Ferrari Factory sunset

Ferrari Factory sunset

In July of 2013 I won a Shell competition to become Canada’s Ultimate Enthusiast. The grand prize was six nights and seven days in Italy for two. The heart of the prize? A two day adventure at Ferrari! To Tour the factory, the Ferrari museum and to drive a Ferrari on the Fiorano track.

Th  first day driving down the Via Abetone Inferiore No 4 gave me goose bumps. So many hours spent on Google and now here I was looking at the historic Ferrari Factory Gate entrance; no longer an image on a screen. Reality is so much better. Our first stop was lunch at Ferrari’s famous restaurant, Il Cavallino, which is across the road from the Factory Gate. Afterwards we toured the factory then in the evening had dinner at the Montana Restaurant, an institution famous in its own right from all the drivers eating there and the enormous amount of authentic Ferrari and F1 driver’s paraphernalia. We walked into Ferrari had a group picture taken in front of the historic gate and I felt like a little kid where everything is wonderful and new and exciting. I was not sure how I would react touring the production floor, however witnessing the first time a new Ferrari 458 engine’s is started was highly emotional. We witnessed the birth, if you will, of a red Ferrari 458 Italia, a red F12 Berlinetta, and a slightly rarer yellow Ferrari 458 Speciale its production beginning only 3 weeks prior. Touring the factory my senses were overloaded. I was blessed by a rare sighting of not one but two LaFerrari supercars out on test rides, exotic car nirvana. Sadly we were not allowed to take any pictures during the factory tour.

Standing in front of the famous Ferrari gate.

Standing in front of the famous Ferrari gate.

F1 memorabilia at the Montana

F1 memorabilia at the Montana

Inside the Montana Ristorante. F1 memorabilia on the walls.

Inside the Montana Ristorante. F1 memorabilia on the walls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the Formula 1 race car building were we lingered a mere 5 minutes but were privileged to see the chassis of the race cars that had just returned from the Japanese GP. I am a huge Formula1 fan. The last building on the tour was the Clienti Program, where in a large room sat row after row of Ferrari Formula 1 thoroughbreds, with famous names like Alonso, Raikkonen, Berger, and Schumacher still adorning the sides of their cockpits.

Ferrari F1 cars at The factory. ( picture not tsken by me).

Ferrari F1 cars at The factory. ( picture not taken by me).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for us the next morning at the Fiorano track were nine gleaming red Ferrari 458s, ours for the day. My first lap behind the wheel was sensational, my biggest memory is of my instructor saying, “Go! Go!”, then seeing the world go by in a blur. The transition from street driver to circuit driver took a few laps, but with the instructors encouragement confidence began to build and I began to push the car faster and faster. I confess to a healthy dose of fear surrounding me at all times as I pushed my driving boundaries. The instructor’s “Flat! Flat! Followed by “Break! Break!” was the theme of the day. The highlight was driving a lap in which our telemetry was recorded so we could compare on a printout various aspects of our driving versus our instructor’s. I got a “Bravo!” from my instructor which I was rather proud of, even prouder when telemetry showed my average speed of155km was faster than my wife’s at 153km, in all I did six runs for a total of 24 laps.

Ferrari 458ms on the skidpad

Ferrari 458ms on the skidpad

In a Ferrari 458 at Fiorano.

In a Ferrari 458 at Fiorano.

On the skidpad.

On the skidpad.

Main straight at Fiorano in a 458

Main straight at Fiorano in a 458

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was a day where I never looked at my speedometer once, where I learned the true meaning of hard breaking and where every lap was a moment in history for me.

Dinner in the Hall of Victories at the Ferrari museum

Dinner in the Hall of Victories at the Ferrari museum

Famous Fiorano pit garage.

Famous Fiorano pit garage.

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Ferrari F1 car and F104 Starfighter

Ferrari F1 car and F104 Starfighter

Enzo Ferrari office.

Enzo Ferrari office.