A Day in Ferrari Land

Posted by on Jun 29, 2011 in General Travel, Italy | No Comments

It took a few seconds to register, but the lightbulb went on. I was reading a hotel review on TripAdvisor or Priceline, and the author had mentioned Maranello in the same sentence as Bologna. “Hey, we’re in Bologna!” I thought, “and that means that… Can that be? I gotta check Google Maps!”

I can’t really tell you where I thought Maranello was located, but I just didn’t think that we were going to end up anywhere near it on this trip. Now I had to come up with a plan!

I did a little more research and found out that you have to own a Ferrari to be allowed on a factory tour, so that was out of the question. The Ferrari Museum, on the other hand, is open to anyone. So I hopped on a train to Modena (home of Ferrari’s headquarters and the Maserati factory) and then transferred to a local cab for the 17 km ride to Maranello.

As we reached the edge of town, the cab driver pointed out Ferrari’s old manufacturing plant and the new installation across the street, including the F1 test track. I couldn’t see much between the trees lining the road, but I could catch a few glimpses of bright red cars here and there.

We pulled into the museum’s parking lot and my cabbie mentioned that it was possible to rent a Ferrari for 10 minutes for as little as 60 euros. Hmmm…

Outside the Museum

Outside the Museum.

The museum turned out to be a little underwhelming, but there were plenty of interesting memorabilia items: Gilles Villeneuve’s 1980 F1 car (pre-deadly accident in 1982), his fireproof suit and his racing helmet, some older model Ferraris from the 1960’s, and a detailed exhibit about the new factory (solar panels on the roof, a cogeneration plant for electricity/heating/cooling, and various other environmentally friendly features that can possibly ease the conscience of someone buying a car that gets 15 miles per gallon):

Gilles Villeneuve's 1980 Race Car

Gilles Villeneuve's 1980 Race Car.

Ferrari 458 Italia

Ferrari 458 Italia.

Villeneuve's Suit and Gloves

Villeneuve's suit and gloves. You can tell that his blood type was A positive, in case you were wondering.

F1 Constructor's Championship Cars

A collections of F1 cars that won the yearly F1 Constructor's Championship.

Once the visit was over, I realized that I had about 1 hour to wait until my cab driver came back. What to do, what to do? Maybe take a 2009 F430 Scuderia for a ride?

What to choose?

My Ferrari "menu". Oh, what to pick, what to pick!?!??

Carbon Fiber Door Panels

The F430 Scuderia is just like a regular F430, except for a few more horses and about 100 fewer kilograms. Weight-saving features abound, like these carbon fiber door panels.

I’d like to tell you that the 508-horsepower engine was screaming just behind my head and that the acceleration was unreal, but why read about stuff like that when you can watch the video? (Re-load the webpage if the YouTube video doesn’t show up immediately.)

Sadly, the test drive ended way too soon. I was able to drive for about 13 minutes, so I got an extra 30% for my money! I didn’t get to pass anyone on the highway, though, because I didn’t want to take my chances with the semi-trailers. And with a 10,000 euro deductible for major accidents, I wasn’t prepared to push my luck…

Me and my Ride

Me and my Ride. I don't know where I came up with this ridiculous pose. Am I trying to push the car home? Sneak up on it? I don't know. But hey, isn't that Gilles Villeneuve over there on the left?

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