Ferrari Factory Tour
Ferrari Factory Tour
After landing in Bologna, we drove to Maranello and stayed at the Hotel Arthur. Dinner was at a place called Ca Bianca in Castelvetro, and the food was excellent. I learned my lesson and did not order coffee with my profiteroles during dessert. I had to try my best to get a good night’s sleep!
Chris arranged for a tour at the Ferrari Factory for us at 9:30 am, and when Bob and I arrived, we found we were the only ones on the tour! Gratziella was our tour guide and started our tour with espressos and pastries! She showed us the parts of the tour we would be covering from the engine machining and assembly building, to the V-8 and V-12 assembly lines. We would also get to see the upholstery department, along with the Client racing program. I asked if there would be time during our two hour tour if we could see the Classiche department, and after a phone call, we had a green light to stop there as well. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take any pictures, but the memories will stay with me forever!
After the tour, we met up with Chris while he finished spec-ing out his LaFerrari. Yes, the name of the car is “The Ferrari” when translated. So owners of these cars will telling the valets in Monte Carlo, “Yes, I have the Ferrari, The Ferrari!” I heard Montelezolmo penned the name, and when the chairman makes a decision, the company follows! Chris has decided to call his car an “LF.” It’s a good choice.
We were invited to lunch by a couple of Ferrari executives at The Montana Restaurant. The food was excellent, and we were surrounded by some pretty cool autographed pictures!
After lunch we went to the Cliente Formula One department to check out another car Chris was buying! Adalberto Cattabriga, the Director of Commercial marketing, showed Chris his 2008 Formula One car that he would be driving. The F1 Cliente program allows Ferrari enthusiasts to buy an actual Formula One car and drive it on race tracks all over the world. The price of admission is upwards of a million dollars with Ferrari support at each venue for about $250K annually. I’m sure the break down of pricing is more specific, but in this arena of play, if you have to ask how much, you probably can’t afford it.
The program consists of driver training along with custom fitting the client to his personal car. The Client program sells old F1 chassis a minimum of two years old because the older cars will shed less light on the advanced technology Ferrari uses to win current races. Regardless of the age, these cars are more than any regular guy can handle. Chris’ 2008 model had no traction control, and considered the perfect car for someone to learn how to drive.
One of the mechanics assigned to the car was more than happy to answer any question and I marveled at all the technology. Forget about seeing the Classiche Department, having the chance to look down the air box of a modern formula one car was a gear head’s dream! There was technology all over this car, and often not appreciated by the casual observer. I tried my best to absorb as much as I could. Temperature sensors measured heat coming off the exhaust near the carbon fiber suspension pieces to insure the heat wouldn’t melt the glue holding the arm to the hiem joint. Titanium tubes fed the hi pressure side of the hydraulics while aluminum tubes fed the scavenge side. The same system fed the power steering and the transmission. The transmission was the the size of a briefcase! I could have looked all day long, but I know I would just be in the way.
We all got a chance to sit in Chris’ car, but there was no graceful way to get in and out of the car! Looking at the controls, and the feeling that you are piloting a missile, I think it’s better Chris is doing this instead of me!
Reminder: If you have a Ferrari related project, car, or idea you’d like to explore, I’d love to talk to you. I can also help if you’re thinking of buying or selling. This website represents what I love to do, and I would be happy to help guide you through the Vintage Ferrari world so if you’d like to do something together, let me know. It all begins with an e-mail!
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