Mark McKenzie dominates Saturday’s race, while Ricardo Perez narrowly wins on Sunday.
Englewood Cliffs, N.J. – Two days of perfect California weather greeted the 31 drivers and their respective machines for the second round of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, held at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Following the first weekend of the year at Daytona International Raceway, this weekend marked the first time that the Ferrari 458 Challenge Evoluzione would be used in the North American championship of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli.
The Ferrari 458 Challenge Evoluzione features a revised front bumper and splitter, as well as a new rear wing, which have been developed from experience in Ferrari’s GT racing. The changes result in a faster, more balanced race car that excels in high-speed corners and under braking. The drivers in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli praised the handling characteristics of the Ferrari 458 Challenge Evoluzione, and laptimes at Sonoma were seconds faster than last year’s racers.
In the Coppa Shell category, Chris Ruud (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) took victory, finishing a strong seventh overall in the race. Battling throughout the race with his teammate, Jon Becker (Ferrari of Beverly Hills), Becker would ultimately finish in second place with James Weiland (Ferrari of San Francisco) finishing third in the class.
Sunday’s race would be markedly different, as Cheung led the field from the start of the race, establishing his lead until he spun and went off course to bring out the race’s only full course caution period. After two laps of caution, Perez took over the lead and raced to his first victory of the season. Brothers Ryan Ockey (Ferrari of Ontario) and Damon Ockey (Ferrari of Ontario) finished in second and third position in the overall results, as well as in the Trofeo Pirelli class.
After finishing second in Saturday’s race, Becker took victory in the Coppa Shell class, finishing just ahead of Ruud. Weiland finished in third position for the second straight day.
The next round of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will be May 16-18 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, California.