The bond of passion which links Ferrari to Spain has distant origins with its roots back in the 1950s, when Mike Hawthorn won the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix held on the Pedralbes circuit, at the wheel of a Cavallino car.
That was the year 2006. As far as the Ferrari Challenge story goes, the bond with the Iberian Peninsula is a far more recent one. It was June 2nd, 2006 which marked the date of the debut free practice session for the one-make series on the Ricardo Tormo circuit. A weekend lived between the past and the present, with the masterpieces in the Historic Challenge sharing the track with modern racing berlinettes. The near four-kilometre circuit found favour with drivers right away as they try their hands at the wheel around the sinuous track.
City event. In 2009, after the date at the end of summer reserved for the Challenge Europe, the World Finals were held for the first time on foreign soil. And it was indeed Valencia which became the first non-Italian track to host the closing event of the Prancing Horse season. It was as much a great success for the show staged on the track as it was for the high attendance, where fans flocked to see local idol Fernando Alonso, who had just been signed up by Scuderia Ferrari for the 2010 F1 World Championship. The 2009 success was repeated again in 2010, with an event that saw the Ferraris in action along the city’s Paseo de Alameda against a backdrop of futuristic structures designed by Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava. From special series cars, to Gran Turismos, to XX Programme cars, right through to the modern F1 driven by Badoer, Valencia is awash with rojo, the classic Ferrari colour.
The 458 Challenge arrives. 2011 once again witnessed the track, dedicated to the memory of Ricardo Tormo, host the second stage of the continental division. The 458 Challenge, after its opening in Monza, undertook the commitment of a track with very opposing features to those of the Lombardy circuit. For this very reason, numerous competitors from the Italian division came to Spain to deepen their knowledge of the new 8-cylinder engine from Maranello. It was back to Valencia once more in 2012, this time for the final round of the season and the World Finals, which rewarded Alessandro Balzan’s fine season, saw the Ferrari Moscow Team crowned 2012 champions, while Alexander Basov clinched both the continental title and the final of the Coppa Shell.