Dale Earnhardt once said of racing, “It’s a never-ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to be better yourself.” For EMS Race Team, that battle to be better continued at the Melbourne, Australia Ferrari Challenge. Competing in a support race during F1 weekend, driver James Weiland and Erin the ems+ Ferrari 488 Challenge nearly captured two podiums in the Trofeo Pirelli pro class. Weiland finished 2nd overall out of 27 drivers in Race 1 before finishing 4th in Race 2.
Race weekend began by Erin snagging overall pole in qualifying and starting P1 of 27 for Race 1. She went on to handle great in a gnarly rain race from there. The No. 30 car made an audacious pass on the opening lap, but Erin ran well enough to grab a podium finish in the second position. Race 2, however, was a bit of a disappointment. Erin hit some radiator fluid on the track and the resulting contact for the lead left EMS with a car that struggled to turn. Eventually, Erin lost touch with the top three cars but held on to finish fourth.
“Our goal is always to get better as a team and we felt like we did that this weekend,” Weiland said. “We were pleased to finish P2 in the pro class and get up onto the podium in Race 1. You have to give a lot of credit to the Boardwalk Ferrari Team, Conrad Grunewald, Travis Low, Rudy Courtade and Dave Cameron for that effort. And even though we just missed the podium in Race 2, it was still a very enjoyable trip to Australia for us. Being here for the first time, we really liked it and the people are fantastic.”
During the weekend, the extra boost that the PETA Cruelty Free Bunnies provided Erin did not go unnoticed by PETA supporters and fans following along with the race. That attention and social media activity led to PETA publishing an article highlighting the action in Melbourne. An excerpt from that article published at PETA.org is as follows:
“Formula One fans had a cruelty-free surprise this weekend at the Melbourne Ferrari Challenge. James Weiland drove a gorgeous Ferrari emblazoned with the PETA logo and PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies logo, which is used to identify cruelty-free products. This was the first time that the EMS Race Team raced in Australia. The team finished second in the challenge and first in every animal advocate’s heart.”
“It’s always exciting for us to represent Cornerstone of Hope, Coach Sam’s Inner Circle and PETA Cruelty Free when we travel to a new country for the first time,” Weiland added. “But it really felt like the PETA Cruelty Free Bunnies added some extra speed for us this weekend—especially in Race 1. I’m not sure we would’ve gotten up onto the podium without them.”
For more behind-the-scenes coverage of the Ferrari Challenge in Melbourne visit EMS Race Team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Next up for EMS Race Team is a trip to New Zealand to compete at the Ferrari Challenge event on April 12-15.
EMS Race Team will compete in Australia for the first time ever during the Melbourne Ferrari Challenge on March 22-25. After races stateside at Daytona International Speedway in Florida and Circuit of the Americas in Texas, driver James Weiland and Erin the ems+ Ferrari 488 Challenge will be racing the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. The Ferrari Challenge in Australia will serve as a support race to the Formula One Grand Prix which takes place over the same weekend.
The Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit is a street course that loops around Albert Park Lake just south of central Melbourne. In addition to annually hosting the Formula One Grand Prix, the Melbourne track also plays host to the Supercars Championship. The great Ferrari F1 driver Michael Schumacher owns the outright lap record in Melbourne with a mark of 1:24.125 set in 2004. The venue has reported upwards of 300,000 fans in attendance throughout F1 weekend in the past, and a tremendous turnout is expected once again this year.
“We’re excited to experience Australia,” Weiland said. “This is our first trip to Melbourne and we’re looking forward to interacting with the drivers and fans who will be attending the races all weekend long. We’re also looking forward to the challenge of racing the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. Like any new track, it will take us some time to learn. But hopefully we can get a good feel for it early and then work with our team to put forth the best effort possible throughout the trip.”
