Setting the fastest lap on any race track is worth its share of bragging rights, but some are worth more than others. Like the Nürburgring Nordschleife, for example. Or the Top Gear test track. Or, on this side of the pond, Laguna Seca.

The Mazda Raceway near Monterey, California, is one of the most challenging circuits in the world. It's got a double-apex hairpin at the start, an off-camber sweep to the left and of course the dreaded Corkscrew that drops five and a half stories with tight turns at top and bottom. Little wonder, then, that its lap record is a subject of such contention.

The record was set at 1:07.722 by Helio Castroneves in 2000 behind the wheel of a Penske Champ Car. And that remains the fastest official time since the ones that followed were not set during an officially-sanctioned race weekend. But, in 2006, Ricardo Zonta drove the Toyota TF106 there to an unofficial new record of 1:06.039. Sebastian Bourdais took it back for the Champ Car series the following year at 1:05.880. But now Ferrari has taken the unofficial crown at 1:05.786.

The record lap was set during the Ferrari Racing Days event by veteran scuderia test driver and Le Mans winner Marc Gené, behind the wheel of the Ferrari F2003-GA, the car named for the late Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli with which Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello took seven grand prix wins and both titles in the 2003 Formula One World Championship. And now it can go down in history with another accolade to its history. See below for the official announcement.
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Grand finale with the Ferrari Racing Days in Laguna Seca
Unofficial track record for Genè

Maranello, 21 May – This weekend, the Laguna Seca circuit hosted the Ferrari Racing Days, the highlight of which was the Ferrari Challenge North America and track sessions for owners involved in the XX and F1 programmes, with the help of very experienced professional racers like Marc Gene.

During the event, the Spanish driver, at the wheel of the F2003 GA Formula 1 car, set a new track record. As it was set during a free practice session, the record of 1.05.78 is classed as unofficial, beating the time set by Sebastien Bourdais on 10 March 2007 in a Panoz DP01 Champ Car (1.05.88) and Ricardo Zonta's time of 1.06.30, set in a Toyota TF106 F1 car on 20 August 2006.

Sunday saw the final race of this round of the Ferrari Challenge North America, with victory going to Alex Popow, racing for the Fort Lauderdale dealership. He took the flag ahead of Onofrio Triarsi (Ferrari of Central Florida,) in a race which featured an appearance from the Safety Car, that made the outcome far from certain. In the Coppa Shell, Ferrari of Ontario did the double with Robert Herjavac beating team-mate Damon Ockey and Maurizio Scala (Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale.) The fourth round of the Stars and Stripes Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli will take place at the Montreal circuit on 10 June, as part of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix weekend, round 7 of the Championship.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      Sik68
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hope we get onboard footage! Check this one out from Guy Cosmo in the same car: http://youtu.be/5syFPL-KDsM
      Carbon Fibre
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pre 2009 cars were epic.
      Steven
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Bourdais Champcar that previously held the record had extra turbo boost which weren't legal for any Champcar races because they wanted to beat the track record if you are going there....not to mention they had a rubbered in track because of 3 days of practice sessions.
      jvshenderson
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, I'm surprised he was only a tenth faster than the Champ car, especially as those early 2000s F1 cars are supposed to be some of the fastest ever. On the other hand, the car is now a valuable classic so I doubt he was pushing all out...
      Jonathan Arena
      • 2 Years Ago
      Those F1 cars are still the fastest cars ever built... I'm more suprized that the Champ car was even close...
      Myself
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Corkscrew that drops five and a half stories " Now for crying out loud, is it so difficult to use an actual official units and here I don't care whether they'd be imperial or metric.
        clquake
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Myself
        Might be easier to visualize a 5 story building than if they give it in feet.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Redline
      • 2 Years Ago
      What a great car that was, Rory Byrne at his best.
      Eric Charles Wheeler
      I just pulled a 1:05.616 in a Ferrari formula car on this track on gran turismo 5 maybe I should be doing this for a living I drive better in real life then in a game anyway
      USCTrojan4JC
      • 2 Years Ago
      This 2003-spec F1 car was definitely aided by the use of slicks, which weren't used in F1 at the time.
        ksrcm
        • 2 Years Ago
        @USCTrojan4JC
        Could be, I actually wanted to say the opposite - these are not the tires for which the original chassis was designed for. I think it would have carried a penalty, not the advantage. Of course, I see your point, but when you are at those limits I don't know which one it is really.
          Tom Winch
          • 2 Years Ago
          @ksrcm
          Any car will be quicker on slicks. A larger contact patch equals more traction equals faster cornering speeds and braking.
      Hal Jordan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is tha a Go Pro camera on top of it? Awesome. I'm happily surprised that it could withstand this speed / wind. It's awesome that a F1 car took the record. It sucks that it was a Ferrari. I'd like to see lap time for a modern day LeMans P1 car, like the Audi or Peugot.
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