OLD CARS, NEW WINNERS AT FONTANA FERRARI HISTORIC CHALLENGE (FONTANA, CA, April 3) The Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge is about old cars -- the racers which created the Ferrari and Maserati legends. These old cars raced at the ...
OLD CARS, NEW WINNERS AT FONTANA FERRARI HISTORIC CHALLENGE
(FONTANA, CA, April 3) The Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge is about old cars -- the racers which created the Ferrari and Maserati legends. These old cars raced at the California Speedway for the first time this weekend, as part of the Grand American Sports Car Series' Ferrari Maserati 400. Some first-time winners joined past winners on the podium, and spectators got to enjoy the opportunity to see rare old race cars in their natural environment on the track.
The Shell Historic cars are separated into two race groups, for those with drum or disc brakes. Past Champion Peter Giddings won the first Drum Brake race, driving a Maserati 250F once raced by Sir Stirling Moss. Maseratis finished one-two-three in the race, with Giddings followed by Tom Price's 200 SI, a class winner, and Jon Shirley's 300S in it first Shell Historic event. Peter Greenfield had replaced his Alfa Romeo Monza with the famous ex-Tazio Nuvolari Alfa Romeo 8C/35 (ex-Giddings), and took his first class win in the car. Brooke Betz was another class winners, driving a Ferrari 250" Tour de France" berlinetta.
The Saturday Disc Brake race looked to be a battle among Tom Hollfelder, a local driver in an ex-Scuderia Filipinetti Ferrari 512F, Jim Fuchs, an experienced Drum Brake racer in a newly acquired Ferrari 512BB/LM, and past Champion Todd Morici, also in a BB/LM. An equal battle was expected among John Goodman, Steve Dudley, and Bob Benedict, all in modified 308s.
Lap One was exciting and close, but on the second lap Hollfelder stopped with fuel pressure problems and Benedict suffered gear problems; both were out on that lap. Fuchs could never get quite close enough to mount a challenge, and Morici cruised to an overall (and class) win. John Goodman won his class in his ex-Paul Newman 308, and Tom Price, doing double duty and now in his Ferrari 250 GTO, was the other class winner.
A second pair of races was held on Sunday morning. Giddings once again jumped to an early lead in his Maserati 250F, but transmission failure left him sitting off track before the race was half over. Tom Price took the overall win in his 200 SI, trailed by Shirley's 300 SI; this finish gave Shirley his first Shell Historic class win. Greenfield and Betz duplicated their class wins from Saturday.
The grid for the second Disc Brake race had been set from Saturday's results, so Hollfelder's DNF put him on the last row. Still, by the first turn he had joined Fuchs and Morici at the front, and the trio of five-liter Ferraris tried the turn three abreast. Fuchs seemed a bit quicker, but then Morici was put out with transmission problems, and Hollfelder's fuel starvation returned. Fuchs continued on to take his first Shell Historic overall and class win. Goodman repeated his 308 win over Dudley, and Price's GTO was a repeat winner as well.
All class winners received the traditional silver trophies, and Agusta Helicopters presented helicopter rides over the track to drivers Peter LeSaffre and Victor Preisler.
The Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge is organized by Ferrari/Maserati North America. Cars racing in the series are authentic competition cars built by Ferrari prior to 1981, racing Maseratis from the same period, and pre-war racing Alfa Romeos from Enzo Ferrari's Scuderia Ferrari, the Alfa factory team of the period.
The next race in the 2005 Shell Ferrari/Maserati Historic Challenge will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, on May 14-15.