The second day of the historic Ferrari Finali Mondiali, which is being held for the first time in North America at Daytona International Speedway, featured the first races of the event weekend on the 3.56-mile road course.
On Friday, competitors in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli and the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell battled for victory in a pair of 30-minute timed races. In the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, pole winner and Venezuelan native Carlos Kauffmann, driving with the Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale team, dominated the race leading every lap of the event to bring home the overall victory by a margin of 2.592 seconds also clinching the 2016 championship.
Rusty Wallace, the 1989 champion of NASCAR’s premier series, finished 15th overall for the Risi Competizione/Ferrari of Houston team and third overall in Professional Ferrari North America class. Wallace was pleased with his first race of the weekend in the competitive class and will look for even more improvement in Saturday’s event.
“I went off the course a couple of times in the (chicane),” Wallace said. “It cost me some time, but other than that, I had a good day. Risi Competizione did a wonderful job for me. The car is in a (good) spot and nothing is tore up. I’ve learned a lot. I think we will have a better day tomorrow. I just have to go home and take about 100 of those mistakes and clean them up to about 20.”
Class winners in the Trofeo Pirelli were: Kauffmann (Professional, Ferrari North America), Philipp Baron (Professional, Europe), Florian Merckx (Professional Asia Pacific), who won the title for 2016, Sam Smeeth (Amateur, Europe), James Weiland (Amateur, North America), who came back into the lead beating fellow compatriot Steve Johnson, and Xin Jin (Amateur Asia Pacific).
In the Ferrari Challenge Coppa Shell race, Thomas Loefflad of Germany, driving for StileF Squadra Corse, held off Rick Lovat in the closing laps to win by a margin of 1.346 seconds. Class winners were: Loefflad (Europe), Matt Keegan (North American), Liang Wang (Asia).
The Ferrari Finali Mondiali will continue to showcase its array of machinery on Saturday and Sunday. On tap for Saturday, Trofeo Pirelli and Coppa Shell will hold their second races of the event, and at 6:15 p.m., there will be the largest Ferrari parade on a North American track. The goal is to have 1,000 Ferraris completing a parade lap.
On Sunday, the F1 experience will be heightened when current Scuderia Ferrari drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel take to the track in respective F60s to wrap up the weekend. The exhibition format will have them turning full-speed laps with tire changes and simulated pit stops. The exhibition will conclude with the F60s crossing the finish line side-by-side, in a nod to the legendary 1967 finish of the Rolex 24 At Daytona when Ferraris finished 1-2-3.. That year marked one of five Ferrari overall victories in the Rolex 24.
Appropriately, the Ferrari Finali Mondiali involves much more than on-track activity. Spectators visiting the Fanzone are able to see both new and classic Ferraris. Sunday, the display will have a significant addition: the new Ferrari 488 Challenge, which will be unveiled on Saturday night during a special gala dinner.
Tickets for the Finali Mondiali can be purchased at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com, by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by visiting the Daytona International Speedway Ticket Office. Daily adult general admission tickets start at $15; children 12 and under are FREE throughout the event. A four-day general admission pass is also available for $60, a savings of $35, and includes access to the garage area. Parking and camping packages are also available.
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