MacNeil, Ghandour, Baker and Davis Claim Wins at Ferrari Challenge Season Opener
An early morning gave way to a hazy afternoon as Challenge competitors gathered at the Circuit of the Americas for Race 2 of Ferrari Challenge competition in North America on March 10. Cloudy skies, however, meant cooler temperatures, a welcome respite for the drivers after Saturday’s warm and humid conditions. Ultimately, however, the patterns started on Saturday were maintained into Sunday; clean racing, respect across the field and enjoyment while racing Ferraris.
Trofeo Pirelli: Cooper MacNeil avenged his last lap mistake of Saturday and took an absolutely dominant win in Race 2 at Circuit of the Americas. The Ferrari of Westlake driver bolted onto the start and never looked back, averaging nearly 1 mph more than his nearest competitor, equivalent to a 17 second gap as they crossed the line. Benjamin Hites (The Collection) had a thrilling race, but for different reasons as was shuffled back at the start and spent the rest of the race chipping away. A number of thrilling passes later, none more so than multi-lap battle with Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale), and Benjamin was back in second position, but no where near close enough to chase down Cooper. Martin came home in third, seven seconds ahead of last year’s Coppa Shell champion, Thomas Tippl (Ferrari of Beverly Hills).
Trofeo Pirelli AM: Ziad Ghandour (Boardwalk Ferrari) repeated on the podium, but this time earned the top step over Todd Morici (Wide World Ferrari) and Dave Musial (Ferrari Lake Forest). Ziad’s performance was similarly demonstrative to Cooper’s in the Trofeo Pirelli class, where Ziad generated a 19 second gap by race end. Further back it was a bit closer, with Todd only one second ahead of Dave as they crossed the line. Saturday’s race winner, Mark Fuller (Ferrari of Silicon Valley), unfortuantely did not start the race.
Coppa Shell: Danny Baker (Ferrari of Palm Beach) made it a perfect weekend as he again took control of the Coppa Shell race and never looked back. After a clean getaway and excellent opening lap, he was able to settle in for the 30 minute sprint to the finish. Mark Issa (Ferrari of Atlanta) did make things interesting about mid-way through as he was able to close up and challenge Danny’s position. But ultimately, Danny was able to find a few more tenths per lap and finished 4 seconds ahead of Mark. The pair were in a league of their own as Claude Senhoreti (Ferrari of Ft Lauderdale) finished third and nearly thirty seconds back on the leading pair.
Coppa Shell AM: Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) again took the top step of the Coppa Shell AM podium, delivering a strong drive that earned him a 20 second gap to the second place finisher, Eric Marston (Ferrari of Westlake). A first time competitor, Eric did an excellent job to finish 6th overall, just ahead of more established competitors like Kevan Millstein (Ferrari of San Diego, in the Coppa Shell category). Another first time podium finisher, Gianni Grilli (Ferrari of Quebec) rounded out the podium in third.
Ferrari Challenge will return to racing action in a month’s time on April 5 at Sebring International Raceway. Ferrari Challenge comes to WeatherTech Racing Laguna Seca on May 10-12 as part of a Ferrari Racing Days event that also includes Corse Clienti F1 and XX supercars. Tickets and information are available here or by calling 831-242-8200.