The experience will also provide an opportunity for Weiland and the Boardwalk Ferrari crew to raise awareness for PETA Cruelty Free, Cornerstone of Hope and Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than three million members and supporters. Products proudly displaying the bunny logo are cruelty-free, meaning that they were produced without testing on animals. Cornerstone of Hope is dedicated to providing support, education, and hope for the grieving. Guided by Christian values of compassion and service, they welcome and serve all seeking support. Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation’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. Each mission is represented on EMS Race Team’s car, Erin, and will be on display throughout F1 weekend in Melbourne.
“F1 weekend is always a great opportunity to spread the word about PETA Cruelty Free, Cornerstone of Hope, and Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation,” Weiland added. “There will be thousands of race fans in attendance and hopefully we can encourage a few of them to search online and learn more about each of those great causes. Maybe we can even help get each one of those foundations up onto the podium while we’re there too.”
For behind the scenes coverage of the 2018 Ferrari Challenge in Australia, follow EMS Race Team on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton once said of his racing career, “There have been some ups and downs, it hasn’t always gone my way. But that’s the way racing is supposed to be.” Following a pair of podium finishes in the Trofeo Pirelli pro class at Daytona International Speedway, EMS Race Team was met with uncontrollable adversity during the Ferrari Challenge at Circuit of the Americas. As a result of receiving contact that led to engine trouble during Race 1, driver Jim Weiland and Paris the ems+ Ferrari 488 Challenge would finish 9th overall. After not being able to repair that engine issue in time for qualifying on Sunday, Weiland would race a T-car for the duration of the weekend. Despite never driving that backup car before, he’d finish Race 2 just off the podium in P4.
“Race 2 went a lot better than Race 1,” Coach Conrad Grunewald said. “Jim’s car from yesterday, Paris, didn’t run so well this morning so we missed the morning warmup. We borrowed Jean-Claude Saada’s backup car, which was very nice of him, and Jim qualified in that. He qualified 6th never driving the car before. We had to make some changes after qualifying and the setup wasn’t perfect. But then the race went great. There was chaos, I lost count of how many cars crashed. But Jim came away with fourth, he was right on the bumper of the guy that finished third. The top three guys were all nose-to-tail with Jim right behind them, so I think a couple more laps he would’ve moved up even further.”
During Race 1, the contact Paris received left her like a wounded duck for the rest of the race. The Boardwalk Ferrari / Ferrari San Francisco team worked tirelessly to correct the engine issue that resulted but Paris simply wasn’t ready to go in time for qualifying on Sunday. The team then shifted their focus to doing everything they could in a short period of time to get the backup car ready to race and did an outstanding job.
“We had Paris basically set up and aesthetically comfortable for Jim to drive,” R3 Motorsports owner Rudy Courtade said of the work his team did to get the backup car ready to race on Sunday. “But since we had this engine issue, we had to switch to a T-car and some of the items we had to change to make it comfortable were the seat, the cool suit, cool blower, and of course the wiring and the radios were a little different so we had to do a little bit of that. Then, more importantly, the setup of the car on his original car is what Jim preferred to drive. So, we had to move the suspension components over to the T-car to get the balance correct so he can optimize his driving and qualifying.”
It was remarkable to watch the team working together to get the T-car ready for qualifying with only about an hour to do so. It was also impressive to consider that Weiland nearly drove that car to a podium finish in the Ferrari Challenge pro class despite never being in it before. But for EMS Race Team, it’s always about competing, putting forth that maximum effort and letting the chips fall where they may from there.
“Paris experiencing engine trouble and then being forced to move into the T-car was certainly not what we hoped for,” Weiland joked. “But that’s part of racing—as much as you might try, you can’t control the uncontrollables. You really have to credit the Boardwalk Ferrari / Ferrari of San Francisco team for not only getting the T-car ready to perform at a high level as quickly as they did, but also for trying to fix Paris’ issues as well. We were certainly proud of all the guys for that, and also proud to have represented three great missions in PETA Cruelty Free, Cornerstone of Hope and Coach Sam’s Inner Circle Foundation throughout the weekend in Texas.”
For more on the Ferrari Challenge at COTA visit EMS Race Team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Next up for EMS Race Team is a trip to Melbourne, Australia to compete at a Ferrari Challenge event that will serve as a support race to F1 weekend.