Photos by Peter Collins Photographic

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Ferrari Happenings

"Tutte le Ferrari a Imola"
7-8/11/98

The annual end-of-season event organised by Ferrari SpA took place this year at Imola rather than Mugello as previously. The weekend of 7th and 8th November was an unashamed indulgence of all matters to do with the Ferrari marque. The failure of the F1 team to win the World Championship obviously put a little dampener on events but tens of thousands of tifosi flocked to this spectacular circuit to watch myriad events.

In addition to demonstrations of current and historic Ferrari racing cars, there was also some serious motor racing taking place. Over 80 participants of the various F355 Challenge series' throughout the world fought out a tense few heats and a final to decide the overall "World F355 Champion". Led initially by the talented Italian, Costantino Bertuzzi, until his front suspension broke, the race was won by Adriano Baso.

The Shell Ferrari Historical Challenge races featured some fabulous machinery, including three 312PBs, three 512S/Ms and a feast of Group 4 Daytonas, GTOs, many 250 variants, as well as TRCs, Monzas and Dinos.

Jacky Ickx (312PB) won both heats for disc-braked cars after a close tussle with Gary Pearson (512S) in the first race, after which unfortunately the 512 withdrew. The class for drum-braked cars went to Paulo Bozzetto in his well-driven 250TR.

Demonstrations included Luca Badoer in an F300 (complete with mock pit-stop and a blast down the pit lane), the pretty Lilian Bryner in the F333SP which she has campaigned this season, as well as a multitude of Formula 1 Ferraris, including cars raced by the household names of the past - Berger, Lauda, Ickx, Reutemann et al. It was particularly distressing that Carlos Monteverde had a serious accident during one of these demonstrations and was rushed to hospital.

The absence of Michael Schumacher was a great disappointment to all. It was announced that he was delayed in Japan with tyre testing for Bridgestone, but perhaps he had had enough following his faux pas on the Suzuka grid and preferred to stay at home.

It is, above all, the individual memories which remain of such a spectacular event: Luca Badoer howling his way round the circuit, his crowd-pleasing power slides on to the finish straight; the class of Ickx in the 312PB, as superb as when he was racing them in anger; the fabulous yellow 333SP being demonstrated with considerable verve by Lilian Bryner, and the presence of many drivers, now somewhat elderly, from Ferrari's glorious past.

La Passione is alive and thriving.

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