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Ferrari celebrates 20th anniversary of challenge championship

FEATURE BY MAURIZIO QUARTA
01/04/2012

Maurizio Quarta writes:

One week after Fernando Alonso's unexpected win in Sepang, and following the long wave of consequent enthusiasm, Ferrari has headed to Monza to celebrate the 20th edition of the Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trophy, which has become an important reference point in this type of competition.

At a time of recession, the number of participants is really impressive, with more than 40 cars on the grid and a real international melting pot of drivers: beside the traditional array of Italians, there are drivers from Venezuela, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovakia and the UK.

After twenty years, constant innovation keep interest in the series high for both drivers and the fans, who have always rated the racing exciting, with plenty of battles throughout the filed and throughout the races. The four races formula is unchanged, but this year each race is restricted to thirty 30 minutes.

There is no distinction between the Italian and continental championships, which are unified in a single European league: eight events, one more than last year, four of which are run on Italian circuits (still to be assigned is the World Finals event, that Monza fans would like to get back after several years at Mugello and Valencia).

Silverstone will host the first European Ferrari Racing Days event, a unique occasion when fans can see all the main activities of the Client Races Department gathered together, confirming that the Italian marque as a top class car manufacturer which invests remarkable resources in marketing and client management activities and programs.

The new queen on track will be the 458 Challenge, which takes over the heritage of the successful F430.

To make the competition even more lively and to satisfy the different segments of client/ drivers, two new classifications will be introduced: one for the under 25s who will fight for the Young Cup (Coppa Giovani for the Pirelli Trophy drivers only) and one for the over 55s who will race for the Coppa Gentleman. Unchanged is the historical distinction between the Pirelli Trophy and the Shell Cup, which will have separate races in order to keep the 'spectacular factor' as high as possible.

The response from the public at Monza has been impressive, thanks also to the winning combination with the Superstars series, offering almost four hours of highly spectacular races. The first chicane and the Ascari chicane were almost as crowded as for the Grand Prix, the Superbikes and Monza Rally events. In Superstars other than plenty of Ferraris there are two Maseratis, along with two unforgotten 'prancing horse' drivers, Mika Salo and Gianni Morbidelli.

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