After two years removed from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the 2022 season marks the triumphant return of Ferrari Challenge North America to the circuit that has hosted the series more than any other in North America. Surrounding the Ile Notre-Dame, the 2.71-mile circuit offers nearly every challenge a driver could want. High speeds mix with tight chicanes and big braking moments, perhaps none more than the final braking zone into the final two corners of the circuit. Requiring impeccable precision, drivers must leap their Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo cars over the curbs and get as close as they dare to the infamous wall of champions before blasting to the start/finish line.
Unusual format will challenge drivers
Drivers will face this unusual circuit in unusual circumstance as the normal days of testing are not a part of this weekend’s schedule. Instead, drivers will have to make do with three practice sessions on Friday, followed by a single qualifying session and then the weekend’s two races. But unlike in other weekends, drivers from all four categories of Ferrari Challenge competition will run simultaneously, making for a busy track on the island. The unusual format will also affect qualifying as driver points will set the grid for race 1, while the times secured in qualifying will only set the grid for the second race. Clearly natural talent or significant experience will be required to maximize the potential of the 488 Challenge Evo in these circumstances.
Manny Franco (Ferrari of Lake Forest) leads the way in the Trofeo Pirelli category heading into the Montreal weekend, but there was drama behind him as Joe Rubbo (Ferrari of Long Island) enjoyed an excellent weekend at Watkins Glen to take second place in the standings ahead of Jeremy Clarke (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) who is now in third. The Montreal weekend, however, is notoriously unforgiving as the close walls and limited practice time will put a premium on drivers with experience and natural speed as they come to terms with the demanding circuit. In the Trofeo Pirelli Am category, Alfred Caiola (Ferrari of Long Island) continues to hold the championship advantage, though it is one that got even more tenuous after the Watkins Glen weekend. There strong results from Dave Musial Jr. (Ferrari of Lake Forest) allowed him to close the gap to now just three points, with Todd Coleman (Ferrari of Denver) only three more behind from there.
Continuing the theme of the other categories, Brian Kaminskey (Ferrari of Long Island) continues to lead the championship heading into this weekend at Montreal, but his lead has shrunk after an excellent weekend from Michael Petramalo (Ferrari of Seattle) who added two podiums to his name during the Watkins Glen weekend. The two drivers, however, have clearly distinguished themselves from the rest of the Coppa Shell field, with both over 20 points ahead of their nearest competitor, Frank Chang (Ferrari of Seattle). In the Am category, Tony Davis (Continental Autosport) solidified his position at the head of the standings with a double podium at Watkins Glen, building a 17-point advantage over Todd Johnson (Ferrari of Rancho Mirage), his nearest competitor. Lisa Clark (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) currently occupies the second spot, three points further back.