“If you can dream it, you can do it” – Enzo Ferrari
Wise words from an incredible man. For CN&CO and our clients, a dream was realised last week in Italy: a journey made and a culture experienced in the passionate city of Maranello, the home of Ferrari.
With the expert guidance and organisation of Pablo Clark Racing and host, Paul Greber, Kurt Solomon and I from CN&CO accompanied members of the Purple Group (Nilan Morar, Bradley Leather, Tristan Finnemore, Almero Oosthuizen, Martin Harris), their clients (Peter White, Arnold Forman, David Strauss), as well as RISKAFRICA‘s Blake Dyason, together with broker Francois Pretorius, winner of the Maranello 2016 competition run by PCR, Emperor Asset Management and RISKAFRICA.
“From the moment we drove into the town of Maranello we were embraced by the culture of Ferrari – the walls, the shops, the buildings, the people – all decorated with either the black stallion or Ferrari red,” says Kurt.
From 17 to 20 March 2016 we were treated to a unique schedule that opened our eyes, stomachs and minds to a world driven by motorsport passion. Here is a recap of the Maranello, Italy 2016 experience…
We arrived at the Planet Hotel in the heart of the town and opposite the new Scuderria Ferrari building, the headquarters of the legendary F1 team. The uniqueness of the hotel meant that each of us had a different and special view from our hotel rooms –either looking over the Ferrari production factory, racing headquarters or the famous Fiorano race track where the cars are tested.
The afternoon led us to Pit Lane, a store on the main street in Maranello that offers test drive experiences of the latest Ferrari cars, a Ferrari store (with special memorabilia) and a realistic Ferrari F1 simulator. We were welcomed with an espresso, chance to look at the cars and a practice session on the F1 simulator around the famous Monza race track.
This resulted in some friendly competition, with Martin and Kurt immediately setting the fastest pace.
After a walk back to the hotel, the Maranello 2016 tour team was escorted by our driver and local Italian, Mirko, to a small town in the hills of Maranello where a secret treasure awaited. This was the Antica Ristoranta di Ricco, opened exclusively for us!
The evening offered the chance to experience a wide variety of home-made pasta, parmigiano from Emilia Romagna, the famous balsamic aceto (vinegar) from Maranello, Italian ham that kept flowing and the restaurant’s speciality, gnocco fritto (fried dough parcels). In typical Italian fashion, the venue, food and atmosphere allowed us to relax, laugh, get to know each other and share our excitement for the special occasion.
After an early start, the next day kicked off at the Ferrari production factory, a few steps from the hotel, where we were welcomed by two tour guides and handed unique Ferrari headphones, espresso and treats. Unfortunately, due to factory policy, we weren’t allowed to take any photos or videos.
The tour was an experience and reflection of true passion, energy and marvel… it took us on a journey that showed how Ferraris are made, tested and engineered. The factory, a system created through the power of people, immersed us into every aspect of production, including how the cars are assembled on the assembly line; the interior development (including the leather stitching, dashboard dynamics); customisation of each car; process and timing of the factory’s production; and the actual assembly and testing of the cars.
“The sheer magnitude of the thought and effort that go into creating a Ferrari was enough to take our breath away,” says GT Private Broking’s head trader Nilan Morar. “It was incredible to see how innovation, art, precision and effort all merge to create the Ferrari.”
After the factory visit we moved on to the private garages of the Corsa Clienti (Ferrari clients who purchase and keep the cars in Maranello). Here we saw most of the F1 cars produced through the years as well as specially developed Ferrari supercars including the FXXK and Enzo Ferrari.
The final part of the tour led to the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, where we went on a tour that showed off the Ferrari car collections of new and old. A particular highlight was the Constructor’s Trophy Room, which held the trophies, cars and testaments to the famous drivers of the Scuderia Ferrari.
GT Private Broking’s Bradley Leather described the room as “a reflection of true passion, effort and skill – it was spine chilling to embrace what has been achieved, driven and created.”
After the morning tour we made our way to Ristorante Montana, a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Fiorana track in Maranello. Michael Schumacher himself used to visit this restaurant whenever he was in town. The restaurant’s walls are graced with Ferrari and sport memorabilia from around the world. We enjoyed a delicious lunch which included the signature dish, pasta gramigna (with sausage, rosemary and cream) – a delicacy from the region.
