Ferrari is one of the most iconic and celebrated automotive brands in Italy today and is renowned the world over. The company was founded in 1929 by Enzo Ferrari as the 'Scuderia Ferrari' (literally 'Ferrari Stable') with the sole purpose of manufacturing race cars only to enter the street-legal market somewhat reluctantly in 1947 in order to fund racing pursuits. Enzo Ferrari lived to oversee the release of the iconic F40 in 1988 but sadly passed away later that year. He left behind a company renowned for producing some of the world's finest automobiles with each being a symbol of speed, beauty, luxury and a famous racing history.
The company has been based in Maranello, Emilia-Romagna near Bologna in North Italy since the 1940's and every Ferrari, including its Formula One cars, are designed and produced at that location. Boasting more than 250,000 sq metres and over 3000 staff, the Ferrari factory is a state-of-the-art facility featuring everything from an engine casting plant to the final assembly line.
Ferrari conducts its own aerodynamic testing and research at the aeronautical wind tunnel located at the factory, further evidence of the passion for technological innovation at the heart of the Ferrari core values. It is capable of testing ½ scale models at effective wind speeds of up to 250 kph with over 300 sensors used to control and synchronise the high quality uniform airflow and rolling road while simultaneously monitoring all attitudes, movements and forces on the test subject. Initially built in 1997 for the Formula One department, it is now also used to develop the road going models.
Close to the Maranello factory site is the Fiorano racing circuit where a lot of the design and development of both the road going and Formula One cars takes place. Constructed in 1972, the circuit contains a wide range of different track attributes which allow Ferrari to simulate the corner radii and track conditions of various other Grand Prix circuits from around the world. The track is also equipped with a closed-circuit television system as well as telemetry and an irrigation system which allows the track to be saturated in a matter of minutes.
Since the track is in full view from some of the surrounding roads, it is not uncommon to see 'I Tifosi' (The Supporters) watching testing and development with their famous excitement and passion for their beloved motor racing team.
The Scuderia Ferrari racing team has raced in many racing series since its formation in 1929, however the team's main focus is Formula One racing. It is the oldest, surviving team in F1 and the most successful team in Grand Prix history with an unparalleled 15 drivers' and 16 constructors' championships to date. Drivers such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher have all won championships with the Scuderia.
Other noteworthy racing achievements by the Scuderia include: 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, World Sports car Championship, 12 Hours of Sebring and other prestigious Grand Tourer and road racing titles.
The Ferrari Museum, located a stone's throw from the Ferrari factory, is the ultimate destination for Ferrari lovers and motoring enthusiasts alike. The museum has a permanent section dedicated to the team's Formula One success, a cinema offering unique films as well as a temporary section which showcases past and present Ferrari road and track cars. For more information about opening hours, tours, getting there and pricing visit: www.museo.ferrari.com
One can also experience the thrill and excitement of driving a Ferrari around the streets and hills of Maranello at one of the many Ferrari test driving centres located close to the factory. For more information on pricing, cars and tours visit: www.pushstart.it, www.pitlaneredpassion.com or www.ilovemaranello.com.
Written by Andrew Sestito
© Understanding Italy 2013
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