More than 40 Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo Cars Are Entered
For the second round of the 2021 Ferrari Challenge North America season, the championship will make a long-awaited return to Sonoma Raceway in the heart of California’s Napa Valley. A packed schedule and a full paddock await as the season continues at the technical 2.22-mile circuit.
Ferrari Challenge is making its return to Sonoma after a five-year hiatus. The 12-turn course last hosted the series in 2016 when Ferrari Challenge made use of the 458 Challenge Evo cars. The historic circuit has hosted nearly every major racing series, from NASCAR to IndyCars to drag racing on the central drag strip.
The configuration used by the Ferrari Challenge enjoys many of the same difficulties navigated by these other series. Most notably, the Turns 1 and 2 sequence where the track rises over 100 feet while turning to the left. Drivers have to navigate that sequence while slowing the car from over 140 mph to just over 60 mph for a very tricky right-hander.
From there, drivers continue on to a sharp right-hander leading down to the carousel and onto the drag strip for the longest straight on the track. Heavy breaking into Turn 7 represents the best chance for overtaking. From there, the Ferrari Challenge will make use of the optional Turn 9 chicane before heading to the original Turn 11 hairpin.
With more than 40 Ferrari 488 Challenge Evo cars racing and an additional 18 Ferraris participating in the Club Challenge program, the series continues to hold its status as the preeminent single-make GT series in North America. The Sonoma entry represents a high-water mark for the nascent 2021 season as drivers are clearly enthusiastic for the return to the California circuit.
After a single race weekend at VIRginia International Raceway, the 2021 season is already shaping up to be incredibly competitive. While Trofeo Pirelli is led by the sole entrant thus far in the category, Cooper MacNeil (Ferrari of Westlake), in Trofeo Pirelli AM1, Martin Burrowes (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale) leads the way, but Barry Zekelman (Ferrari of Ontario), Dave Musial (Ferrari of Lake Forest) and Neil Gehani (Continental Autosports) are all within a single point of each other.
In the AM2 category, Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari) leads over Brian Davis (Ferrari of Palm Beach) and John Megrue (Ferrari of Long Island). Notably, Keysin Chen (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) has been elevated after his first-ever racing weekend at VIR into the Trofeo Pirelli AM2 category. In Coppa Shell, Todd Coleman (Ferrari of Denver) will look to carry on his strong momentum after back-to-back wins at VIR. Brandon Kruse will unfortunately miss this round and will certainly cede his championship lead in the category.
The Ferrari Challenge continues to livestream all qualifying and racing sessions on live.ferrari.com as well as the Ferrari Races Facebook page. Official practice starts Friday. Saturday’s action will begin with qualifying sessions at 12:35 p.m. ET and racing at 4:35 p.m. Sunday’s schedule will broadly mirror Saturday with qualifying again beginning at 12:35 p.m. and racing sessions at 4:15 p.m.