Repeat winners, new cars open historic Ferrari/Maserati season.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL, JANUARY 26. The overall winners were familiar names, but some rarely seen cars highlighted the opening of the 2003 North American Ferrari/Maserati season. The races were held at Moroso Motorsports Park as part of the traditional Cavallino Classic event.
Peter Sachs, a frequent winner and past champion, led flag to flag to win the first race, for racing Ferraris and Maseratis fitted with drum brakes, and pre-war Alfas. Sachs' Ferrari 335 Sport took a narrow victory and class win over Jon Shirley's 250 TR prototype, the first appearance of that car in the series. Lawrence Stroll's 250 TR finished third overall. Other class winners included Ed Davies' 375 MM Pinin Farina Spider, Stephen Dudley's 250 GT "Tour de France" Berlinetta, Jay Jessup's Maserati 200 SI, and Dennis Machul's Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Monza in the Pre-War class. Sixteen cars started the race, one of the largest Drum fields in the series' history.
The Disc Brake grid saw a familiar front row, with two past champions driving 512 BB/LMs. Todd Morici was on pole, with 2002 champion Ray Hartman alongside. Morici took the lead at the green flag, and his victory was assured when Hartman suffered mechanical problems on the seventh lap. Bill Noon's 308 GT/Michelotto, Charlie Arnott's Competition Daytona, and Nick Longhi in the ex-Roger Penske Sunoco 512 M were class winners, as was Sachs, this time driving a 250 GTO/64. A highlight of the race was Class Five for 1960s prototypes, which featured a pair of very rare Ferrari racers. Lawrence Stroll took the class win (and second overall) in his ex-Francorchamps 412P ahead of Chuck Wegner's 196 SP. Wegner used the handling of his two-liter racer to advantage, but was not able to keep up with the superior power of Stroll's four-liter engine.
The series, organized by Ferrari/Maserati North America, will make its next appearance at the Sears Point Raceway in California on March 8-9.