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The 2017 Ferrari Challenge Kicks Off at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The 2017 Ferrari Challenge Kicks Off at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

The legendary Dale Earnhardt once said that finishing races is important, but racing is more important. During Round 1 of the Ferrari Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, driver James Weiland and the Boardwalk Ferrari crew got back to the important business of racing. They finished their first race since securing the Trofeo Pirelli AM season championship in December, after being moved up to the pro class to begin the 2017 campaign.

“It was great to get back on the track with our team at Laguna Seca,” Weiland said. “We found out just before the race that we had been moved up to the Trofeo Pirelli pro class and knew it would be a very tough test competing against a collection of excellent drivers. But for the first race of the season, we felt like we had a great effort all around and learned a lot throughout the weekend.”

After qualifying 10th in the Trofeo Pirelli class for Sunday’s race, Weiland moved up three spots to earn a 7th place finish. It was not only EMS Race Team’s debut competing in the pro class, but also the first time they were driving their new car, Erin, the ems+ Ferrari 488 Challenge trimmed in purple. The new model that was introduced this season will take time for drivers and teams to learn, but it’s a car that Boardwalk Ferrari Team Partner, Rudy Courtade, has been impressed with thus far.

“We’re really excited that we have a new model being introduced this year,” Courtade said of the new Ferrari 488 Challenge. “The 488 is now an extra 125 horsepower with an extra 100 pounds of torque. Twin-turbo, incredible power, with multiple selections for ABS, traction control and also stability control. So, the car is sophisticated. If you haven’t looked inside the car, it looks like a jet fighter cockpit. I think this car is going to be something to contend with in all different racing series.”

Erin once again features the logos of PETA Cruelty Free and Cornerstone of Hope. This season, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation is also featured just below the windshield. Coach Sam’s mission is to provide educational support to at risk children through a combination of literacy, personal development and health and fitness programs designed to develop the whole child. Since 2009, Coach Sam’s has been successful in reaching hundreds of children and motivating them to believe in themselves, leading to improved academic performance and self-confidence, setting them on the path toward a brighter future.

“This is the first year we’ll be racing to raise awareness for Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation and we’re very excited about that,” Weiland said. “The work they do helping children in Cleveland’s public schools is inspiring. We also continue to be inspired by Cornerstone of Hope and PETA Cruelty Free, and we were honored to represent those missions at Laguna Seca this weekend.”

Round 2 of the Ferrari Challenge will be held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 9-11. For more behind-the-scenes coverage from Mazda Raceway visit EMS Race Team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also visit EMS at and EMS Race Team at

EMS Race Team Opens 2017 Ferrari Challenge Season at Laguna Seca

EMS Race Team Opens 2017 Ferrari Challenge Season at Laguna Seca

EMS Race Team concluded the 2016 Ferrari Challenge by capturing the Trofeo Pirelli AM season championship on the final weekend during the Finali Mondiali at Daytona International Speedway. On May 12-14, driver James Weiland and the Boardwalk Ferrari crew will begin defense of that title at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the rolling hills of Monterey, California. This season, EMS will be racing the Ferrari 488 Challenge which replaces the 458 Challenge EVO. This version of the Ferrari Challenge car introduces a turbocharged 3.9 liter V-8. Unveiled at the Ferrari World Finals in Daytona, the 488 Challenge is the sixth model to participate in the series.

“Our whole team is excited to get back out and compete this season,” Weiland said in anticipation of the race later this month. “Racing the 488 for the first time this year will be fun for us as well. Our car will be trimmed in purple this year, and named Erin in honor of our original car that we first entered the Ferrari Challenge with several years ago. We are also proud to once again feature the charities that mean a lot to us on Erin, in Cornerstone of Hope, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation and PETA Cruelty Free. The updated design for this season features each logo with the Cruelty Free Bunnies adding extra speed from the bumpers.”

The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca racetrack that will host Round 1 of the 2017 Ferrari Challenge was built in 1957. It is 2.238 miles (3.602 km) long and features eleven turns, highlighted by the downhill-plunging “Corkscrew” at Turn 8. The first ever race at Laguna Seca was held on November 9, 1957, and Ferrari driver Pete Lovely finished first. Over the last several decades, Laguna has hosted USRRC, Can-Am, Trans-Am, Formula 5000, IMSA GT, CART, American Le Mans Series, Grand American and Ferrari Challenge events, as well as others. 

“We know we can’t be complacent coming out the gate this season,” Weiland added. “Laguna Seca is a beautiful track, but also challenging. Our competitors will be offering a stiff test like always as well throughout the weekend, and we know that they will make us pay for any mistakes. Our two days of testing with Erin went well, and we feel like she is in a good place. It will be competitive for sure at Laguna, but should be a fun experience and great chance to wave the flags for Cornerstone of Hope, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle and PETA Cruelty Free.”

For behind-the-scenes coverage and a look inside the Boardwalk Ferrari/Ferrari of San Francisco garage at Laguna Seca, follow EMS Race Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.