Florence, Italy — American amateur driver Larry Ferrari has won the Centennial Amateur Championship, contested recently in Italy with stops at racetracks in Rome, Torino and Florence.
The Ohio native, representing the Great Lakes Amateur Driving Club and the Florida Amateur Driving Club, won the competition with a crafty drive in the last of the three events, where his patience paid off and he squeezed through along the pylons to earn a win after finishing second in his other two drives.
Besides the United States, the competition featured amateur drivers from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands and, of course, Italy.
Sponsored by the aforementioned amateur clubs, Ferrari earned the honor of representing the U.S. by capturing the qualifying round at Pompano Park earlier this year.
The owner of an Internet technology company in the greater Cleveland area, Ferrari trains a small stable of horses at Northfield Park and has 370 lifetime driving wins, including his first on European soil.
While Ferrari won the individual competition, Malta won the World Cup in this centennial event.
In a post race interview from Florence, Ferrari said, “Sometimes, things just work out for you. I had started my final race in the second tier having drawn the eight post.
“I saw the (No.) 3 kind of anxious with his nose on the gate, so I decided to follow him, and that worked out well since I was able to get a spot close up. Then, I was looking for a way to get out but nothing opened up, so I was kind of forced into being patient … and that’s what paid off.
“They say, ‘Patience is a virtue,’ and no truer words were ever spoken during this race as the ‘sea’ opened up late — the track was off with the rain — and I had the horsepower to win it!”
Ferrari continued, “This whole thong wouldn’t have been possible without Dein Spriggs and Steve Oldford, who, first, invited me to Florida for their competition and, then, went to bat for me to make the trip to Italy. And Maurizio Biasuzzi and Daniele Orsini made me feel like their homeland was my homeland. I am forever grateful.”
Ferrari’s wife, Kiesha, was also in Italy to witness the festivities.
“Next stop is back home,” said Ferrari, “where I hope to get my 400th lifetime win very soon!”