Ferrari Challenge Season Kicks Off at COTA
Manny Franco and Marc Muzzo shared out the Trofeo Pirelli spoils on the opening weekend of the Ferrari Challenge North America season at Circuit of The Americas.
Franco claimed his first overall Ferrari Challenge race win by dominating the opening Trofeo Pirelli contest of the weekend, beating Muzzo by 10 seconds.
Franco initially looked set to control the second 30-minute race as well, however the tides turned when a caution period bunched the field and reduced the pole-sitter’s early lead.
Muzzo made a terrific getaway at the restart as other drivers ahead of him were slow to get on the throttle.
The Ferrari of Ontario driver shot to the front and stayed there until the checkered flag, followed closely by Jason Rubio and Jason McCarthy who completed the podium.
Frank Chang and Brian Kaminskey were the overall victors in the separate Coppa Shell races, while Todd Johnson and Paul Kielber were the Am class winners.
Am category honors in Trofeo Pirelli went to Todd Coleman and Samantha Tan.
The next Ferrari Challenge North America round takes place at Daytona on April 8-10.
News & Notes
***SRO Motorsports Group held its 2021 end-of-season awards in London on Friday evening. The event included the presentation of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli manufacturers’ trophy to Audi Sport’s head of customer racing, Chris Reinke, while the Intelligent Money British GT Championship and Team WRT were awarded the SRO Sustainability Trophy and Environmental Award respectively.
***Lamborghini Super Trofeo entrant GSM Racing will graduate to GT3 this year with a Silver entry in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup. Isaac Tutumlu and Gerhard Tweraser will drive the team’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
***Mercedes-AMG factory driver Daniel Juncadella will move from the DTM to ADAC GT Masters as one of the lead drivers for ZVO Racing, a new team co-founded by former Zakspeed managing director Philipp Zakowski. Juncadella will team up with Jan Marschalkowski who piloted a Zakspeed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo last season.
***SPS Automotive Performance has outlined its 2022 programs with programs in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and International GT Open confirmed, albeit without drivers. The German squad also intends to enter some Michelin Le Mans Cup races with its Mercedes-AMG stable.
***Two-time and reigning Gulf 12 Hours winner 2 Seas Motorsport will embark on a full season in the Intelligent Money British GT Championship with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo. Historic racing ace James Cottingham and former Strakka Racing regular Lewis Williamson will team up as a Pro-Am duo for the Bahrain-backed outfit, which claimed victory at last year’s Silverstone 500.
***Former IndyCar driver Raphael Matos is entering Pirelli GT4 America this year as one of Fast Track Racing’s drivers for its program with a BMW M4 GT4. Matos, who completed two seasons of IndyCar after winning the 2008 Indy Lights title, will share driving duties with Tim Horrell who uses hand controls to drive after losing the use of his legs in a 2011 road accident.
***In other GT4 America news, Dexter Racing will campaign the new Ginetta G56 with Ben Anderson and Matt Rivard driving.
***FIA World Endurance Championship squad Team Project 1 has joined the DTM Trophy with a pair of BMW M4 GT4s. The lineup involves two BMW M2 Cup graduates: Colin Caresani and Louis Henkefend who finished second in last year’s standings.
***Walkenhorst Motorsport is continuing in the DTM Trophy alongside its main DTM program with the new BMW M4 GT3. The team has confirmed that Theo Oeverhaus will remain on board for a second season after finishing sixth in the standings last year.
***PROsport Racing has committed to the GT4 European Series with a pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT4s. Hugo Sasse and Mike David Ortmann form the Silver Cup driver duo, while Nico Verdonck and Rodrigue Gillon are signed up for Pro-Am. Sasse and Ortmann will also contest the ADAC GT4 Germany season, with Dusseldorf-based Ukrainian Yevgen Sokolovskiy and a fourth unconfirmed driver also due to race for PROsport on the national stage.
***Former Bentley factory driver Seb Morris is set to compete in Porsche Carrera Cup GB after inking a deal with Team Parker Racing. Morris previously drove with Stuart Parker’s outfit when the team had a Bentley entry in GTWC Europe Endurance Cup.
***Wayne Taylor Racing’s Rolex 24 at Daytona-winning Cadillac DPi V-R. was awarded the Best in Show Concours de Sport Trophy at the 27th Amelia Concours d’Elegance. It featured alongside a 1934 Duesenberg J-531 that won the Concours d’Elegance Trophy.
On this weekend: FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue (Sebring)