The drivers of the Ferrari Challenge championship pressed their 488 Challenge Evos into racing action for the first time in 2023 as the opening races of the North American season took place at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Run under a warm Florida sun, drivers seemed to have no rust to speak of as clean competitive racing largely dominated the proceedings of the day.
Roberto Perrina (Ferrari of Seattle) secured a lights to flag win at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari) and Manny Franco (Ferrari Lake Forrest) taking the rest of the podium places.
The first race of the season was competitive but ultimately uninterrupted. Perrina launched away from the field at the green and didn’t look back, completing 21 laps in the 30-minute contest, and earning an eight-second gap by the checkered flag.
It was a lonely race also for McCarthy as he was sixteen seconds ahead of Franco at the flag. From there back, however, the race was tight and very competitive as drivers had to balance their aggression and tire consumption as degradation was a significant feature to manage and led to some late-race fights for position.
In Trofeo Pirelli AM, Marc Muzzo (Ferrari of Ontario) took the win, but was dogged throughout the race by Dave Musial (Ferrari Lake Forest) who ultimately finished second on the track. The battle came down to the final corner where Muzzo brilliantly managed his pace and positioning to not give Musial an opening as they raced onto the front straight.
At the line they were separated by only .5 seconds, but a penalty applied to Musial for incident responsibility which demoted him to 9thin the category. Chuck Whittall (Ferrari of Central Florida) was promoted to second while Tony Davis (Continental Autosport) was promoted into podium position.
Sureel Choksi (Ferrari of Denver) earned the win in a deeply competitive Coppa Shell race that unfortunately ended under caution after Neil Langberg (Ferrari of South Bay) struck the wall in turn 3.
Cameron Root (Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo) secured second position in his first-ever Ferrari Challenge race, passing eventual third-place finisher Yahn Bernier (Ferrari of Seattle) six minutes into the thirty-minute contest.
After an intense opening lap, the drivers of the category quickly strung out and individual battles began to emerge. There were however, a few especially exciting moments as drivers exceeded the limits of their Ferrari 488 Challenge Evos, especially in the notorious turn 9 where drivers take a high speed left off the banking before slowing for the next corner.
The nature of the changing camber and the braking gives notable rear instability and there were a few notable spins through the grass in this area. But the battle of the race belonged in the Coppa Shell AM category where Lisa Clark (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) had to work her way past Dan Cornish (Ferrari of Austin), making the pass cleanly en route to her first win of the 2023 championship and first on North American soil.