. The live stream will begin at 9:30AM on Saturday and will conclude after the podium at 3:35PM, and will recommence at 9:40AM on Sunday and end after the Sunday podium at 2:30PM.