The first-ever Ferrari Racing Days in Malaysia was organised by Ferrari Corse Clienti and Ferrari Far East and held over the weekend of February 21st to 23rd at Sepang International Circuit. The Prancing Horse only event showcased Ferrari's racing DNA and track heritage through series of exciting motorsport programs. As a true Ferrari fan, it was one helluva weekend of Ferraris I can't help but to share with everyone!
Being at the event for all 3 days was never easy. Imagine all the possible locations where interesting incident might took place. There's just too many things to see and learn at Ferrari Racing Days, which was why I split the coverage into two parts. In this way, you'll get to see all the amazing actions on both circuit and pit!
First stop was pit #16 titled 'Showroom' where Ferrari showcased their current lineup models: California, 458 Italia & Spider, F12, FF and the latest 458 Speciale which was launched at Sepang recently (Click here for the official launch).
The more practical 458 for drivers' daily usage in contrast to the meaner and more extreme Speciale.
F12 Berlinetta (Right) is clearly a coupe version of the FF. Even though both Ferraris share the same 6.3L V12 engine, F12 has more power (731hp > 660hp) and faster 0-100 sprint (3.1s > 3.7s). Hmm, I'll have the F12 then. :)
Moving over to following pit hall #18, a special Tailor-made 458 Spider was on display. Ferrari offers customisation service for owners to personalise their rides based on individual taste and requirements. The striking red body paint applied was Rosso Fuoco and enriched with Rosso (Red) leather interior inside.
And, the collection of Prancing Horses just get better as you proceed. Here in Pit #19, four very iconic and limited Ferraris were present for everyone to express their affection for them. The Scuderia Spider 16M at the front (1 of 499), 550 Barchetta (1 of 448), 599GTO (1 of 599) and...
... the very rare Enzo Ferrari hiding behind the 16M. It was Ferrari's ultimate V12 supercar when unveiled to the world in 2002 and only 399 examples were produced. Seeing one upclose without any restriction was quite exhilarating.
When I was still exploring beauty of Italian brand, the circuit was already rumbling with roaring noise of V8 and V12. Ferrari hosted a series of esteemed programs for their loyal clients to experience and one of it was 'Corso Pilota' program.
This is the best time for owners to enjoy fast track driving in the safest way and get professional tips directly from Corso Pilota, trained Ferrari instructors.
One of the happy Ferrari owners in his F12.
After much free lap session around the track, guests (media included) were free to roam around Hospitality Lounge at upper floor for quick regeneration or simply to enjoy comfortable rest before heading for another round of hot and sweaty track session.
Drive an Enzo? No problem, with virtual driving simulator Gran Turismo 5.
Amalgam Fine Model Cars set up a booth displaying interesting arrays of large scaled Ferrari diecasts. Amalgam is a UK based company known for making extremely high quality model cars mainly in 1/12 & 1/8 scale for designers, manufacturers and high-end collectors.
Unfortunately, Ferrari did not bring in the flagship LaFerrari for display but, this 1/8 Amalgam diecast is as close as it gets. It was hand built and the attention to detail on this thing was incredibly real. Got to 'play' with it a bit before realising how much it costs. A whopping RM22,000 (£4075) for this piece of art and limited to only 499 units, like the real car. O_o!
And, it gets more limited and expensive for classic Formula 1 cars. If you watched the movie RUSH, you'll know about Niki Lauda's historic '76 Ferrari 312 T2. The lift off panels revealed its detailed formula 1 cockpit and 3L 500hp flat-12 engine.
Here is Mr Kevin Hung, Amalgam's sales representative, passionately shared his knowledge to a Ferrari enthusiast on Amalgam's quality of work for customers and reasons why they settled at limited quantities.Unlike modern day cars, classic car models did not have modern 3D CAD data for parts fabrication, they had to hand-craft each parts which takes longer time to complete. The past history of the car also determines the exclusivity of the limited diecast.
According to Mr Kevin, large scaled car models do not incorporate real carbon fiber parts but this, 1/1 Ferrari F138 Steering Wheel replica does. Limited to only 250 pieces at RM10,000 (£1850). Amalgam products are surely attractive in every ways and mainly targetted at higher level of auto-collectors.
Back at the pit, Corso Pilota Instructors provided a special Pitwalk Garage Tour for the media member to understand better on the cars, client programs and pit operations.
