Have I mentioned I went to Europe? Oh right, numerous times, yesterday even, sorry. It was fantastic, beautiful scenery, incredibly nice people (the French aside), much lower homicide rate per-capita, you get the picture. I know I promised more in-depth coverage of the trip, and that starts today with a behind the scenes look at the Ferrari factory and track tour in Maranello, Italy. I say “behind the scenes” because cameras are not allowed on the shuttle-bus tour provided by Ferrari. Well, provided you provide them with EUR 15.00 per person that is. Which I happily provided well ahead of the trip. And I brought my camera. First let’s orient you to where you’ll go.
At the very bottom, on the (extremely hot) pavement is the word “FERRARI” written in white over top of red paint. See that, well that’s the Museo Ferrari and it’s where you leave for the tour. More on that in the next article, it was pretty cool. The shuttle bus, complete with carbon fiber seat backs, departs with a guide at the front telling you about what you are seeing and heads directly for the gate at the Fiorano test track. She was quite informative and certainly added to the experience. She reminded us not to take pictures as we entered the hallowed gates outside the track. OK.
If you refer to your handy guide map above, you’ll see a large building that looks like an airstream trailer to the right of the track. That is one of the motorsports buildings, and home to “Ferrari Logistica”, which likely has lots of super secret Ferrari racing tech. This was the clandestine view from the shuttle as we drove towards the big silver building.
Sorry for the finger, spy work is hard. The track wasn’t being used, and we weren’t allowed to get out of the shuttle during the tour. But I did snag a picture of a very interesting house. It was apparently where Enzo Ferrari spent a great deal of time and is now used to house Ferrari F1 drivers when they are on campus to test. It’s literally in the middle of the track.
Off to the factory area, which on your map is the big industrial complex to the right of the test track. There were dozens of well dressed, very young employees wandering about as we drove through. She explained the production process and how each car is tested for roughly 80 KM around the streets and highways of Maranello. This is very much the case, if you spend any time in the area, you will see plastic covered 458s and other Ferraris blasting around the highways. The noises are spectacular to the say the least.
As you probably saw, each street has some sort of famous name attached to it from Ferrari history. This next bit was a highlight to say the least, have you ever seen a LaFerrari in a car wash? I hadn’t either, and I provide this awful picture of just such an event. LaFerrari in a carwash? LaFerrari in a carwash.
This was one of my favorite parts, some real production meat and potatoes. Here is a non-painted 458 Italia being dragged around by what can only be likened to “Guido” from the cars movies. The tour guide seemed particularly excited that we were able to see such a cool behind-the-scenes look at how these cars are made. Note aforementioned well dressed Italian youths.
We saw the very well designed design studio facility, which looked like a great place to work. There was another random street that literally had half a dozen LaFerraris sitting idle. I couldn’t get a picture without blowing my cover. Here is on that was on my side, just some F-cars parked on the street, waiting for additional testing or to be prepped for delivery. Note red bike.
If you walk due North from the Museo Ferrari down Via Fornace, this building will be on your left. It is under construction in the Google Map images at the top, and again in the magnified version below. As the road in front of it curves to the right, you’ll be in my favorite spot in Maranello, just outside Ferrari’s historic old gates. The Ferrari restaurant is on your left, it will likely be closed, pretty much all Italian restaurants are. Especially when you are really hungry.
Across Via Fornace is the main Ferrari store, go here, there are a lot of cool items to consider. But, as I was saying, find a spot in the shade near the restaurant (highlighted below in red) and just wait for the cars. They will stack up at the stoplight, waiting to go back into the factory area. The local “exotic driving experience” cars zip through here with wide-eyed drivers as well. As I said, the construction is done, just follow the rosso colored sidewalk and enjoy the view.
So that’s it, you may be asking yourself if the tour is worth it? I think it is, and as much as I was disappointed that we couldn’t exit the shuttle bus at any point, or take pictures (oops), it was a great experience. Whether or not you are a hardcore Ferrari fan (I am) you will definitely get something out of the visit. Just don’t go in July, it’s awfully hot. Stay tuned for my full coverage of the Ferrari Museum just down the road. You will see some amazing classic and modern Ferraris up close!