Fiorano here I come

I am excited to say that I’ll be able to cross a big item off my bucket list in 2016. Actually, I’ll be able to cross a few major items off my bucket this year. Why? Well, I’ve decided to take the opportunity to participate in the Ferrari Corsa Pilot (sports) driving course held at the Fiorano test track at Ferrari in Maranello.

Corsa Pilot is an advanced driver training course available only to Ferrari owners and is conducted on the famous Fiorano test track near the Ferrari factory in Maranello. You can read more about what the Corsa Pilot course is all about here:

And more about the Fiorano circuit here:

The best thing is that you get to drive the latest Ferrari cars during the course! This means I’ll get the opportunity to be behind the wheel of a 488 and F12 most likely. Woo Hoo! Another check on the bucket list item count.

The course is run over 2 full days and includes plenty of theory and practical driving skills. It is limited to a total of 28 participants who are broken up into a number of smaller groups for the duration. Ferrari also offers more advanced courses but you need to complete the Corsa Pilot (sports) driving course first before you can move onto the more advanced courses.

So once I had committed to go, the first challenge was booking the course, which can only be done via the web site. The courses for 2016 only become available at the beginning of the year so I had to wait patiently until the web site was updated. Once the courses had appeared on the Ferrari website I logged in with my Ferrari site details to and then tried to book the site but I couldn’t. Issue was that my login was recognised as being an owner. My records told me that I had taken care of that when I first bought the car but for whatever reason I’d needed to do it again.

I therefore shot off an email to the very helpful people at Ferrari owners customer service with my car’s details. I was then informed that I needed to provide proof of purchase before they could proceed. I then forwarded through the appropriate invoice and they shortly confirmed that my profile had been updated to be an owner. A very painless process really.

Now, I could go into the web site and finally book the course. It ain’t cheap, and the Australian dollar is also pretty poor which didn’t help the costs either. Always a bit nerve racking transacting a large foreign sum via a credit card but I had warned my bank that the transaction was coming so they would let it through. What I wasn’t prepared for was the overseas credit card fee on the transaction of AU$425.83 (ouch), which I only found out about when the transaction appeared on my credit card statement. Something to be aware of if you do book a high priced international item like this using a credit card. Mental note to self, if I do get tempted to buy a new car direct from the factory direct funds transfer probably has lower fees!

I now had my confirmation and course booking from Ferrari, the next challenge would be actually getting to Modena on the appropriate dates. So my next challenge was to organise my flights.

Northern Italy is such a beautiful place and there is so much to see and do I wanted to ensure that I made the most of my time over there. Thus, while the Corsa Pilota is only two days I’ve decided to stay in Modena for around 5 days. I plan to arrive on the Monday and depart on the Saturday, with the course being the Thursday and Friday.

So what else am I going to do while I’m in Modena? Silly question. I plan to visit:

  • Ferrari Factory (tours only available to owners)
  • Ferrari museum
  • Enzo Ferrari Museum
  • Lamborghini
  • Pagani

A few more items on the bucket list right there.

I also plan to take in the history of Modena but the main items while I’m in town are petrol fueled.

So how does one start preparing for driving at Fiorana? The first place I started was YouTube and this video:

But I knew I needed more ‘hands-on’ experience and what better could I get (for now anyway) than my Xbox 360? So I fired up my driving games and began getting serious about lap times. Then I wondered whether there was an Xbox 365 game that featured the Fiorano track? A bit of searching proved that indeed there just such a game and an aptly one – Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends.


I managed to pick up this second hand pretty cheaply. I’m now busy trying to unlock the Fioranro track to get some practice laps in.

I’ll continue to update the blog with my preparation and then the actual experience of the trip as it happens, so stay tuned. More planning to come.

Weekly Price Guide–28 Feb 2016

F355 models (all models)

Average = $167,510.00

Change = –$2,600


360 (all models)

Average = $140,926.60

Change = –$604.10


F430 (all models)

Average = $236,230.80

Change = $7.119.40


458 Italia

Average = $416,162.50

Change = $16,184.50


458 Spider

Average = $507,682.10

Change = –$24,599.40

Value = (Avg price / cars)

458 Spider = $ 56,409.12

458 Italia = $ 52,020.31

F355 = $ 27,918.33

F430 = $ 12,433.20

360 = $ 7,417.19

Angular speed sensor gone bad

After recently experiencing really bad stuttering with F355 as I had mentioned previously, Sal from Racing Red was good enough to come out and give the car the once over.

Plugging the diagnostic computer into the ECU didn’t reveal any issues with the engine. Also, at start up the car performed without fault. This was not unexpected as the issue only manifests itself when the engine gets hot. Thus, the car was allowed to stand and warm up but again the computer did not highlight any faults, there was are little bit of a ‘burble’ but it seemed clear that the only way the problem that the full extent of the problem returning was going to be taking the car out for a run.

