The Ferrari Challenge originated in 1993 out of the motivations from private Ferrari owners, mainly those of the 348 Berlinetta, to become actively involved in racing. The Ferrari Challenge is a GT racing championship with three divisions: the United States, Europe and Italy. Both European championships are further divided into two categories: the Trofeo Pirelli for professional drivers, and the Copa Shell for amateur drivers.
Initially, the Ferrari Challenge Italia was launched. It was followed by the US series in 1994, one year later. Due to its attraction and basic idea, unofficial competitions like the Ferrari Scandinavia Challenge or the Ferrari Challenge UK have also been initiated from the Ferrari Challenge idea. The allow private Ferrari owners to participate in the competition and enjoy racing on official racing tracks.
However, in order to create the same conditions for racing and approved safety, the Ferrari Challenge only features one of Ferrari’s road car models, which are modified in order to fit the purpose for competition racing. In 1993, the 348 Berlinetta was the chosen model. The F355 Berlinetta followed, and was later replaced by the 360 Modena in 2000. The latest introduction, the F430 Challenge, was selected in 2006.
In the Ferrari Challenge, everything is done to put drivers at ease, with rules ensuring that dealers and official preparation companies are the only ones authorised to enter cars. This rule has been in place since the very beginning of the competition and allows for greater transparency in the running of the series which would not be possible with entries from outside organisations. Events are always held at prestigious race circuits as part of a special event also run by Ferrari (Ferrari Racing Days) with the exception of a few that are run alongside top international events such as the A1GP or the FIA GT.
From 2008, a change of driver is no longer allowed, and in the case of crews made up of two drivers, each driver will take part in one race. The classification is based on the total of the two results. New this year is the introduction of a rolling start which complies with new FIA regulations, the introduction of the Team Cup, and the introduction of special “GT” prizes for the winners of the Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trophy and the Ferrari Challenge Shell Cup. Younger drivers have also been catered for, with a reduction to the entrance fee.
All drivers still face a sporting contest that has traditionally operated at a very high standard, with the races proving to be closely contested from start to finish. The Pirelli Trophy features well known drivers who tackle the challenge to raise their profile and that of the organisation that enters them.