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:

http://auto.ferrari.com/en_EN/owners/driving-courses/sport-driving-course/

And more about the Fiorano circuit here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiorano_Circuit

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 http://my.ferrari.com 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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFt7pFcHbv8

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.

clip_image001

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.

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