Over 60 drivers of the Ferrari Challenge series made their first laps in true competition at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas on Saturday. After a long off-season, drivers were eager to get back behind the wheel of their Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo race cars and begin their push for 2022 championship honors. Both Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell races were marked by fierce but respectful driving as no caution periods were required over the two thirty-minute contests.
Trofeo Pirelli. Manny Franco (Ferrari of Lake Forest) took his first overall win in Ferrari Challenge competition, walking away from the rest of the Trofeo Pirelli field in dominant fashion. At the end of the 30 minute contest that was run without caution period, he had amassed a 10 second margin. Marc Muzzo (Ferrari of Ontario) enjoyed a titanic scrap for nearly the entire race with Massimo Perrina (Ferrari of Seattle) as the two dueled for the second step. Muzzo’s stout defense and excellent race-craft earned him the second step on the podium with a three second margin to spare.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Todd Coleman (Ferrari of Denver) had an emphatic win at Circuit of the Americas, continuing the momentum that he claims began at last year’s Finali Mondiali at Mugello. After last year’s titanic championship scrap that saw him ultimately finish second, the Denver-based driver was eager to start the season off on the right foot and he did exactly that, winning by over 14 seconds to second placed Alfred Caiola (Ferrari of Long Island). Third place was taken by Brad Fauvre (Ferrari of San Francisco) who hounded Alfred through much of the race but was unable to squeeze by in the final moments.
Coppa Shell. Frank Chang (Ferrari of Seattle) took his first-ever victory in Ferrari Challenge competition in the Coppa Shell class, leading from pole and seeming to initially have the measure on his nearest competitors. However, Michael Petramalo (Ferrari of Seattle) slowly closed the gap and when the two came across lapped traffic he was able to strike and briefly take the lead. Chang fought back and that began a back and forth battle for the last few minutes of the race at Chang finally won out by just two tenths of a second. The two Seattle drivers were the class of the field as third place finisher Brian Kaminskey (Ferrari of Long Island) rounded out the top three but was over 16 second behind.
Coppa Shell AM. Todd Johnson (Ferrari of Rancho Mirage) also took his first-ever step to the top of the podium in Ferrari Challenge competition with a win in Saturday’s action. The California driver graduated from Ferrari’s Corso Pilota driving school program and promptly led from start to finish in the Coppa Shell AM category. With an impressive 8 second margin of victory over second place Dan Cornish (Ferrari of Austin) Johnson set himself up as one of the new talents to watch in the 2022 season. Rounding out the podium was a very strong third place for Lisa Clark (Ferrari of Beverly Hills). The long time Challenge competitor had an excellent race, charging from the middle of the pack into the third and final step on the podium over the 30-minute contest.