Words: Nic Jimenez/Raphael Belly | Photos: Raphael Belly
Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli North America was first introduced in 1993 withe the Ferrari 355 as a single-brand (Ferrari only) series of racing for a championship. Ferrari Challenge is open for Ferrari clients, taking their first steps on a race track in the Coppa Shell, and drivers with motorsport experience, taking part in the Trofeo Pirelli’s main category: the North American Championship is held on seven tracks, across the United States and Canada including the Italian circuit for a world final.
As you can see from our plethora of both photo and video coverage, eGarage was very fortunate to have had access to and follow the Ferrari of San Francisco Challenge team (VIDEO) from the beginning of the 2011 Season at both Infineon Raceway in Sonoma and Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. On this perilous journey across 7 racetracks the young San Francisco team rallied around their Ferrari 458 Challenge car to make the best they could out of a slow season start and end the season on a high note at the Mugello Circuit in Italy.
As explained by Ferrari of San Francisco; “The Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli is one of the most popular one-make series, in part because it brings together complete track novices and those who already have competition experience.”
Now nearing 2 decades since its inception, this year Ferrari Challenge introduced the new 458 Challenge which shared the asphalt with the F430 Challenge at the starting line. There are typically three series in Europe, Italia, and North America. This year there was a fourth Ferrari Challenge Series introduced in the Asia-Pacific region, which was deemed a huge success. For 2011 competitors from all 4 Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli series battled for the world title in this remarkable Ferrari series.
In the Ferrari Challenge, everything from guest hospitality to up close spectator access is done to help drivers and teams feel relaxed and comfortable throughout the ferrari Racing Days weekends. The Ferrari Racing Days are Ferrari organized events which are always held at the most prestigious race circuits. These events are a showcase of non-competitive activities managed by the Corse Clienti Department from Maranello, as FXX, 599XX programs and F1 Clienti.
On this final Ferrari Challenge trip from California to the Mugello, Italy surrounded by approximately 10,000 people, Raphael Belly was there to capture and bear witness. He had these words to offer from his weekend with the Ferrari of San Francisco team & the entire Finali Mondiali Ferrari 2011 experience at the Italian Mugello Circuit.
“The human race distinguishes itself by 2 types of different chromosome pairings: XX for the women and XY for the men. With Ferrari, it is also about chromosomes: XX in this particular case represents the XX program. But this program is not only dedicated to women. Rather, it mixes the feminine beauty of the Ferrari Enzo and 599 with the male virility of their sharp bodies and howling entrails.
What better showcase this year for the tifosi than the November cold mist on the Italian Mugello racetrack? Here, particular Ferrari customers were able to warm up the legs of their racing cars for the last time this season. The event included the XX Programs (599 + FXX), F1 Clienti, and Ferrari Challenge (430 + 458). Regretfully this year, vintage and historic Ferraris were absent from this event.
Thanks to the paddock/pitlane access from Ferrari of San Francisco we were given a rare opportunity to be very close to the cars, in particular the Formula 1 (of yesterday and today). Our ears still remember just how close we got! We realized all the intricacies of the XX programs and F1 Clienti as they include: a team dedicated to every small care, the “suitcases” of parts and accessories, the tools, the tires, the private trucks. Here you are exactly the same as a real driver of the Scuderia.
For the driver, F1 brings about the strongest emotion, not because it is the most efficient, but due to the history of their single‐seaters as well as the drivers who sat in their place years before them. On the Formula 1 cars you can read names of human legends: Raikkonen, Clay Regazzoni, Schumacher. They all had a strong courage to fight on the track with these kind of automotive jewels.