Ferrari North America has announced the schedule for the 2007 Ferrari Challenge series. The series gives private gentleman-racers the chance to compete in the longest-running sanctioned racing series behind the wheels of their own specially-prepared F430 Challenge cars at locations around North America, in parallel to series across the ocean.

The series has been running since 1993, when the 348 was the chosen vehicle, replaced two years later by the 355. While the earlier cars were retrofitted, the purpose-built 360 Challenge was introduced in 2000 and is being entirely phased out in the new season after one year of overlap with the 430. This season will bring the Ferrari Challenge series to Homestead, Florida the weekend of March 9-11, Infineon in California April 13-15, Virginia May 18-20, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal to coincide with the Canadian Grand Prix from June 8-10, up at the renovated Circuit Mont Tremblant the following weekend, down to California Speedway August 10-12, then at Laguna Seca the next weekend before the world finals in Italy in late October.

Continues after the jump, where you'll also find the official press release.

[Source: Ferrari North America]


Various events accompany each of the Challenge racing weekends. Each one offers Ferrari Driving Clinics, where owners can have professional drivers show them how to get the most out of their cars on track. Some of the weekends also feature races in the Ferrari Shell Historic Challenge for Ferraris and Maseratis built before 1980 and track events for Ferrari's Corse Clienti for the FXX program and privately-owned retired F1 race cars.

The events are open to the public, so if you're a tifosi and live near any of the tracks the series will visit in 2007, it may just be worth the trip. If you've got the means to enter the series, we're all available for adoption here at Autoblog.

PRESS RELEASE

Ferrari Announces Schedule for 14th Season of Challenge Racing
Ferrari Festival & Racing Atmosphere Open to the Public -Season Highlights 430 Challenge and Historic Vintage Racing, Along with Select FXX/F1 Demonstrations

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Feb. 6 -- Ferrari North America, Inc. will be returning for its 14th racing season in the North American Ferrari Challenge Series, which continues to provide owners and enthusiasts access to world-class racing venues throughout the U.S. and Canada. The Challenge offers Ferrari owners who are not professional racers the opportunity to compete against other Ferrari owners in a highly competitive racing series.

For 2007, the Ferrari Challenge showcases its 479hp F430 Challenge automobile, to be raced by more than 30 owners. Selected events will include the Ferrari Shell Historic Challenge, as well as demonstrations of the FXX (a special limited-series 800hp prototype) and privately owned Formula One vehicles.

"We take great pride in creating exclusive programs that allow Ferrari owners to experience the very same passion and excitement that our racing teams enjoy on a worldwide basis," said Maurizio Parlato, President and CEO of Ferrari North America, Inc. "As a company, Ferrari is synonymous with racing, technology and passion, and every car we build - both for street driving and racing - incorporates the very same technological concepts and design elements that have provided us decades of success in Formula One racing."

2007 SCHEDULE

March 9-11 Homestead-Miami (FL) Speedway F430, F1 and FXX
April 13-15 Infineon Raceway (Sonoma, CA) F430, F1, FXX and Historics
May 18-20 VIRginia International Raceway
(Alton, VA) F430, Historics
June 8-10 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
(Montreal, Quebec)* F430 only
June 15-17 Le Circuit
(Mt. Tremblant, Quebec) F430, Historics
August 10-12 California Speedway
(Fontana, CA) F430, Historics
August 16-17 Laguna Seca (Salinas, CA) Historics only
October 25-28 World Finals, Italy F430, F1, FXX and Historics

*In conjunction with the Canadian Grand Prix

As the longest continuously running sanctioned race series of its type, the Ferrari Challenge is one of the numerous "exclusive" experiences that Ferrari offers its customers -- and whether owners are actually racing in the series, dining in the luxurious VIP hospitality tents, participating in weekend driving clinics, or socializing with those that share their enthusiasm for Ferrari, the weekend festivals provide a unique and incomparable experience.

Throughout Challenge weekends, Ferrari Driving Clinics, taught by professionally trained instructors, are available for owners to explore the capabilities of their own cars in a controlled environment. The clinics provide an overview of basic driving techniques, a discussion of vehicle dynamics, instruction on the proper driving line, and feedback on driver performance. Owners may register for driving clinics at www.ferrarichallenge.com.

All events are open to the public and afford the opportunity for spectators to peruse the paddock areas, photograph rare Ferrari vehicles, and enjoy the Festival setting at each venue. Ferrari owners may purchase VIP hospitality passes at www.ferrarichallenge.com.

The Challenge Series is one of the many assets Ferrari provides exclusively for its owners, and together with experiences such as the annual Ferrari Rally (www.ferrarirally.com), and Ferrari's North American Driving School in Mont Tremblant, Quebec (www.experienceferrari.com), the company continues to provide environments where owners can enjoy their cars in the manner for which they were intended - with top performance and through unique opportunities and venues.

BACKGROUND HISTORY

Ferrari's own racing series was created in 1993, for the then-current Ferrari 348, to allow Ferrari customers a chance to enjoy their cars in a structured, competitive environment, racing against other Ferrari owners on some of the great tracks of North America. The F355 headlined the series beginning in 1995, and in 2000 the 360 Challenge - a special racing version of the road car -- became the featured car. For the 2006 season the F430 Challenge was introduced, racing alongside the 360 Challenge; and in 2007 the F430 Challenge will be the only Ferrari racing in the series.

Sharing the same venue at several of the 430 Challenge events, the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge celebrates the speed, style and Italian thoroughbred racing that forms the essence of Ferrari. This series is limited to authentic, original competition Ferraris and Maseratis built prior to 1980, as well as pre-war Alfa Romeos as raced by the Scuderia Ferrari. The Shell Historic Challenge allows owners of these historic vehicles to compete against each other and showcase the beauty and speed of these rare and vintage cars. Coupled with the Ferrari Challenge Series, both events showcase the best of Ferraris past and present.

The Ferrari Challenge Series is organized by Ferrari North America, Inc., and sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association. Sponsors for 2007 include Pirelli; Shell; Motorola; Sabelt; Officine Panerai, and Piaggio Aero. For complete information on the series, visit www.ferrarichallenge.com.

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 599 GTB Fiorano luxury sports coupe, the F430 Berlinetta, the F430 Spider convertible sports car and the 612 Scaglietti (luxury performance 2+2). In 2007 Ferrari will celebrate the company's 60th anniversary. For more information please visit www.ferrariusa.com.