The first Champions of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli season in North America were crowned at the weekend at Road Atlanta. Under hot and steamy conditions, drivers braved the fast lefts and rights of the classic Georgia layout. Under the constant potential for disruption from Hurricane Florence, all sessions were able to run in dry conditions.
Trofeo Pirelli. Cooper MacNeil (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) took himself ever closer to the Trofeo Pirelli championship with a win on Saturday. While the ending margin was fairly close at 1.4 seconds, Cooper had the race well in hand, leading from the first lap onwards. Benjamin Hites (The Collection) was able to insert himself into the customary Trofeo Pirelli rivalry, slotting between Cooper and reigning champion Peter Ludwig (Wide World Ferrari). Peter did his very best to attack Ben, but while the battle ebbed and flowed, Peter was ultimately unable to make a dent.
Trofeo Pirelli AM. Ross Chouest (Ferrari of Palm Beach) claimed victory over Murray Rothlander (Ferrari of Vancouver) and John Boyd (Ferrari of Denver). In a race that was run start to finish without caution but with several retirements, Ross had the consistent pace and better starting position that became key factors to his success.
Coppa Shell. Thomas Tippl (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari Beverly Hills) continued his indomitable run of wins and ultimately claimed the Coppa Shell championship in his first racing season, three races early. Mark Fuller (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Westlake) took his now customary position in 2nd, and rounding out the podium for Scuderia Corsa was Chris Carel (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of Beverly Hills). A mid-race caution proved just enough to condense the field but there was never a serious challenge to Thomas all race long.
Coppa Shell AM. John Megrue (Ferrari of Long Island) and Kevan Millstein (Scuderia CAVA – Ferrari of San Diego) demonstrated impressive turns of pace to mix with the top Coppa Shell contenders. John Megrue – in his first year of Ferrari Challenge competition – was in fact the closest driver to Thomas on outright pace while Kevan enjoyed a race-long scrap with Mark Fuller and Chris Carel in the sister category. Bradley Smith (Scuderia Corsa – Ferrari of South Bay) earned third place on the road, however a 30 second penalty for a pass under the loan caution of the race dropped him down the order and promoted Keith Larson (Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo) to the podium in his first race of 2018.
458 Challenge EVO. Martin Burrowes (Ferrari Ft Lauderdale), James Walker (Ferrari of Houston) and Trevor Baek (Ron Tonkin Gran Turismo) continued their epic three-way duels at Road Atlanta with Martin Burrowes taking a well-earned win after holding off a persistent and attacking James Walker. Despite multiple trips a bit too deep into Turn 10, Martin was able to hold his position. Their constant bickering, however, allowed Trevor Baek to stay within striking distance for the entire race distance. Meanwhile, Eileen Bildman (Ferrari of Long Island and Riley Ryen (Ferrari of Vanouver) found themselves in an end-of race battle for the Ladies Cup. Ultimately, however, Eileen was able to prevail as Riley made her return to racing since the second round of 2018 at COTA. Burrowes is now champion on maths with a race to spare.