After a record-breaking 2022 season for the North American season of Ferrari Challenge, a record number have elected to send their cars to the other side of the world as the 30th anniversary season of the championship heads to its inevitable and climactic conclusion. Ironically, it is the Trofeo Pirelli drivers who have yet to settle their championship results, while both Coppa Shell categories have seen their champions already take the crown at the previous racing weekend in Sonoma.
Trofeo Pirelli: The drama of the Finali weekend will certainly come from the Trofeo Pirelli category where Jeremy Clarke (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) leads but only by a scant eight points ahead of Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari). But the reality is that any one of four drivers can steal the crown with dark-horse candidate Manny Franco (Ferrari of Lake Forest) an interesting contender. After missing a few weekends, Manny got right back to winning at Sonoma and was dominant early in the season. He trails Clarke now by 27 points, a great distance but not impossible considering the 34 on offer.
The category has seen immense variability through the season with seven drivers earning a win and no driver earning more than three to date. No driver better embodies that variability than McCarthy who has enjoyed three wins, including two at Indianapolis, but has otherwise endured seven where he has been off the podium, giving room to Clarke who has similarly been off the podium five times to date. Only time will tell, and perhaps the first corner of the Imola circuit of course, who will emerge from this scrap. Meanwhile in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, Dave Musial Jr (Ferrari of Lake Forest) leads the category by only three points ahead of Alfred Caiola (Ferrari of Long Island) and a further three ahead of Todd Coleman (Ferrari of Denver) with Aaron Weiss (Continental Autosport) lurking a further six back. All four have taken their turn at the top step of the podium, but all enjoyed mix fortunes at Sonoma leaving none with the clear momentum heading into the final weekend.
Coppa Shell: In this category, what initially looked like a two-horse race between Brian Kaminskey (Ferrari of Long Island) and Michael Petramalo (Ferrari of Seattle), eventually separated to clearly favor the driver from the Pacific Northwest, particularly after the weekend alongside the Scuderia in Montreal. That’s not to say that Petramalo’s opening stanza to the season was poor, far from it as he earned five podiums from six chances, it is more a comment of how spectacular Kaminskey was who also took five podiums in six, but earned three wins to Petramalo’s zero.
But from there, the tides turned and Petramalo rattled off four wins of his own, including two at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve while Kaminskey faded, particularly at the Sonoma circuit and thus opened the door for Petramalo to clinch a round early. Meanwhile in Coppa Shell AM, Tony Davis (Continental Autosports) enjoyed an excellent run of form in a category that saw five different winners from the twelve races offered to date. Of course, Davis took his fair share of wins, earning four of the remaining seven available, but it was mostly his consistency, only missing the podium twice. Meanwhile his nearest challenger, and Ladies Cup winner, Lisa Clark (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) secured her best-ever championship result in Ferrari Challenge, with second in the category thus far and a 27-point advantage over her nearest competitor. She also handily claimed the Ladies Cup honors.