Sweltering temperatures greeted Ferrari Challenge pilots for the first race day at Sebring International Raceway. Racing for the first time on the 3.74 mile circuit since 1999, pilots not only had to manage the notorious bumps of Turn 1 and 17, but also temperatures that topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures, however, did not carry over to the circuit. Drivers maintained their cool, fighting clean and fair in both 30 minute sprint races.
Trofeo Pirelli. Benjamin Hites (The Collection) earned the win in the Trofeo Pirelli class after a hard-fought race fought in sweltering conditions. The race began with a dramatic opening 15 minutes when Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft Lauderdale) jumped into the lead on the start and made a remarkable effort to hold off a hard-charging Benjamin Hites. Whenever Benjamin would make a move, Martin would inevitably rebuff the young Chilean driver and push him back into the clutches of the ever-lurking Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Westlake). Ultimately, Martin took too much life out of his Pirellis too early and spun, relinquishing his lead. Ben took the win over the fading Cooper MacNeil who almost fell to the charging Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills) as they crossed the line.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Neil Gehani (Continental Autosports) ran an event-free race on his way to his first win of 2019. The American driver ultimately ended up finishing eleven seconds ahead of Brent Holden (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of Newport Beach). Brent also took the Gentleman’s Cup, earned by being the best finishing driver over 55. The closest battle in the Coppa Shell AM category was for third where Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) took third over Chris Carel (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Silicon Valley) by just over a second at the line.
Coppa Shell. Danny Baker (Ferrari of Palm Beach) continued his run of remarkable performances with a win in Race 1 after a hard-fought race against Dale Katechis (Miller Motorcars). The Coppa Shell race was neutralized by a safety car after 2nd place starter Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) made contact with another driver and ultimately retired. The break seemed to re-energize Danny’s nearest challengers as he fended off several attacks in the final fifteen minutes of the contest. Claude Senhoreti (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale) ultimately took the third and final spot on the podium.
Coppa Shell AM. Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) took a dominant win in Coppa Shell AM. He scrapped with the very top of the Coppa Shell category, finishing 13 seconds ahead of his nearest challenger, Ladies Cup winner Lisa Clark (Scuderia Corsa, Ferrari of Beverly Hills). Lisa held off significant pressure, but was able to take advantage of other battles a bit further back to build a gap of two seconds over Ted Giovanis (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of Washington).
Schedule. Ferrari Challenge will return to the Sebring International Raceway for warm up at 9am on Sunday. Qualifying will begin at 9:40am followed by racing action at 12:50pm