Track events are a staple for performance car manufacturers, and many of them offer racing car services for clients. Aston Martin, Mercedes Benz, BMW, and others host hospitality days and racing for their clients and club members at big circuits regularly, providing another level of service and brand excitement. But Ferrari probably does it bigger and crazier than everyone.
If you’re lucky enough—and by that I mean deep-pocketed enough—to become a Ferrari Corse Clienti customer, you have a wide selection of options like the XX cars and Challenge series racers. In the past decade, well-heeled and preferred Ferrari buyers could be selected for purchasing the 599XX (based on the 599 road car), Enzo-based FXX, and FXXK and FXXK Evo, which are based on the LaFerrari.
I’m not one of them. (At least, not yet!) Lucky for me, I was able to pay a visit to Circuit of The Americas, where the Ferrari Racing Days program was making a stop. They brought all sorts of the goods, with over 100 cars across all classes. Four divisions of the Ferrari Challenge series (which had races throughout the weekend) put in work, two FXXs, seven 599XXs, seven FXXKs, and the debut of three FXXK Evo cars. On the Formula One side, about ten cars from 2000 until 2013 showed up, and made some amazing sounds.
I was also able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Ferrari’s F1 cars from days before they were muted by those terribly muffled turbo hybrid setups.
The program is quite private, and I respected the privacy of the customers and their guests, but was able to get close to the cars and crew, and a few folks filled me in how this all works. Here’s what I learned.
On the topic of buy-in, you’ll be spending a couple million dollars just to get a seat at the table, and the stakes go up quickly. Depending on the car’s experience, who drove it, and how successful it was, the price for entry can vary greatly. It’s one of those “If you have to ask...” situations. Jalopnik has heard it’s around $2 million for the FXX; other estimates say it’s about $3 million. Regardless, this ain’t Spec Miata, kids.
Once approved, Ferrari gives customers special treatment in picking up their car, then takes on on their opening testing and coaching. A special ceremony is held at Ferrari’s private test track at Fiorano, where the client takes their first laps on the same track Scuderia Ferrari shakes down the initial laps of their current single seaters.
Once the customer finishes up their track day use, Ferrari offers to maintain and store their car back at the shop in Maranello.
Because they’re a manufacturer for both engines and cars in F1, Ferrari offers a selection of machines to their clients that no one else can: Retired Formula One cars.
Sure, you can also buy into a Ferrari Challenge team with a proper race car, supported by Ferrari engineers, mechanics, and data, with a full calendar with events at fun tracks in your region or country, but Ferrari also offers their Corse Clienti customers this gigantic upgrade if their skill set and wallet are sufficiently prepared.
Ferrari F1 Clienti participants have to do very little to prepare for the track day itself. Customers simply show up with their helmet and gloves, and Ferrari handles the rest. They even set up tutors from the Scuderia like Marc Gené, Giancarlo Fisichella, and Andrea Bertolini. Between sessions, drivers get to work alongside their engineers and tutor to learn more about their efforts on track, how to improve setup, and where the drivers themselves can get the most out of the car.
Should a client wish to get more time in the cockpit between official track days, they can schedule sessions at various tracks, to work alongside their mechanics, technicians, and tutor to better prepare themselves for the upcoming race events.
Enough logistics. Know that being a part of this program is a good place to be, and enjoy some pics.