Ferrari Challenge Europe gets underway at Monza

This weekend, the Monza circuit hosts the first round of the 20th edition of the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, the long running championship for racing owners of the marque, which has become something of a benchmark for this type of racing. There are significant changes introduced for this year, which sees the 458 Challenge car as the only eligible model, as it takes on the task of being the successor to the F430. This year, the Italian and European series have been combined into one European championship. Monza hosts the first of eight rounds which will visit prestigious tracks such as Imola, Mugello and Vallelunga in Italy and the Hungaroring, Spa and Silverstone, the latter being the scene of the first Ferrari Racing Days of the European season, which provides a unique opportunity to see all the main activities run by the Corse Clienti department take place on the same track. Another interesting change is that the races now last 30 minutes each, while qualifying follows the same format of having two sessions, the first to decide the grid for Race 1 and the second for Race 2. The championship continues the tradition of being split into the Trofeo Pirelli and the Coppa Shell, although this year they will race separately so as to avoid unequal competition, which should provide a unique sporting spectacle. There are two new classifications, one for the under 25s, who, in the Trofeo Pirelli, can race for the Coppa Giovani and then a Coppa Gentleman for drivers over 55.

The action starts on Friday 30 March with free practice and qualifying takes place on Saturday 31 March, with Sunday 1 April given over completely to the races. Over 40 cars will take part in the hands of drivers from various nationalities. There’s a good mix of drivers from Italy and other countries such as Venezuela, the Czech Republic, Hungary and England. The races will be broadcast in over 60 countries and in Italy will benefit from the usual coverage from Sky Sport.