INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Aug. 11, 2000 - The Ferrari Challenge, a racing series for Ferrari owners, will race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway supporting the SAP United States Grand Prix. The SAP United States Grand Prix, first to be held on the...
The SAP United States Grand Prix, first to be held on the new 2.606-mile Grand Prix circuit at the Speedway, will take place Sept. 22-24, 2000. The Ferrari Challenge race will start at 10:50 a.m. (EST) Sept. 24, the last support race before the start of the SAP United States Grand Prix Formula One race at 1 p.m. that day.
Cars racing in the Ferrari Challenge are specially built racing versions of the new 360 Modena, Ferrari’s latest V8-engined sports car. The Challenge Ferraris are fitted with full safety equipment, modified suspension and brakes, and Pirelli racing slicks on BBS wheels. The 3.5-liter engine, producing more than 400 horsepower, is unmodified.
All Ferraris in the Challenge are prepared to the same standards by authorized Ferrari dealers, who also maintain and support the cars at the races. Ferrari 355s, the predecessor to the 360, also participate in the series. Prepared to similar standards, the 355s are most easily recognized by their carbon-fiber rear wings.
The Challenge is in its seventh successful year. This race, alongside the Formula One teams, will be one of the most popular events for both the drivers and for Ferrari fans everywhere.
“We’re pleased that the Ferrari Challenge series will join us at the Speedway for the inaugural United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis,” said Tony George, president and chief executive officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “The close, high-speed racing provided by these exciting and exotic sports cars are the perfect complement to the Grand Prix and will thrill fans attending this new event.”
Drivers in the Ferrari Challenge own their cars and are amateur racers, with no professional drivers permitted. Given Ferrari’s appeal in the market, it’ s not surprising that occupations represented among the drivers include doctors, business CEO’s and other professionals. But students, housewives and at least one rocket scientist have competed, as well.
There is no prize money in the Challenge. Winning drivers receive trophies and the opportunity to spray champagne from the podium.
The appeal to these drivers is the opportunity to race their cars on some of the most famous tracks in North America, such as Sebring, Elkhart Lake, Laguna Seca and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, where the Challenge has four times raced alongside the Canadian Grand Prix.