Based on my reported symptoms, Sal believes that issues lie with the angular speed sensors that basically tell the engine management what position the cylinders are in so it can manage the fuel delivery. It is suspected that when the car gets warm one or both (there are two) are faulty. So, the solution is to get two new sensors and replace the existing ones. That will mean a delay of a few weeks while the parts are sourced and then a return trip for the change over.

I offered to take the car to his workshop but there is a good chance the car will start stuttering badly again as it warms up on the trip across down town. There is also a good chance that car would breakdown, which wouldn’t be fun at all. There is also a good chance that the fault could cause additional damage to the engine, which would be even worse. So the decision was to leave the car as is and repair in place when the parts arrive. Makes it a little tough on Sal to work on the car in place rather than in the workshop, but he is willing to do that for me and for that I again can’t say thanks enough.

Not much more that can be done for now so I thanked Sal, told him to order the replacement parts and bade him farewell. I then started doing some research.


The sensors in question are the ones shown above (162916 – Angular Speed Sensor). Item 1 is the Tooth Wheel, item 2 is the sensor for cylinder bank 1-4 and item 3 is the sensor for cylinder bank 5-8. Given the fact that the ‘Slow Down 5-8’ warning light came on last time I’d be putting my money on item 3 being the one that is faulty, however both should be replaced as suggested.


You can just make out item 3 from the above photo I took from the front of my engine when it was out for service a while back.


You can also just make out the tooth wheel and timing teeth in the above shot.


Here’s the exploded view of the tooth wheel that lives in the drive shaft.

Here’s what the sensor does according to the F355 Workshop Manual

This a variable reluctance type sensor which generates an electrical signal to show the movement of the teeth of a 60 teeth – 2 teeth gear wheel fitted to the drive shaft.

The absence of two teeth on the toothed wheel allows the top dead centre of the cylinders to be detected.

The ECU counts the number of pulses corresponding to the teeth on the wheel to establish the next instant when the half frequency signal will be expected, in order to recognise any interference.

The ECU recognises the timing by analysing the two signals and injects fuel with a certain advance with regard to the opening of the inlet valve of cylinder number 1.

Once the system has recognised the TDC (top dead centre) corresponding to the intake stroke of cylinder number 1 the ECU injects fuel into the other cylinders in accordance with the pre-set firing order.

The timing sensor is therefore no longer analysed unless the ECU loses its synchronization after interference etc.

If the ECU loses it synchronization it analyses the timing sensor signal again in order to re-establish the correct fuel injection in order in relation to the intake phases of the various cylinders.

The last paragraph made me stop and think a bit. Basically, it is saying once the ECU is synchronised it doesn’t refer back to the sensor. So, as my car starts and runs fine initially wouldn’t that mean the ECU is synchronised? Wouldn’t that means that the ECU would never have to refer back to the senor once the engine is running, even when hot? This makes the assumption that the ECU maintains synchronisation adequately after an initial reading which is probably incorrect. It may well be the case that once the engine warms up the ECU need to resynchronise with the sensor again, but at temperature the sensor currently provides a faulty reading that causes the ECU to feed the fuel incorrectly into the cylinders.

I’ll have to see if I can find out how often the ECU does need to synchronise with the sensor but this is my guess as to what is happening. Basically, the hotter the engine gets the ‘faultier’ the reading from the angular speed sensor becomes. Thus, when the ECU does need a reading from the sensor to re-synchronise, it gets a faulty reading, feeds fuel into the engine incorrectly and causes it to stutter. This is what the problem really ‘feels’ like from behind the wheel. It certainly ‘feels’ more about fuel than anything else.




So, the above shots show what the angular speed sensor looks like in close up. I’ll be needing two of these which will hopefully fix the problem. The only issue now is I have to wait for the actual parts to come in.

I’m going to try my sources and see what the cost of new sensors are and how quickly they can be delivered. There is of course the option of using second hand parts or equivalent (apparently KIA has ones that work just as well according to this), however Sal’s advice has always been “if you are going to replace something electrical or a senor, then it is best to get new parts” and I agree, so that’s going to be the course of action at this stage.

Stay tuned for further updates on getting the F355 back on the road.

Weekly Price Guide–21 Feb 2016

F355 models (all models)

Average = $170.110.00

Change = $0

360 (all models)

Average = $141,530.70

Change = –$517.20

F430 (all models)

Average = $229,111.40

Change = –$3,005.10

458 Italia

Average = $399,978.00

Change = -$3,238.90

458 Spider

Average = $532,281.50

Change = $28,584.00

Value = (Avg price / cars)

458 Spider = $ 66,535.19

458 Italia = $ 57,139.71

F355 = $ 28,351.67

F430 = $ 14,319.46

360 = $ 7,076.54

A little problem that is now a big problem


Just when you thought this blog was getting boring! Unfortunately, the news isn’t positive so let me share with you what’s transpired.

