Englewood Cliffs, NJ – In a field of 38 international GT drivers and 12 manufacturers, it was the Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia that rose to the top in the first round of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
Six examples of the Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia were in the field, with entries from R. Ferri Motorsports, Scuderia Corsa, Risi Competizione and NGT Motorsport.
At the wheel of the no. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, Ferrari driver Olivier Beretta, from Monte Carlo, Monaco, executed a late-race pass on the leading Porsche to secure Ferrari’s first victory of the PWC season. Starting from the third position, Beretta ran in second position throughout most of the 23 lap race before making a pass on the front straightaway as the white flag flew.
Behind him, Ricardo Perez, the 2014 Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli champion, drove to seventh position in the no. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia and second in the GT-A category for amateur drivers. Third in GT-A was the no. 07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia of Martin Fuentes.
“I pushed and had a good start,” said Beretta. “I kept pushing and the (leading) Porsche did a very good job. When I realized it was close to the end of the race, I said I ‘have to go, I have to find a way (around)’. I tried to do a qualifying lap. I took many risks, but in the end it paid off. I’m happy for the team, for Ferrari, for Remo (Ferri, team owner), and the guys did a very good job. The preparation and the set up was great from the engineer and the team. We have a good group and we just need to keep going. The season is very long, we have to enjoy the moment, and we have to keep going like this.”
R. Ferri Motorsports, which is run by Ferrari of Ontario/Toronto/Alberta owner Remo Ferri, scored three victories in the 2014 PWC season with the team’s Ferrari.
“We had a pretty good season and learned a lot last year,” said Ferri. “So we took what we learned and tried to make it better. I’m happy that we got the result. It’s a long season and I think there is a lot of work ahead of us. It’s the first race, so there’s a lot to do and a lot to work on. We have a very good car and Olivier did a fantastic job.”
In Sunday’s race, run in a heavy downpour, Beretta finished in eighth position overall and is now third in the GT championship.
At this weekend’s pair of the North American Ferrari Challenge races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Emmanuel Anassis (Ferrari of Quebec) took the overall victory in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races. Mike Zoi (Ferrari of Ft. Lauderdale) won the Trofeo Pirelli AM class and Barry Zekelman (Ferrari of Ontario) won the Coppa Shell class on Sunday. Saturday saw Carlos Conde (Miller Motor Cars) win the Trofeo Pirelli AM class while Joe Courtney (Miller Motor Cars) won the Coppa Shell class.
The PWC races from Circuit of The Americas will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network will be shown on Saturday, March 14 at 11:00 AM.
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About Ferrari North America
Ferrari North America, Inc. is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and is the exclusive North, Central, and South American importer of Ferrari vehicles including the 458 Italia, 458 Spider, 458 Speciale the California and FF Grand Tourers, the F12berlinetta and LaFerrari. The current product line-up comes with the Ferrari complimentary seven-year maintenance program, which covers all factory-scheduled maintenance procedures including labor, related genuine parts and approved lubricants.