Ever wondered what supercar heaven looks like? To find out, you need look no further than a Pirelli World Challenge race weekend. There you’ll find cars like the McLaren 12C GT3, Audi R8 LMS Ultra, Lamborghini Gallardo FL1, Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and Porsche 911 GT3R racing hard and thrilling fans. Ferrari also has a significant presence in the series with the 458 Italia GT3, one of the most successful GT3-spec race cars competing worldwide over the last few years.
While Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) isn’t exactly a household name, the series celebrates its 25th season in 2014. Sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America, the PWC has always catered to race cars based on high-performance sports and touring cars. In addition to the top GT class where the Ferraris and Lamborghinis compete, there’s a GTS category for cars like the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang that runs alongside the GT-class machinery. There are then separate races for two Touring classes, which cover cars like the Honda Civic Si, Mazda MX-5 and Mini Cooper.
The 2014 season features 12 race weekends (seven of which are shared with IndyCar) run on a mix of road courses and street circuits, ranging from Road America to Long Beach. GT/GTS races last 50 minutes and Touring races go 40, which gives PWC events a different flavor than the longer races found in the competing Tudor United SportsCar Championship (which, among other things, require pit stops and driver changes). But there are similarities, too, most notably the fierce competition that sees the top GT cars setting lap times within a fraction of a second of each other.
MARANELLO’S CHARGE IN THE PWC is led by R. Ferri Motorsport. (It and fellow Ferrari team DragonSpeed have entered every race this season, while Tudor regulars Scuderia Corsa contested one round.) Based in Ontario, Canada, Remo Ferri and his crew are new to PWC this year, but they’re certainly not new to Ferrari; Ferri has been involved with the marque for decades.
“Every boy in Italy wants to work for Ferrari and my dream came true,” recalls Ferri. “I worked as a technician apprentice in Italy and worked my way up, eventually coming to North America to work for a Ferrari dealership in Canada in the early 1970s.”
In 1976, Ferri started his own establishment, Maranello Motors, which today is Ferrari of Ontario. He also owns Ferrari of Alberta and Ferrari of Toronto, and has been involved with racing Ferraris since the beginning.
“Racing has always been a part of my life,” says Ferri. “My passion really was to become a driver, but I never had a chance to do it. I think you need to be involved with racing if you want to be with Ferrari, because racing is in Ferrari’s DNA.”