Road America: Prodrive Ferrari test day report

Practice makes perfect . A new track yet again for Tomas Enge and Peter Kox to learn, and a welcome chance for Brabham and Magnussen to re-visit one of their favourite tracks. After the first 90 minutes of practice yesterday, the Prodrive ...

Practice makes perfect .

A new track yet again for Tomas Enge and Peter Kox to learn, and a welcome chance for Brabham and Magnussen to re-visit one of their favourite tracks.

After the first 90 minutes of practice yesterday, the Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranellos founds themselves in 2nd and 3rd positions in class, with Enge's time of 2m5.034 having been set on old tyres.

George Howard-Chappell, Team Principal, acknowledges the competition is going to be very close this weekend. The team tried a number of different options with regard to set up and balance of the car, and made a whole raft of changes overnight for assessment in this morning's practice hour.

Following in fathers' footsteps .

Dutchman Peter Kox and Dane Jan Magnussen both have aspiring racers in their families.

Peter's daughter, Stephane (9), started karting 4 months ago at Mike Hezemans indoor karting school. Peter says, "I am definitely not pushing her but she's really keen and it's great fun watching her - more helmet than person at the moment! Part of me hopes she's not going to race but part of me would be very proud if she did. My wife, Esther, also used to race karts so I think it must be in her genes."

Magnussen's son Kevin (10) is definitely a chip off the old block. He first sat in a kart aged 2 and Jan said Kevin had his first seat fitting when he came out of diapers - he needed a smaller seat! He began competitive racing two years ago in the Cadetti category in Denmark in a 60cc kart. This year he's racing (and winning regularly) an 85cc kart in different regional series around his home country, karting midweek and most weekends during school term times. Jan is very proud of Kevin's achievements to date, particularly the fact that he's been picked up to join the prestigious Peugeot Junior Team for next year.

Who is Care Racing? .

The Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranellos seen in this year's American Le Mans Series are owned by Frederic Dor's Swiss-based Care Racing Development company.

Frederic's links with Prodrive first came about when he purchased a rally car from them as part of their Allstars programme. He has remained close to the company over a number of years through rallying.

In 2001, when he decided to form Care Racing and use the Ferrari 550s for his sportscar programme, Frenchman Dor realised they needed serious re- development in order to go racing.

With no offer of assistance forthcoming from the Ferrari factory, Care became a customer of Prodrive's racing division - and the first two cars were developed in 16 weeks, built to FIA GT regs. The car, run by Prodrive, competed in 5 rounds of that European Championship, won 2 races and got a 3rd.

For 2002 Frederic decided to expand the programme. Briefly, it works like this. Care Racing purchase standard production 550s through a Ferrari dealer - not direct from the factory - and then deliver them to Prodrive for conversion to race specification.

Of the six cars currently in competition, two are being operated by Prodrive on Care's behalf in the ALMS, three are run by BMS Scuderia Italia in the FIA GT Championship [two BMS, one Care Racing entry] and one was used by Luc Alphand/Solution F at Le Mans and is currently being considered as a third car for the ALMS.

The finished cars are sent from Prodrive to customers such as BMS / Solution F who run them pretty much as they get them, with engine support from Prodrive's own engine department, as well as provision of any development packages that evolve during the year.

-fm-

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , Jan Magnussen , Peter Kox , Luc Alphand , Frederic Dor , George Howard-Chappell