They came from 35 countries, bringing some of the world’s most desirable Ferraris with them. They drove them at often extreme speeds to a backdrop of some of the world’s most evocative scenery and paraded them through the centre of historic cities, while spellbound crowds urged the drivers to go faster.
If the settings were spectacular, the cars were easily their match. The Ferrari Cavalcade 2016 set off with no fewer than 13 LaFerraris, a dozen F12tdfs, an Enzo, an F40, an F50 and a fine array of 458, 488 coupés and Spiders. On the last day the very first road-going version of the new GTC4Lusso joined in the fun.
Noted Ferrarista and GT racer Tony De Felice was in attendance at the wheel of his black LaFerrari. It’s his second Cavalcade and his eyes are already on 2017. ‘You meet wonderful people who share the same passion,’ he said. ‘Ferrari take you to destinations, and streets, which you can’t get to as a normal tourist. They really do open doors and give you a view of Italy like you could never experience.’
Chanterria McGilbra from San Francisco bought her first Ferrari, a 458 Spider, just last year after her biotech company went public. She was so smitten she signed up for racing lessons at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track and is aiming to complete levels 3 and 4 soon so she can race in Ferrari Challenge next year.
On the last night, enjoying a Michelin three-star dinner at the Palazzo Ducale, she explained, ‘This is a dream. I don’t want it to end. I could do this for another week I’m sure.’
One of the highlights of day two was a session out on the 2.7km Adria International Raceway. Some drove to the best of their considerable ability, others slightly above it. Much fun was had and no one came seriously unstuck. The following day, out on the open stretches of the Istrana air force base, saw even higher speeds.
The weather was beautiful and mid-summer hot every day. Wild white horses ran alongside the cars on the second day of driving, though Ferrari’s marketing department insisted it was not responsible…
Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne and Company Vice Chairman Piero Ferrari were both in attendance on the Cavalcade’s final night. ‘There are two things that are really important at Ferrari,’ the Chairman told me.
‘One is the customer base that we would have nurtured for 70 years by next year. We have built up this relationship, this very special relationship, with our customers. [The second] is the cars. We continue to push the limits of technology and design in every thing we do.
‘This Cavalcade is the best way to connect because it allows us to take our best clients and give them an opportunity to drive our best cars in environments that would not be otherwise available.
‘Every client I have spoken to has been over the moon on this because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I mean, in environments like this overlooking the canals of Venice… you can’t put a price on it.’
The final classifications for the 2016 Ferrari Cavalcade:
3rd overall: no. 15 Enrico Zobele-Ivana Trentinaglia (Italy) F12tdf
2nd overall: no. 53 Venugopalan Thirunamachandran-Anita Hotwani (UK) F50
1st overall: no. 44 Joseph Chan-Katherine O. Chan Cheng (Hong Kong) Ferrari 612