Ferrari Finali Mondiali Excites at Mugello Circuit
Report from on-scene by Keith Bluemel. The Ferrari Challenge series world finals were held at the Mugello circuit in the Tuscan hills between 25 -30 October, bringing together some 100+ 458 and 488 Challenge cars, from the three series, Europe, North America and Asia Pacific, to do battle for the titles in the Coppa Shell and Trofeo Pirelli divisions. The event also featured Corse Clienti activity from F1 cars, F333 SPs (which run with the F1 cars), and the track only FXX, 599 XX and FXXK models. There were also sponsor activities with track demonstration runs on the Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The whole program took place in fine ambient weather conditions, with plenty of autumn sunshine, particularly on the Saturday, the fine weather attracting around 40,000 spectators over the course of the weekend.
Apart from the on-track action, the paddock area was turned into a massive tented village, which apart from housing the garage areas for the Challenge cars, also had a massive Ferrari display building, whilst another housed the Corse Clienti reception area, a Ferrari Store and a Junior Paddock. The latter featured a toddlers play area, together with a Scalextric circuit and a remote controlled car circuit, plus additional features like face painting, so that all age groups were catered for. The third main structure was the dining area for lunch, with a wide variety of delectable food available each day.
Although the weekend clashed with the Mexican Grand Prix, thus meaning that the F1 team weren’t in attendance, there was still plenty of F1 activity with the F1 Clienti contingent, actually playing much more strident music than the current crop of F1 cars. Even if Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen weren’t in attendance, there were a number of other Ferrari works drivers for fans to see, including Giancarlo Fisichella, Andrea Bertolini and Davide Rigon, who did demonstration runs in three F60 F1 cars as part of the finale celebrations on the Sunday afternoon, after the conclusion of the Challenge finals.
One of the most impressive features of the event was the massive array of the company’s F1 heritage on display in the main paddock structure, with row upon row of gleaming red bodywork stretching as far as the eye could see, ranging from a 1967 312 F1 to the current F17-H, definitely Ferrari F1 fans paradise! The building also contained expansive displays of competition GT cars, providing a rounded overview of the company’s competition car output in their 70th anniversary year. This building also saw the world premiere of the latest XX model on the Sunday morning, when the FXX-K Evo was unveiled. If one thought that the FXX-K was wild, then the new model takes wildness to another level, particularly at the rear with a central fin running into a sculpted rear wing, and massive diffusers under the tail accentuating the aerodynamic package. The alterations to the bodywork, intakes, outlets etc, have resulted in a downforce coefficient 23% greater than on the existing model, which equates to a 75% increase on the LaFerrari road car on which it is based. A very limited number of the new model will be produced, whilst existing FXX-Ks can also be upgraded to the new specification.
The Challenge finals resulted in victory in the Coppa Shell for Denmark’s Johnny Laursen in his #360 Formula Racing entered 488, who took the win by a scant 0.294 seconds from Henry Hassid from France in his #347 Charles Pozzi entry. The final podium place went to the fast lady, Fabienne Wohlwend from Liechenstein, in her #301 Octane 126 entered example. In the Trofeo Pirelli final, it was a win for Fabio Leimer from Switzerland in his #8 Octane 126 entered 488, from Octane 126 team mate, the German driver Bjorn Grossmann, in his #1 example, with Sam Smeeth from the UK taking third place in his #92 Stratstone Ferrari entered example, so over the pair of podiums there was a truly international presence.
Images by Keith Bluemel.