2019 Ferrari Racing Days Delight West Coast Fans
Report from Rex McAfee
The Ferrari Racing Days at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca on May 10-12, 2019, gave fans of the Italian marque an unforgettable experience of sights, smells and glorious sounds that no other car manufacture can replicate. While the annual West coast stop is nothing new for the most prestigious single-brand racing series in the world, this year’s event provided more than just being Round 3 of the North American Ferrari Challenge. For the truly privileged of Ferrari enthusiasts, both the XX and F1 Clienti programs were added to this year’s event, giving fans a glimpse at machinery rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic.
Fulfilling its mission to offer both a world class track experience and a conduit for engineering feedback, the “XX Programme” fascinated fans with its new FXX-K Evo; a purpose-built track-only car based on the LaFerrari. Boasting a mid-engine V-12 equipped with two electric motors (Hy-Kers system) and an active aero package, these 1000+ hp machines define Ferrari’s latest generation of track-only super cars that give drivers an experience not offered by any other manufacture. A few of the older front-engine based 599 XX and 599 XX Evo racers added variety to the run group’s shapes and sounds.
But for a select few wanting to taste the world’s finest in track experiences, two former Ferrari F1 team cars from 2004 (Michael Schumacher’s winning car #234, and Rubens Barrichello’s winning car #240) graced the track, producing high pitched wails of an era long gone. Supported by a sea of factory technicians flown in from Italy, some would say the F1 Clienti experience adds 3 to 5 years to your life. Circulating among the F1 winged wonders was a lone F333 SP creating a musical symphony all to its own. With its F1 derived V-12 screaming under the cool blue skies of the Monterey Peninsula, it’s hard to argue that St. Peter hadn’t given fans a peek behind the gates.
Lastly, the Ferrari Challenge once again provided plenty of close racing with the occasional exchange of paint. With a displacement just under 3 litres, the twin turbo-charged V-8 engines propelled the 488 Challenge racers to lap times in the 1:30 range, no small feat at the 2.24-mile circuit that includes a 5.5 story climb to the famous Cork-Screw corner. No stranger to the podium, Cooper MacNeil won Saturday’s premier Trofeo Pirelli Race 1 with a 2.39 second margin over Benjamin Hites, followed by Martin Burrows in third. Burrows came back in Sunday’s Race 2 to earn the 1st place trophy, which was awarded by Matteo Torre, President of Ferrari North America. Joe Rubbo and series veteran Thomas Tippl earned 2nd and 3rd respectively. The next stop for the Ferrari Challenge is during the Canadian F1 Grand Prix on June 7/8/9 at Circuit Gilles Villenueve.
Images from Rex McAfee.