Our Corso Pilota Instructor was Mr Andrea Fausti who is a professional racing driver, driving instructor and racing driver coach. He had extensive experience on famous race circuits like the Ring, SPA, Ascari, Brands Hatch, and all the way to circuits from Asia region. Friendly and knowledgeable guy, he was and we thanked him for the information he shared to us media.
See his action as a Corso Pilota at Shanghai Circuit, click here!
Ladies & Gentlemen, meet the extremely powerful Ferrari FXX Evoluzione. Enzo's evolved brother built purely for racing. This non street legal machine is part of Ferrari's XX Programme which aims to involve owner-test drivers as part of technical collaboration in Ferrari's research and development program.
Only 30 lucky and passionate clients were selected to own the FXX and their contribution to Ferrari engineers is important to keep the development of this race car. Furthermore, owners who pay a hefty price tag of €1,500,000 don't actually have the permission to drive or keep it, unless permitted by Ferrari on special track days event like Ferrari Racing Days. Sounds unreasonable to many, but it's a security measure to avoid high-tech F1 technology on the FXX being released to rivals.
Enzo's original 6L V12 engine has been bored to 6.3L generating 850hp at 9500rpm and 690Nm at 5750rpm. Ferrari claims the FXX Evo accelerates from 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds and within 40 seconds, it reaches theoretical top speed of 400km/h! Apart from power upgrades, gearbox and aerodynamics have been improved under the Evoluzione package.
There were two FXXs - #47 & #77, participated in this round's XX Programme. This was how a #77 FXX interior looked like. :D
Joining Ferrari's ambitious development program, is no other than 599XX Evoluzione. Similarly like the FXX, owners are only allowed to drive the car with Ferrari's approval. And, its price is 'cheaper' than the more powerful FXX at, €1,300,000 and top up €185,000 for revised Evoluzione model.
With Evo package, its 6L V12 engine now produces 740hp at 9000rpm and 700Nm at 6500rpm. To create more downforce on the 599XX, new aerodynamic upgrades were fitted such as the elongated front splitter, side canards,...
... larger rear diffuser and a huge rear active spoiler. Like F1's DRS system, 599XX Evo's rear spoiler can adjust automatically whether to reduce drag on straights or increase downforce in the corners. Direct technological transfer from Formula One. Excellente.
Not one, but a total of six 599XX owners from different nationalities were here for same purpose - to have some fun with their Ferraris! Those cars were #2 (Croatia), #4 (US), #21 (Russia), #45 (US), #54 (US) and #60 (Greece).
It must have been the best time of the drivers' lives to be behind the wheel of this machine. :)
Pic: #1 F2001 (Left) & #6 F2007 (Right)
When you thought nothing could top the presence of the XXs, two Formula One cars showed up! They were here as part of the exclusive F1 Clienti program. These single-seaters are privately owned and ultra wealthy individuals can fulfill their dream being an F1 driver.
Michael Schumacher's '01 winning F1 car (Left) was a 835hp 3L V10 Ferrari Tipo050 engine, owned by a Japanese. Kimi Räikkönen's '07 F1 car was a lower 735hp 2.4L V8 Ferrari Tipo056 engine, belonged to an owner from Hong Kong. Even though, modern days F1 have lower engine displacement, it has more unique aero structure to help generating downforce for better cornering.
How about the price? :D To answer fellow curious readers here, the F1 prices depend on who had driven the car, the number on it or whether it was a championship winner. Just a rough figure, Kimi Räikkönen's F2007 cost €2,500,000 and on top of that, certain amount of fees incur when the car travels to different international circuits around the world following Ferrari.
However, the best part is, if you're the owner of these machines, all you need to do is turn up at the race track and drive. All car maintenance, engineers, transportation and even racing suits are fully supported professionally by Ferrari team.
The only time when I get to be around F1 cars at such a close distance. Kimi Räikkönen used to be in the seats of this F2007.
Pit #10-#15 had the most awesome view yet. The elite group of stallions, all resting in its stable shows what heaven is made of. :D
And, this ends the 1st part of Ferrari Racing Days 2014 coverage. Hope you've enjoyed the trip around Sepang paddock through my humble lens and yet to be blinded by too many red images, Haha! In the following post, you'll get to see more of these mighty stallions tearing down Sepang Circuit.
Stay tune for more! ^^