The glamour and heat of Miami and South Beach brought out the best of the Ferrari Challenge field for Race 1 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Drivers tackled the 2.18 mile road course laid out within the NASCAR oval, making use of the front and back straights before turning off the banking at speed for the twisty infield course. Heat and humidity were the themes of the day as drivers had to combat the types of heat expected for an August day in South Florida. Drivers persevered, however, and maintained the tradition of exceptional on-track action expected in a Ferrari Challenge race.
Trofeo Pirelli – Wei Lu and his Ferrari of Vancouver powered 488 Challenge car were the class of the field on Saturday, taking pole and the class win by over ten seconds from Cooper MacNeil. The battle for second was where this class really delivered the action. Starting behind Martin Fuentes, Cooper applied consistent pressure, and despite Martin’s one-lap pace advantage (setting the fastest lap on lap three), Martin was unable to hold off Cooper come the checkered flag.
Trofeo Pirelli AM – The Trofeo Pirelli AM class featured the most dramatic finish of the day when Marc Muzzo made an error going into turn ten on the final lap, ran wide and was passed for the lead. Turn ten is a particular challenge, as the wide track and high speeds at that point require a precise, blind turn in point. From an outside view, it seemed that Marc missed his turn in point and ran wide, allowing Ross Chouest to slip through from second place in his Ferrari of Palm Beach 488 Challenge car. Marc’s misfortune also elevated Chris Cagnazzi (continuing his excellent run of form), Jean-Claude Saada and Brent Holden who just squeaked through by three tenths of a second.
Coppa Shell – In Coppa Shell, Dave Musial once again took the top step of the podium in his Lake Forest Sportscars 488 Challenge car. He was most closely challenged by Murray Rothlander and Barry Zekelman. While Dave only finished six tenths of a second ahead of Murray, there was a more sizeable gap back to Barry, who finished just four tenths ahead of Geoff Palermo. Robert Picerne took Gentleman’s Cup honors.
Trofeo Pirelli 458 – Sharing the track with the Trofeo Pirelli class, the 458 EVO runners were able to make use of the same caution free track time. Caesar Bacarella took the win in an action filled race that saw battles throughout the field. Francesco Piovanetti claimed second place ahead of a hard fought battle between Naveen Rao and John Boyd. Ultimately Naveen Rao crossed the line third, but a post-race penalty brought him well down the final finishing order. Lisa Clark and her Ferrari Beverley Hills 458 EVO took the Ladies Cup over her rival Debra Palermo for those particular honors.