Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale’s Race Team Chief Ron Vogel is soaked, but smiling.
It’s not the rain that got him wet, but the champagne from his drivers after a highly successful weekend of racing in Round Two of the 2015 Ferrari Challenge North America.
Vogel also clings to a huge trophy and a now empty bottle of what was fine champagne. His cars flank Victory Lane at the team’s local track, Homestead-Miami Speedway, and he grins as he places the bottle on the rear spoiler of the #8 Motorsport.com-backed Ferrari 458.
A fantastic performance
“It feels fantastic,” he says now – but his face hadn’t been smiling all weekend. Mother Nature threw plenty his way, and from searingly-hot temperatures in practice on Friday, it was occasional rain that caused him a headache across the weekend and caused his mechanics and engineers all manner of work to do.
“It was a difficult weekend in terms of setup – we were struggling in mixed conditions throughout,” he admits. “It was difficult to find that sweet-spot which worked for my guys, but we got there in the end today.”
#8's third place overall on Sunday – and Am class victory – came after an incredible drive from 11th on the grid. He was hit no fewer than four times by rival drivers, which left his car battered down each flank, but he tigered home to take a hugely popular win. Not only that, John Farano and Dan O'Neal also make the top three in their classes across the weekend too.
The team trophy is fantastic, and three podiums today is fantastic too.
“The team trophy is fantastic and three podiums today (Sunday) is fantastic too,” beams Vogel. “I couldn’t ask for much more. John Farano scored two podiums, #8 was quite the driver of the race today, storming through like that, and Dan O’Neal – you’ve got to remember he only started race driving 13 months ago, so look how far he has come. Incredible.”
Vogel paid tribute to the series’ class structures in allowing the gentlemen drivers the chance to mix it with Pros and more experienced racers.
“I think they’ve done a great job in structuring the series with these different categories,” he said. “You have new guys, like Dan, experienced guys, like Mike, and then you’ve got Scott Tucker, who’s raced everything in the world! It’s a great balance – from rookies to a guy who’s run the Le Mans 24 Hours.
“Next stop: Sonoma! Let’s hope to win more trophies there.”