New Ferrari Challenge UK Series Gets A Flying Start With 20 Cars Already Confirmed
Ferrari Challenge exists for those not only fortunate enough to own a Ferrari, but who in turn want to experience their thoroughbred car on the next level—by taking it racing. The 488 Challenge category already boasts established European, North American and Asia Pacific championships, and this year they are to be joined by a new UK series. This is the first Ferrari Challenge single-country category since the Italian version merged with its European equivalent in 2012.
The European series’ entries last year peaked with 42 cars at its Spa round, and at the start of this year Ferrari Challenge reported high interest in its new BRSCC-supported UK series too. Its expectation was of a 22-car grid as well as that half of the competitors would be “new blood” with no racing experience. And now it appears almost all of the way to its target, as last week 20 clients took delivery of their Ferrari Challenge UK race cars at the new category’s Prologue test event at Brands Hatch, as preparation for the inaugural UK season, which kicks off also at Brands on May 18 and 19. Drivers got two 90-minute on-track sessions on the Indy circuit to familiarize themselves with their new machines.
“We are thrilled that the Prologue event was a success and we are really excited heading into the season,” said Ferrari North Europe regional manager Francesco Balli. “The UK is Ferrari’s second-largest market which is why the importance of a UK series cannot be understated. The UK also has a large amount of Ferrari clients who possess racing licenses, so we are delighted that Ferrari can now offer them such a unique and exciting opportunity.”
The Brands Hatch season-opener starts a four-round UK 2019 itinerary that also takes in Snetterton and Croft and culminates with a Silverstone visit in September. Each round will be a two-day event with either day self-contained with its own Ferrari Challenge UK qualifying and race. The series seeks also to be a “ready to race” category, which provides tires, fuel and other logistics and technical assistance to competitors.
Ferrari Challenge UK also is to hold ‘100% Ferrari’ race meetings this year, with all rounds supported by the Pirelli Ferrari formula classic series run by the Ferrari Owners’ Club as well as including track time for Ferrari road car owners to take their cars onto the circuit. Ferrari Challenge chose the UK for its first single-country series outside of Italy because of the size of the UK’s Ferrari market—nearly 900 Ferraris are sold per year in the UK and it is the second-largest Ferrari market in the world behind the US—as well as the UK’s motorsport culture and circuits.
“It’s actually been relatively easy [to build interest],” Ferrari North Europe’s head of aftersales Sam Osborne has said, “because we have a really really good client base, so we attract some incredible people who have an interest in fast sports cars. They want to take that to the next step, so the ultimate money can’t buy is to go into racing.”
Images courtesy of Ferrari North Europe