After the recent annual service, a few months back, I started to notice a slight stutter in the car. It was most noticeable when the car was warm, travelling at low speeds 60 – 80 kms and under load (i.e. climbing). It was kind a like a ‘cough’ and a slight (hiccup) loss of power.

I also noticed the issue at high speed (110kms) and again under load but here it was a very slight loss but no major issue. However, it did happen recurringly.

I took the car out to the Bathurt 12 Hour last week, which is about a 5 hr return drive and back in a single day. The stutter was still there and seemed a little worse but again nothing major.

Today, after refueling I headed down south as part of a Club run to Kiama along the Ocean Road. As we travelled through the Royal National Park I could feel the stuttering was worse. This may have been because of the slow speeds along the twisty road but it certainly seemed worse.

As we emerged from the National Park into the normal coastal road, with its stops and start along with different speed zone there was definitely something wrong. I began to feel that I’d need to abandon the run and return. This was confirmed when I travelled up Bulli Pass were the car really lacked power and was becoming very rough at speed.

As I rounded Mount Bulli and headed down towards Wollongong I decided it was time to head home. I turned off onto the Appin Way to take the Hume Highway back north. Here along the largely flat road at high speed the engine performed smoothly but the cut out was definitely still there as it had been previously. As I did a slow turn onto the Hume Highway, the significant loss of power was still there.

It was still only mid morning but the day was heating up. The car was still spluttering a bit a high speed but nothing major until I was on the M2. Now, the 5-8 Slow Down light started to flash and the engine started to sound really ‘hollow’ and the power was right down.

I pulled over and turned the car off and on to reset it and then continued on. Unfortunately, the issue returned so I pulled over, opened the engine cover and called Sal. He suggested I let it cool and perhaps turn the battery off for five minutes to allow the engine management system to reset.

After five or so minutes, I turned the battery back on and the car fired up and I continued on. Unfortunately, once again the issue continued. I pulled over again, with idea that here would be a good spot for a tilt tray to come and pick me up.

Being only about 15 minutes from home I decided to be brave and continue on in normal suburban traffic. Luckily, the lights were with me and I managed to get with about 10 minutes of home when I hit a bank up. Rather than standing the stationery traffic I turned off and pulled over, once again thinking that this would be the location for the tilt tray to come.

I phoned the tilt tray contact that had been recommended but given in was a Sunday they unsurprisingly didn’t answer. I called Sal again and he offered to try them to see if they would at least respond to him.

Ten or so minutes later Sal called me back and said that he too had had no luck making contact. We discussed options and decided that the best was for me to try and nurse the car home. My main concern was if I parked in the underground carpark where I lived it may not have the power to get out if needed. Sal said that he’d arrange to come out and have a look and see what the issue was. Phew.

Now all I needed to do was get the car home. I fired it up and looped back onto the main road. Luckily, the lights were with me and I didn’t need to sit in traffic for too long for it was really starting to get hot now.

A few minutes later I had the car back in its parking spot in the shade of the underground car park.

So, now I just need to wait to arrange with Sal to come out and see what the issue is. I don’t think it will be too major and maybe something to do with the plugs (which were changed) last service but I won’t know until it gets the once over, which doesn’t have to be immediately now that it is home.

On a side note, I gotta say that I have never been jeered at more that the times I was standing on the side of the road with the engine cover up. I also copped  some verbal abuse as well from a passersby which is sad. You come to expect that when your drive a supercar. You also expect an extra dose if the car has a problem. But I really didn’t expect the volume I received today. Maybe it was because of the hot weather.

Like I said, I expect that sort of attitude but feel sad that it is so prevalent for others to take joy in the misfortune of others. Anyway, main thing is the car is home and is now awaiting an appointment with the ‘doctor’. More news when it comes to hand.

Weekly price guide–14 Feb 2016

F355 models (all models)

Average = $170.110.00

Change = –$187.50

360 (all models)

Average = $142,047.90

Change = –$199.40

F430 (all models)

Average = $232,116.50

Change = –$3293.70

458 Italia

Average = $403216.90

Change = $5,653.40

458 Spider

Average = $503,697.50

Change = –$9,971.50

Value = (Avg price / cars)

458 Spider = $ 83,949.58

458 Italia = $ 44,801.88

F355 = $ 28,351.67

F430 = $ 13,653.91

360 = $ 7,891.55

Weekly price Guide–& Feb 2016

F355 models (all models)

Average = $170.297.50

Change = –$7,500

360 (all models)

Average = $142,247.30

Change = $12.50

F430 (all models)

Average = $235,410.20

Change = $1,825.00

458 Italia

Average = $397,563.50

Change = –$4,157.40

458 Spider

Average = $513,669.00

Change = –$778.20

Value = (Avg price / cars)

458 Spider = $ 57,074.33

458 Italia = $ 39,756.35

F355 = $ 28,382.92

F430 = $ 13,847.66

360 = $ 7,902.63