BLOOD RED ON THE TRACKS
The 458 Italia beats
Porsche to the Grand-Am
GT Manufacturers’ crown,
and Scuderia Corsa’s
Alessandro Balzan wins the
GT Drivers’ title.
The 458 begins to assert its presence
as Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato win
the Grand-Am GT Drivers’ title in a
458 Italia prepared by AIM Autosport.
Spec racing could hardly be more
glamorous than the Ferrari Challenge,
which has now entered its third
decade of existence. The idea of each
of the three series – North America,
Europe and Asia-Pacific – is to allow
racers to prove their mettle in equal
metal (and carbon fiber).
No need for Balance of Performance
equations here! The Ferrari Challenge
utilizes the 458 Challenge, a lighter,
track-only version of a car that in
street trim delivers 562hp. Equally
simple are the season-long targets –
professional racers compete for the
Trofeo Pirelli, while amateurs aim at
the Coppa Shell.
The North American series takes
in Daytona, Sonoma, Laguna Seca,
Montreal, Mont-Tremblant, Road
America, Watkins Glen and Circuit
of The Americas, before joining the
Asia-Pacific and European Ferrari
Challenge hotshots at the Finali
Mondiali in Abu Dhabi in December.
Beyond the $300k to purchase a
Ferrari 458 Challenge, racing in the
Ferrari Challenge North America
series costs around $15-$20k per
race weekend if the car is run by a
dealer team. This includes crew
support, a fee to Ferrari North
America, transportation and living
costs plus additional spares.
Majestic Road America was just one
of the classic venues visited by the
2014 Ferrari Challenge North America.
ULTIMATE SPEC RACER!
Meanwhile, Scuderia Corsa added two
more wins to the 458’s GTD tally, at
Belle Isle and the Indy road course. And
it’s this team that Sweedler and Bell have
joined for the 2015 TUDOR Championship.
“We’re really excited to compete for the
GTD title with Scuderia Corsa,” said Sweedler.
“Giacomo Mattioli’s dedication to building
the best Ferrari racing program and the best
Ferrari dealerships offers the ideal place to
maximize our racing and commercial goals.”
Added Bell: “I’m thrilled to continue
racing a Ferrari 458 Italia. Scuderia Corsa is
a championship-winning team and I look
forward to a lot of success here.”
In the GT Le Mans class, the 458 will
surely remain a race-winner. Balance of
Performance adjustments to try and
equalize cars throughout the season hurt
both the GTLM- and GTD-spec Ferraris –
the price for having an exceptional car...
– but Risi Competizione’s victories at Road
America and VIR proved that the 458 Italia
can still be the class of the field.
Whether under the
banner of Level 5
(LEFT) at Daytona,
or AIM Autosport
(FAR LEFT) for the
rest of the season,
Sweedler and Bell
fought hard in GTD
won the Rolex 24.
(ABOVE LEFT) Risi
two GTLM class wins. S c o t t