The final two rounds of the North American Ferrari Challenge could not have taken place at two more exciting venues. Round eight (a non-points race) took place in mid-November during the U.S. Grand Prix at the brand new $350 million Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas in front of a reported weekend crowd that was in excess of 265,000 spectators. Then, just two weeks later, at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain the World Finals took place in front of more than 30,000 spectators and included the final for the North American series.
The nine race series of the 2012 North American Ferrari Challenge began in March at the IndyCar street circuit in St. Petersburg, Florida. The series was first designed in 1993 to allow Ferrari owners an opportunity to compete with fellow Ferrari enthusiasts. The series has progressed and today allows Ferrari owners to compete with special Ferrari 458 Challenge racers on some of the world's greatest racetracks.
The U.S. Grand Prix weekend had the largest entry of all of the 2012 Ferrari Challenge races with 34 cars. Both races were won by Emmanuel Anassis from Montreal, Canada, driving for the Ferrari Québec dealership. The racing was extremely close with Venezuelan Alex Popow, driving for the Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale team finishing second in the first race by just 2.063 seconds. The margin of victory was even tighter in the second race with Austin's own Mark McKenzie finishing just 1.248 seconds behind Anassis.
The World Finals was a major celebration of all things Ferrari with more than 50 historic Ferrari racing cars on display and on the track, and appearances by Ferrari Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa. Eleven North American drivers made the long trip to Spain for the two races in the final weekend of the 2012 North American Ferrari Challenge. With two classes of racing: the Trofeo Pirelli class for experienced racers and the Coppa Shell race for less experienced racers. In race 1, Enzo Potolicchio from Venezuela won the Trofeo Pirelli race while Jim Booth from Charleston, SC was victorious in the Coppa Shell race. The next day, Venezuelan Alex Popow, won the Trofeo class with Damon Ockey from Calgary, Canada winning the Coppa Shell.
Links to the video on Ferrari.com: http://corseclienti.ferrari.com/2012en/home/index/
Finishing third on both days in the Trofeo Pirelli class in Spain was Onofrio Triarsi from Short Hills, New Jersey. These results, along with his season-long success at other venues resulted in his winning the North American series championship for 2012. Damon Ockey, who finished second on the first day in the Valencia Coppa Shell Race finished as series champion in the North American Coppa Shell series.
The 2013 calendar for the North American Ferrari Challenge has been set and promises even more excitement. For the first time, the series will kick off its season at the 51st running of the legendary Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona race on January 26-27. Ferrari's connection to the endurance classic is well established?the iconic Ferrari Daytona got its name to honor the company's 1-2-3 finish in the February 1967 24-hour race with its 330P4 sports racing car.
The second race of the 2013 season will take place on April 12-14 with a new and exciting venue, the Interlagos Circuit in São Paulo, Brazil. This will be followed by the challenging Sonoma Raceway at Sears Point in the wine country of California. Next will be Canada's Mosport Circuit in September, the home of the Canadian Grand Prix in the 1960s and ancestral home to road racing in Canada. Eight race weekends are scheduled for the 2013 North American Ferrari Challenge, including a return to the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas and the World Finals at a location that is still to be determined.