Ferrari 458 Italia tests at Daytona

Ferrari 458 Ferrari
The Ferrari 458 was tested at Daytona. It's shown in this stock photo.

By: David Arnouts on 7/26/2011

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The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series-designed Ferrari 458 Italia premiered for tests at Daytona International Speedway on July 26.

“The big significance for this car is that it was conceived and produced by Ferrari and built specifically for the Rolex Series,” said Mark Raffauf, Grand-Am managing director of competition. “This car comes here straight from Maranello, Italy, right from Ferrari, and it's also significant that this is really a Grand-Am car.”

Ferrari factory engineers spent the morning preparing the car for its run around the 3.56-mile circuit.

Behind the wheel for the first time at Daytona was Ferrari factory driver Jaime Melo and 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner Raphael Matos.

Owned and operated by Ferrari of Fort Lauderdale, the first 458 is hopefully one of two cars for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“This was a two-year project, and to finally be out here on the track at Daytona is really great,” said Ronnie Vogel, team principal. “So far, so good--the test is going great. Now, we're going to continue to dial it in.”

Raffauf said that several teams were looking at running Ferraris in the Rolex Series Championship, one of which includes1998 winner of the Indianapolis 500, Eddie Cheever.

“I know of at least five groups that are seriously entertaining racing a 458--and I might even be one of those,” said Cheever.

The Ferrari 458 will continue its tests at Daytona International Speedway on July 27.

The next Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race will be Aug. 12-13, when teams will tackle the famous Watkins Glen course in New York.


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