The Ferrari Experience
If you’re a car enthusiast you need to plan a trip to Italy. I could give a million reasons why, but the top of the list is pretty simple: the cars. Just outside the ancient city of Bologna rests some of the most high end, well known, and most beautiful supercar manufacturers of them all. Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani, and Maserati. During my time in Italy, I was able to see the factories of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Pagani. Those tours were eye opening. The first of the three happened to be Ferrari.
I may not be the biggest fan of Ferrari, but seeing their factory and museum was one of the coolest moments of my life. We started the day in the museum where we were led by a tour guide through the history of the company. The tour started with a FXX-K that sat atop a pedestal right when you walk in. This thing was bonkers. It legitimately looks like a fighter jet turned into a race car. After gawking at the FXX-K for a few minutes we continued our trek into the museum. We passed many classics, much of which I didn’t even know existed at the time. After walking for about 10 minutes we finally came across some cars that I knew like the back of my hand. In one room they had a 250 GTO, 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo, and a LaFerrari. The whole family. I would be lying if I said my mouth didn’t drop. This was Ferrari heaven. All of Ferrari’s flagship hypercars coming together in one room. It was brilliant. To be able to see not only the legendary 250 GTO, but also the F40 and F50 in the flesh was crazy. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a more legendary showroom in my entire life.
The rest of the museum was awesome, but it really peaked in that one room. After walking for another hour or so, we were finally loaded into a bus for our factory tour. Now, when I say tour, I don’t mean a tour of the production line and stuff, I mean we drove around the facility for 5 minutes, and then were dropped back off at the museum. So what did I see? Well, a few brick buildings, a wind tunnel, and the building where Enzo Ferrari worked. Now doesn’t that sound like fun! If not, then the next part should.
Across the street from the museum there happens to be a car rental place. No, not your typical Hertz, but instead, a company that rents out Ferraris and Lamborghinis to people to race on a track not too far from the museum. As it would turn out, my mom happened to rent a 458 and a California T for her, my dad, and my brother to drive (I was only 15 at the time). Within the next hour we’re now cruising our way down to a track in a gorgeous red 458 with a black roof, and a red California T convertible. We get to the track and the fun begins. My dad, being experienced with super cars, takes the 458 and hits the track with an ex-Ferrari GT3 champion. My mom, not being experienced with supercars, gets in the California with another ex-Ferrari GT3 racer. They do one warm up lap followed by two or three serious laps. It was glorious. Just sitting on the side watching these two beasts lap around the track was incredible fun. Listening to the 458’s glorious V8 power down the straight was good enough for me.
What happened next in this story will possibly be one of the most epic moments of my car life. My dad finished his laps and pulled back into the pit to let the car rest and cooldown. He gives the racecar driver a high five and then proceeds to chat with him. Next thing I know, I’ve got a helmet on my head, I’m being seated in the passenger side of the 458, and there’s a world class race car driver named Fabio sitting behind the wheel. He gives me a look, a nod, and then says something like, “I hope you’re ready”.
The tires screech into action, my head is thrust into the headrest, and all of a sudden we’re flying down the track at 90 miles per hour. A sharp turn approaches. Fabio gets hard on the brakes, we fly through the chicane at 60 miles an hour, get on a slight straight away, and I swear to God I was smiling the whole time. It may have only been 2 laps, but my God can that 458 perform. It was one of the craziest moments of my life. To be able to sit next to an ex-Ferrari GT3 champion and lap a random track in Italy in a beautiful Ferrari, was easily the coolest thing I’ve ever crossed off my bucket list.