Ferrari Portofino Atelier Appointment - Day 1

Finally, I’ve been able to spec my new Ferrari Portofino at Ferrari Maranello.

On the 23rd April my wife and I met Nigel from Graypaul Nottingham Ferrari at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. We had breakfast at Gordon Ramsey before catching the 8:00am flight to Bologna. We arrived at Bologna at 11:00am and took a taxi to Maranello.

Arriving outside the historic Ferrari factory entrance we dropped our luggage off at the Ferrari reception before crossing the road and having a beautiful lunch at the famous Cavallino Restaurant, a favourite of Enzo Ferrari. Whilst having lunch Maurizio Arrivabene the Ferrari F1 team principal came in for a bite to eat.

By 2:00pm we were back at the Ferrari reception area ready for a one on one factory tour. The car manufacturing campus tour comprised of the following:

  • Video Presentation - A short video presentation on Ferrari and its history.
  • Engine Components - Seeing the engine components being finished and fettled after being made at the onsite foundry. The crank shafts are made by an outside company in a basic format before being finished at the Ferrari factory. There was also a display including an F1 car and other special cars including a Ferrari that runs on ethanol fuel and a display of old machinery used to make Ferraris in the past.
  • Engine Assembly – Seeing the engines being built. The V12 engines are hand built by one man. V8 engines are built by both robot and by hand. V8 and V6 engines for Maserati cars are built on separate line. Each Ferrari V8 gets tested for 30 minutes.
  • Car Assembly Line – There are two car assembly production lines. V8 cars are assembled on the ground floor and V12 and some Portofino on the 1st floor. It takes 3 days for a V8 car to go through the 54 production line stations. A trolley follows each car with all the components on. Cars are lifted around the end of each corner of the productions line as they snake down the line. An interesting fact was that the UK gets around 10% of all the Ferraris built each year, around 700 cars.
  • Leather Workshop - Leather is hand checked before being cut-out with a computer controlled cutter and is placed on a trolley which contains all the parts for each car’s leather trim. All the panels are then hand stitched together by skilled artisans.

After the car production tour, we were taken by coach to see the Scuderia Ferrari F1 factory. Due to the highly secretive nature of F1 we were taken to a viewing gallery. Here we could see the following:

  • F1 Car Assembly – As the race team were on their way to Russia preparing the next Grand Prix there was only one SF70H F1 race car being built. Each F1 car is built in their own separate assembly area with the various components laid out on the benches.
  • Component Analysis / Testing – This area is used to test new components that need to meet the microscopic tolerances required for an F1 car. Components that had already been raced were also analysed to ensure that they could be either used again or that they were still within tolerance.

The next visit was to the Corse Clienti facility. There are two programs run by Ferrari and these are the XX Programmes and the F1 Clienti program.

  • XX Programmes – The XX Programmes use very limited edition cars developed exclusively for the track and the cars are driven by special customers that help the development of the Ferraris of the future. Three cars are part of this activity, the FXX of 2005, the 599XX and the FXX K from 2018 equipped with the brand new Evo kit. The cars take part both in events and in various technical test sessions. All three types of car were being stored or worked on at the facility.
  • F1 Clienti - The F1 Clienti programme permits a small group of people to buy F1 cars that are 5 years old or more and use them to the fullest. Owners don’t have to worry about anything except putting on their gloves and helmet, driving and have fun. There were over 50 F1 customer cars being stored and it was fascinating to see the evolution from the analogue cars with basic aerodynamic bodywork and cockpits with manual gearboxes through to the digital age of very complex aero and multi-function steering.
  • Challenge Race Cars – A number of 488 Challenge cars were also being worked on and stored.

The official factory tour finished at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello which had displays of various race and road cars from the very first Ferrari-badged car, the 1947 125S through to the latest Ferrari supercar, the 2013 La Ferrari.

After the museum we walked across to the official Ferrari store for a bit of shopping before collecting our luggage and making our way by taxi to the Hotel Maranello Palace, our accommodation for the night.

In the evening we had dinner at the famous Ristorante Montana. As well as amazing food the restaurant has amassed a fantastic collection of F1 and racing memorabilia and was a favourite of Michael Schumacher and many other Ferrari drivers.

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