The North American Ferrari Challenge Series celebrated 20 years of racing with a double header at Lime Rock Park earlier this month. Close to 30 race-prepped versions of the Ferrari 458 Italia took to the track in two action packed races.
The day belonged to Onofrio Triarsi, driver of the camouflage wrapped #23 Ferrari of Central Florida, after scoring overall victory in both of the sprint styled, 35-minute timed races. There was also a sweep of the top step on the podium in the lower Copa Shell class as Brent Lawrence, driving the #14 Ferrari of San Diego 458 was able to drive away in both races taking easy victories and running lap times close to the overall leaders.
In the first race, Triarsi led from start to finish. “I started on pole,” Triarsi said “It worked out great. Into turn one it’s most important to get away clean and make sure if you have someone on the outside you give them their space, make it through turn two, three, and four and after that maintain it throughout the race and maintain a gap over the other cars.”
The strategy worked and Triarsi was able to maintain and stretch his early advantage to take what looked like an easy win. But, while Triarsi was pulling way, a battle raged on behind him for the remaining podium spots. Alfredo Caiola, John Farano and Damien Ockey stayed nose to tail through most of the race until, while running in second, with only minutes remaining on the clock, Farano was thrown into a spin when he encountered oil left on the track from a previous racing incident involving other drivers. Caiola inherited second position and held off Ockey to the checkered flag.
“I hit an oil slick just before turn six,” Farano explained. “And it just took me around, I did a little off-roading, but I managed to get it back on track and finish fifth but it was a little disappointing for sure.”
The second race was held later in the afternoon, after a brief downpour passed over Lime Rock Park. At the front it was much of the same. Triarsi was able to build and maintain a wide margin for the lead while a good battle waged behind him by Caiola and Farano. A late race safety car period set up a an 8-minute dash to the end. Caiola and Farano traded places several times over the final laps, but in the end Farano was able to hold off Caiola for a much deserved second place.
For the spectators it was a day filled with sights and sounds of Ferrari. When the amazing 458 Challenge race cars were not screaming around the track, Ferrari owners graced the grounds with their “Prancing Horse’s”. From modern Cavallinos like the new flagship F12 and a 599 GTO to classics like a 1961 Ferrari 250GT California, all eras of Ferrari were very well represented. The Ferrari factory was on hand as well with two crowd pleasing displays. One celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Ferrari Challenge, complete with an example of each of the five models that have raced in the series. The other was a display highlighting the marque’s current lineup of supercars, as well as an F150 Formula One car.
Up next for the North American Ferrari Challenge is a stop at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, Canada, on September 6-8.