Over the weekend, the curtain came down on the Corse Clienti racing year at Imola’s Autodromo Internazionale Enzo and Dino Ferrari. At least, it did for the Europe, North America and the UK Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli series. The Asia Pacific series has in contrast only completed the first four rounds of a season that ends in February.
Imola hosted the Finali Mondiali Ferrari. This event saw many drivers who were prominent during the year battle for the season championship in each class. As per tradition, the Finali Mondiali also hosted many other activities. One of the most anticipated was the unveiling of the Ferrari 499P, the hypercar with which the Maranello manufacturer will return to the top class of the FIA WEC in 2023. Another was the first dynamic appearance of the 296 GT3, whose racing career begins in January. The big end-of-season event also featured the Ferrari Show on Sunday, along with all the XX Programme and the F1 Clienti car exhibitions. All this in front of 38,000 spectators packing the Emilian circuit in the paddock and grandstands.
A magical double-win. It was a year to remember for Franz Engstler, a German driver outstanding in the Coppa Shell in his first Ferrari Challenge season. Victory in the European Championship with 196 points from 14 races (thanks to seven wins and four second places) failed to quench his thirst. He again claimed the top step of the podium at the Imola Finale Mondiale, completing a clean sweep of pole, fastest lap and race victory.
30 candles. The Finali Mondiali at Imola closed the Challenge’s 30th anniversary celebrations. In tribute to this extraordinary history that makes Ferrari’s one-make series one of the longest-running championships, all the cars that have competed over these three decades were on show in the Display Area: the 348 Challenge, F355 Challenge, 360 Challenge, F430 Challenge, 458 Challenge Evo and 488 Challenge Evo. There were also two 488 GT3s with a special livery. One honoured the 500-plus victories while another specifically paid tribute to the one-make series’ 30th anniversary. All the cars then paraded along the track named after Enzo and Dino Ferrari. They included a 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Risi Competizione, the car in which Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra won the GTD Pro class of the Endurance Cup in the American IMSA Championship, while the team won the laurels among the teams.
100 metres. The Imola paddock’s display area hosted the Finali Mondiali gala evening, with dinner, the unveiling of the 499P and the award ceremony for the Challenge Europe, UK and North America winners. The setting included two rows of suspended monitors, each over 100 metres long. They displayed information about the historic cars on show, presentation videos for the new hypercar and season reviews for Competizioni GT and the various series.
The veteran Scheltema. The gala evening celebrating the winners of the Challenge Europe, North America and UK series also included a special prize presentation to Fons Scheltema, a veteran of the Maranello manufacturer’s one-make series. On the 30th anniversary of the Challenge, the Dutchman celebrated his eighteenth season in the series. Scheltema has competed in 177 races with Ferrari. He finished runner-up in the 2014 Coppa Shell, his best ever result. John Elkann, Executive Chairman of Ferrari, presented the special award.
Centenary trophy. During a long weekend interweaving the present and future histories of Ferrari, the display area at the Imola paddock showcased the Centenary Trophy. This very special prize, unveiled this summer at Pebble Beach, will go to the winning manufacturer at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2023. It will mark the centenary of the founding of the glorious endurance race. The 150 cm high bronze award was commissioned by the ACO (Automobile Club de L’Ouest) from Monnaie de Paris. Besides Imola, the Trophy has been exhibited at various motorsport events. It will soon appear at the 8 Hours of Bahrain (12 November 2022), the Retromobile Show (1-5 February 2023) and the Ice St. Moritz event (25 February
Mugello’s 16th. The 2023 Ferrari Finali Mondiali will take place in October at Mugello. To date, the circuit has hosted the Maranello manufacturer’s final Corse Clienti event a record 15 times.