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.”