Welcome to the 2nd part of Ferrari Racing Days in Malaysia! Previously, we got a comprehensive close up look on rare display Ferraris at pit area. In this post, I'll divert your attention to those extreme Ferrari racing cars on track and, finished with the historic largest Ferrari Gathering in Malaysia!
Let's start with my most favourable Ferrari program over the 3-day event, the XX Programme. Only during Ferrari approved track events like Ferrari Racing Days, the owners of 599XX & FXX are permitted to drive their cars. And, it's also the only time for visitors like us, to get to see these awesome machines unleashing full V12 potential.
As mentioned previously, there were six 599XXs - #2, #4, #21, #45, #54 & #60, and two FXX - #47 & #77. Every XXs have different numbers, stripes and body paint which are unique features to its owner.
A Ferrari engineer assisting the owner-test driver to strap in with FXX's 5-point racing harness.
A €1,500,000 racecar that'll surely raise your eyebrows seeing how low the height of FXX Evo. Wait til you hear its roaring V12.
A video on the 599XX and FXX exitting the pit like Superstars. :D
According to Ferrari's timetable, the XX drivers get 40 minutes of free practice time; twice a day. Without much time to waste, I hit the 'track' as well..
... to bring you the moments of these beasts tearing down the 5.543km Sepang Circuit.
Having a media pass at Ferrari Racing Days was quite a convenience. Because, media photographers have access to side of the track and stop at any corners for track photos. Since it was my 2nd time coming to Sepang, I knew how to get around and have few favourable spots for photoshoot myself.
Sightings of disc brakes glowing red hot were clearly visible in broad daylight everytime the cars brakes hard after a long straight. Above picture was snapped just before #77 FXX dives into Turn 7.
My best shot of the day: #2 599XX brakes hard into Turn 9 hairpin. Delicious!
Gotta enjoy how racecars tackle the challenging Turn 9 hairpin which significantly goes uphill. Less powered cars will find difficulty to gain speed when exitting the corner, but not a problem for 740hp 599XX Evo.
Turn 9 is a great photoshoot location because you get to experience the action real close without the need to use high focal length lenses. Even official Ferrari Racing Days cameraman was here to videograph.
After the drivers had enough fun and returned to the pit, the cars were immediately handed over to Ferrari Team to run some routine checks before pushing back into pit garages for cool down period, or exchanging drivers to continue test run (Some cars have shared ownership).
It was interesting to see those experienced Ferrari engineers handling the extreme piece of machinery. They were quick, efficient and even for simple task like checking the tyre pressure, they did not neglect and perform it consistently. A higher level of commitment is expected if working with this top automotive brand.
These 'experimental cars' records real-time driver input data which is then uploaded and analysed by Ferrari engineers and mechanics which will help for further development of the XXs. Therefore, owner-test drivers are the key contributors to Ferrari's limited XX Programme.
Aside from the track activity, Ferrari Racing Days invited members of Special Olympics Malaysia to be part of the event for a day and...
... gave these special kids a rare opportunity to ride 1 lap around Sepang Circuit in the 599XX. The picture above clearly explains what happiness is. :)
The same Ferrari team that handles the XX Programme was also responsible for F1 Clienti program. They had to make sure the drivers are safely buckled up in F1 cockpit, engine start-up procedure executed, before...
... letting the driver off to the wild for a 20 minutes free practice session. We know FXX and 599XX are two very quick Ferrari GT cars, but Formula One car is at a different league. The car is way much faster and takes lesser time to complete a whole full lap.
Formula Ones are so loud that the sound will pierce through your ears if you don't cover them. >o<
Here is a video I took when the F2001, '01 Ferrari F1 championship winner car was leaving the pit. Sorry for the blur and shaky video. @@
At one point of time, while F2001 was out there having fun, F2007 was facing some engine difficulty causing it to be pulled back to the pit. How many person it took to fix an F1 car? One, and only one dedicated F1 mechanic was in charged of bringing the F1 back to life.
And, in a later F1 Clienti session, the happy HK owner of the F2007 was able to take his car out for a spin.
On Sunday 11.30am, Press Conference took place and all media personnel were welcomed to the press room for a little Ferrari Racing Days introduction. Managing Director of Ferrari Far East, Giuseppe Cattaneo (Right) mentioned that due to Ferrari's long history in Malaysia and its mature client base, Ferrari Racing Days 2014 was held here for the first time and they have plans to develop more activites and perhaps, putting this annual event on their calendar. Beside Giuseppe Cattaneo was F1 Test Driver, Marc Gene; and Head of Ferrari Sporting Activity Department, Antonello Coletta.
Straight away after Press Conference, everyone gathered for an Official Photo session. It seemed to be a routine thing as there's similar photoshoot in every Ferrari events organised around the world. I would like to apologise for unintentionally cutting off the CEO of Naza Group, Datuk Wira SM Faisal. Looks like I need a wider lens. :D
One major event which I didn't highlight was the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific 2014 (APAC), a race made for Ferrari's loyal clients focusing on circuits around Asia Pacific region. This year's APAC began first at Sepang Circuit with the familiar two class format: Trofeo Pirelli (Pirelli Trophy) and Coppa Shell (Shell Cup). About 30 drivers of different nationalities battled it out on a 30-minute race using the latest '14 458 Challenge.
Panning shot done correctly. :D
Italian driver Max Blancardi (#9) led the entire race in Trofeo Pirelli class and won both Race 1 and Race 2. For Coppa Shell, Indonesian driver David Tjiptobiantoro (#175) took victory in both races as well. Ferrari Challenge APAC doesn't end here and will continue on at Sydney on April 13th.
You'll never find any place in Malaysia with this breathtaking sight. Imagine the feeling when you see a Ferrari, multiply that feeling a 100 times and that was how exactly I felt when walking around the parking lot.
To make Ferrari Racing Days 2014 Malaysia a memorable one, the finale was ended with the Owners Parade, where everyone who came in their Ferraris would drive a spectacular lap of honour around Sepang Circuit.
Voila! 160 Ferraris of all models and eras were running down the KL straights in an orderly manner. Without any doubt, this was the most expensive sight I've ever seen. We're talking about hundreds of millions of ringgits (RM) in motion! Thank you, Ferrari owners for making this gathering a huge success!
Nevertheless, Malaysia's first Ferrari Racing Days was the most awesome and grand event I've ever attended at Sepang. The rare experience being part of the media personnel for 3 days was absolutely an eye-opener; seeing those ultra rare FXX & 599XX zooming pass me over and over again, it continuously gives me a sense of excitement. Despite the hot weather, I enjoyed myself shooting tons of Ferrari-only pictures either at the pit or at the track side.
For those who has missed the event, no worries because next year this prestigious Ferrari event will be back. Till then, Ferrari Racing Days will continue to travel to Australia, China, Japan and so on.
Thank you guys for reading! I hope you have enjoyed my coverage of Malaysia's Ferrari Racing Days 2014. :D
Check out the more gallery below.