The afternoon took us to Modena, where the first stop led to Auto Sport – a workshop that specialises in building classic cars. The appreciation here was to understand the talent and artistry that is used to produce classics such as the Ferrari Dino and 250 GTO. Purple Group’s Tristan Finnemore was in his element, being a massive race enthusiast with an appreciation for the craftsmanship behind Ferrari.
The final stop of the afternoon was to the centre of Modena and the famous museum of Enzo Ferrari. The museum includes his original home and a modern (and beautifully designed) building. The first experience on this tour included a massive oval room containing the Ferraris used in famous Hollywood movies through the ages, including Gone in 60 Seconds, Scent of a Woman, several James Bond films, and many others. Once we were all in the massive room, the lights went out and a huge projector displayed a movie showing the cars in action via clips from the original movies.
The second part of the tour allowed us to visit the home of Enzo Ferrari – the same home that he sold in order to start the iconic business. The museum here opened our eyes to the story behind the logo, the chance to see a replica of the original Ferrari 125 S and a unique Ferrari powered race boat. For many of us this was an emotional and heartfelt experience, understanding the heritage and sacrifice made behind starting, growing and building this iconic business. For Purple Group’s marketing manager, Almero Oosthuizen, to sit and watch the story of the Ferrari logo was particularly insightful and eye-opening.
After a full day of walking, learning and experiencing, the tour team made their way back to Maranello and were treated to an evening of pizza at a restaurant in Maranello. The restaurant presented another Ferrari-inspired treat when we met Ferrari’s famous engineer, Rob Byrne.
The final day in Maranello started with a massive acceleration as we returned bright and early to Pit Lane, where we were divided into three four-man teams. The teams were named after legendary Ferrari drivers: Team Scheckter (Almero, David, Peter and your truly), Team Raikkonen (Nilan, Blake, Francois and Tristan), Team Vettel (Arnold, Bradley, Kurt and Martin). Each team got to experience three activities: laps with the F1 simulator; a tasting experience at the famous Aceto di Balsamico factory; and a rare treat to drive one of four Ferraris through Maranello.
The standout experience was the Ferrari test drive, leaving each and every one of us blown away. The cars provided to drive were the F430 Scuderia, 458, FF and the California T. Peter was in particular awe, having accelerated his way through Maranello in both the Ferrari FF and 458 models.
Once the newly crowned Ferrari drivers finished their morning challenges and drives, lunch awaited at the famous Ristorante Cavallino. The restaurant had everything marked with the black stallion, from the serving dishes, to the table clothes to the balsamic vinegar. We enjoyed more fine Italian dining and were later escorted into the private dining room of Enzo Ferrari which was the place he used to conduct all his private meetings and dining — we relished the chance to sit at his table and take in all the wonder and beauty of the space.
The lunch also offered the chance for Paul to hand out the Pablo Clark challenge awards from the morning’s experiences.
The results were tallied and the winners were:
- F1 Driving Simulator Challenge Award: Team Vettel, with CN&CO’s Kurt Solomon taking the fastest lap
- Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Experience Quiz: Team Scheckter
- Ferrari Driving Experience Award: Team Vettel, with Purple Group’s Nilan Morar walking away with the best ratings from the driving instructors — an achievement Nilan didn’t let anyone forget throughout the tour, at Maranello or on social media. Well done, Nilan!
To conclude the day, a special trip was arranged to the city centre of the historic town of Modena. We spent a few hours doing some shopping, enjoying a drink and later dining at a restaurant to reflect on the trip’s memories, moments, laughs and experience. We left the the restaurant singing the chorus from an Italian song, which impressed the locals no end!
On the day of departure, a few of us woke up early to make our way to the Maranello Town Hall to join the town’s people to watch the first race of the 2016 F1 season. The Town Hall burst into a massive roar, reminding us of a World Cup stadium, as the two Ferraris took an early lead. The lead wasn’t to last though as Mercedes walked away with the win. However, the moment was embraced and no doubt the Ferrari team will be a force this year.
The trip was an overall success, leaving all of us over the moon, albeit a little sad when it came to say goodbye. When the tour team met in the late morning to leave for the airport and say our goodbyes, it was an immense treat to stand there and reflect on this trip — a trip that wasn’t only about Ferrari, but also about culture, food, history and most importantly people — particularly those we have just had the honour of sharing the past few days with.
A big thank you to our partners Paul Gerber, Paolo Cavalieri and the PCR team for arranging and making this trip the magical experience it was and forever and always…
For more pictures from the #Maranello2016 tour visit RISKAFRICA’s Facebook page.