July opened the fourth round of the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific at Fuji Speedway, situated in the foothills of Mt. Fuji. Thirty-five drivers from 13 different nationalities saw true competition among the various classes on the 4.563 kilometre circuit with one of the longest straights in motorsport tracks, at 1.475 km in length. This round also saw a record 23 Ferrari 488 Challenge cars taking part in the competition.
The last Filipino contender to the Challenge, one of the only competitive Corse Clienti races and one of the most popular one-make series in the world, was Vicente Floirendo in 2015. Floirendohad a successful season with several podium finishes.
For this year, the crowds at the Fuji Speedway cheered for a second-place podium finish by another Filipino, Angie King.
“Angie King is well known for her passion for cars and racing and she has been a long-time friend,” said Wellington Soong, chair and president of Autostrada Motore, the official distributor of Ferrari in the Philippines. “Having her represent the country this year in one of the most competitive non-professional series in the world is an honor, and her podium finish just solidifies the talent of Filipinos in the world of racing, powered by one of the world’s strongest car brands.”
King clocked in at 32’05.417 for the first race in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category. King, a newcomer to the race, recovered from a spin to hold track position and was just a little over 11 seconds behind first-placer, Tiger Wu from Taiwan. Yanbin Xing from China came in at third place.
“Coming into the series as an amateur with little experience with professional racing, I was very nervous especially since I didn’t know the track or the car,” said King about her first Ferrari Challenge experience.
Most of the race contenders took to track the new Ferrari 488 Challenge, the first model in the 24-year history of the race equipped with a turbo engine. It’s the most powerful car at the Challenge series to date, thanks to 670-hp from the V8 3.9-liter engine derived from the 488 GTB.
“I spun out on the chicane. I lost my position and got confused on where I stood amongst my competitors,” said King. “But that didn’t stop me from trying to catch up. I ended up with second place in my division.”
The Fuji Speedway Race was King’s first race of the season. She will once again carry the Philippine flag for the succeeding races in Sepang in August and Mugello, Italy, in October.
“To say that I was ecstatic is an understatement. I was in shock that I was able to garner a podium finish on my first race, gaining respect from my crew and the other drivers that day,” said King.
The Ferrari Challenge is one of the programs under Ferrari Corse Clienti, a series of trainings and races for Ferrari clients all over the world. This exclusive group comes together to learn how to drive on track and then achieve the dream of competing in races at the highest standards of safety and quality on the most beautiful tracks in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific.