Passion

For the Musial family, where both dad and son are successful Ferrari Challenge drivers, it’s not just about racing: it’s about making life-lasting bonds
Words: Marco della Cava
Photographs: Brian Finke

Any time spent between parent and child is precious, moments when connections are made and bonds are forged. But when those shared events include the intense camaraderie and inherent danger that are a fundamental part of motor racing, the memories get turbocharged. 

Just ask Dave Musial Senior, 51, and his 22-year-old son, Dave Junior. For the past six years, the father-son duo from Chicago have been a fixture on the Ferrari Challenge circuit, steadily climbing the podium. 

The father-son duo have been a steady fixture on the Ferrari Challenge circuit for the past six years 

“I suppose it starts with a shared passion for cars, which he may love even more than I do,” Dave Sr. says with a laugh. “But honestly, to do the racing at the track together, with all the laughs during the day and at the dinners, it is so special.” 

Dave Jr. also puts the emphasis squarely on a shared joy. “We have a lot of fun together, on and off the track,” he says. “There’s certainly some learning going on. Sometimes if we’re lapping at the same time, I’ll try and follow his line to see if he’s doing something different and better than me. But mostly, it’s about having fun.” 

Dave Sr. ready for his Trofeo Pirelli run; his 488 Challenge Evo; on the podium for third in the Trofeo Pirelli Am2

Ferrari Challenge head coach Didier Theys seconds that impression, saying: “They are often the most entertaining people in the paddock.” But while padre e figlio Musial may stress their dedication to having a good time as Challenge competitors, they are also laser focussed on results. 

Both Musials began their Ferrari racing journey in 2016 at a Corso Pilota programme held at the U.S. Grand Prix venue, the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas. It was there that an exposure to a range of Maranello racers and road-going models saw them become hooked on both Ferrari racing, and Ferrari collecting. 

Dave Jr. focussing at race start; on the track at Elkhart Lake; celebrating second in the Coppa Shell Am

Dave Sr., who had been an accomplished kart racer in his younger years before focussing on his booming business - heating and air-conditioning - dived in first at the Coppa Shell level and quickly moved up. In 2020, he won the Ferrari Challenge North America Trofeo Pirelli Am division in a 488 Challenge Evo. 

By 2019, Dave Jr. was finally old enough to start his racing journey in Coppa Shell, and quickly discovered he had inherited a knack for the track. The very next year, as Dave Sr. took Trofeo Pirelli Am honours, Dave Jr. notched his first top-10 finish with a fifth-place result at Daytona. 

In 2021, the script would flip. This time it was Dave Jr. who would score an overall victory, finishing first in Coppa Shell North America in his 488 Challenge Evo. His father locked in a third-place finish in North America’s Trofeo Pirelli Am2. The end result: both Musials will be moving up in 2022 to Trofeo Pirelli, with Senior in Trofeo Pirelli and Junior in Trofeo Pirelli AM. 

Precious moments: father and son share a congratulatory hug

The prospect has them both smiling. “We’ll now often be on the track at the same time, which will be great,” says Dave Sr. “We’ll be out there qualifying against each other for position. Look out!” 

During the off season, Midwestern U.S. weather permitting, the Musials enjoy taking leisurely cruises in their growing Ferrari collection. Their stable now includes a LaFerrari, an SF90, an F12 and a Monza SP2. (Senior’s favourite: the Monza; Junior’s: the LaFerrari.) Their Maranello machines stir a passion and fascination that always leaves them wanting to hit the race circuit once again which, for Dave Sr., means the chance continuing this unique Ferrari-fuelled activity with his son. 

“We all know that there are often generation gaps between parents and children, but any time you can share something that both of you love, it closes those gaps,” he says, adding: “If you’re connecting on a passionate level it makes the time together so much more special.”