That rule about Ferrari not letting people take their XX cars home isn’t real, which is a relief. Still, Ferrari mandates that owners subject the cars to a Ferrari-approved check up before hitting the track. I thought this to be silly, oppressive and spontaneity-murdering and I said so. But then, Google executive Benjamin Sloss, whose Instagram post originally debunked the XX myth, wrote to me to explain the benefits of the requirements.
We’ve written about Ben before. He’s a prolific car nut who went out of his way to prove his identity and car collection on in an awesome way on a disbelieving forum a few years back. And a few days ago, Ben was at an XX event at Hockenheim in Germany. Here’s a how a track day for him goes down.
To start, a typical XX track schedule is arranged by Ferrari many months ahead of time. It will let XX owners know the dates and the tracks that are available once everything gets nailed down.
As part of the XX program, Ferrari will also provide vehicle setup, maintenance and pre- and post-session inspection. On top of that, it also offers car transport and garaging, though the owners are free to find their own services if they want.
Of course, most owners take them up on that, because it’s really convenient and “reasonably priced.”
For dedicated track cars such as the XX cars, owners might need to pick a set of tires appropriate for whatever track they will be driving on, while also anticipating weather conditions. They’ll also need to set up the suspension for expected aero loads (a faster track means more downforce, which means more suspension compression).
The individual rotor weight for carbon-carbon and carbon-ceramic brakes need to be checked to make sure they won’t wear down below the minimum tolerances during the course of the day.
On the big day, owners arrive at around 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m, unload their cars, sign in, turn in tech sheets and attend an 8 a.m. driver’s meeting where instructors go over the track rules of the day. Point-by passing or open passing? What are the flag rules? How will corner workers signal an infraction? How will people safely enter and exit the track?
Once the track is hot at around 9 a.m., the day gets divided into 20- to 30-minute driving sessions with three to four separate groups of cars sharing the track. In Ben’s run groups (race car, open passing), he could drive for 25 minutes, again at 11:15 a.m., break for lunch, and again at 2:05 p.m and 4 p.m.
After each session, owners pull into the pits and check tire pressures, because those are highly sensitive to variables like track temperature, the air temperature and driving speed. Slicks have about a 1.5 to 2 PSI operating range. Ben notes that:
You also inspect the tires after each driving session to ensure they have not blistered, flat-spotted, or run out of tread and, in the case of street tires, shed a section of tread—I had this happen last time I was at Laguna on the third run session, and the tire would have blown out if I had run the fourth session without noticing it!
Once all that is said and done, the brakes need to be looked at next to make sure the pads have sufficient thickness for the next run session. The engine and transmission are looked over for leaks, because the vibration from track driving at very high RPMs can loosen up bolts. Ben said that he had an engine oil temperature sensor come loose on a street car in May. It started dripping oil at a rate that would have drained the motor in a couple of hours.
Then owners check the telemetry and hang out with the other drivers until it’s their turn again.
At the conclusion of the day, depending on whether the event was for one day or two, owners either pack up their cars or secure them for the night. Gear is gathered up, the workers and organizers are thanked, photos and videos are collected and telemetry data is downloaded. And then it’s time to head home.
The car will then go back to the dealer, technician or support team for a post-track inspection, an oil change, a tire swap and whatever else it might need to prepare it for the next track day.
It looks super boring.
Judging from what Ben has told me, an XX track day is very similar to any professional track day other people can sign up for. Much of the same precautions are taken, because it doesn’t matter if your car is worth millions or a couple of hundred: safety always is the most important rule of the day.