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Company Sponsored Track Events

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by 410SA, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    I have just returned from a Mercedes AMG track day in Las Vegas at LV Motor Speedway, and I often wonder why Ferrari does absolutely nothing for their US customers where the true purpose of Ferraris can be realized.

    This particular AMG track day was second level AMG event designed to enhance track skills, with lots of seat time, hot lapping, passing training, different line situations, skid cars etc etc. There were 28 participants and Benz provided all the cars (brand new 2004 AMGs of every type: SL's, CL's, CLK's, SLK's) as well as about 20 instructors, headed up by Tommy Kendall. Mercedes has a travelling road show taking these cars all over the country for their customers to play with.

    About 20 of the participants in Las Vegas were current or past Ferrari owners, including a current Enzo owner. The cost was $1,350 and included lunch, goodie bags, a fleece jacket and other mementos including a framed photo.

    Everyone left with a huge smile and a committment to continue supporting Benz's AMG division. Net result - Great PR, great advertising and 28 enthusiastic ambassadors for AMG.

    Quite a few of the Ferrari owners there asked the same question I did earlier in this thread. Why doesn't Ferrari do anything like this at all?

    I believe that the long term threat to Ferrari is not being outperformed in specifications, but being outperformed in customer service and appreciation. There is simply nothing like being able to drive a magnificent vehicle at the limit (your's or the car's) to really appreciate the engineering and quality that you're buying when you commit to a high buck car. I wish that Ferrari's USA boss, Mr Parlatto could have participated in this event to get a feel for what his type of customer appreciates (and expects!) from a car manufacturer.
     
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  3. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Actually Ferrari is a major sponsor of Cavallino event + they sponsor an event in CT in conjunction w Miller Motors. I am sure FNA will throw some $ at the FCA annual this year also in Monterey
     
  4. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    Sponsorship is a different issue entirely. I'm asking why they don't put on the show themselves. It's relatively easy to throw money at some organization in return for a few banners. Someone else runs the event and there is no factory participation in the actual event.

    I'd love to see Ferrari do the same racing schools they offer in Italy somehwere in the US.
     
  5. Gary(SF)

    Gary(SF) F1 Rookie

    Oct 13, 2003
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    I haven't attended one yet, but Ferrari of San Francisco sponsors/runs two track events every year at Thunderhill for their customers.

    Gary
     
  6. Cavallino Motors

    Cavallino Motors F1 World Champ
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    Because Mercedes is a cheap item compared to a Ferrari!
    To have some Yahoos drive the clutches down would make no business sense. If they charge you $ 10K for the day you would be complaining that its too much, MB does it for less.

    Further there is a program for you to drive. It is in Maranello and is expensive.

    There are plenty of track events that you can test drive your own Ferrari and run down your own car. I recommend everybody to have a driving school done at local FCA or FOC events.

    Let me get my comments straight here. MB is trying to sell you a so called sports car that is nothing but a souped up limousine. AMG means more HP and a sport spring makes a sports car? No, but that is what people are lead to believe. Turn of the ASR and take it on the track. Feel what the car realy does. Its an elephant. Elephant on steroids.

    -stepping of my soapbox-
    Martin

    Oh BTW I did drive AMGs on the German Autobahn, not impressed as you may be able to tell...
     
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  8. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    Martin, did you miss a dose of lithium this morning?

    Seriously 'though. If Ferrari can offer a really good driving school experience in Italy, why can't they do the same thing in the US where 40% of their new production is sold? That's the question. I'm sure Ferrari customers will be happy to pay the US dollar equivalent of whatever Ferrari charges for their Corsa School in Euros.

    It has nothing to do with whether you like AMG's or not.

    I'll make you a small wager that a SL55 will stay with a 360 around any track you care to choose. They are certainly a little more than just souped-up limos.

    I have both and i have tracked both.
     
  9. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    Like I said Ferrari puts on the Lime Rock event themselves but you have to bring your own Ferrari. They might take you for some laps in a new car as a passenger. The food is excellent by the way :)
     
  10. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

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    There is a very simple answer to your question. AMG's while very nice cars are mass produced vehicles. If you want a new AMG CL or SL you just go to the dealer and sign up. You might have to wait a couple of months for the newer models but the bottom line is that the cars are readily available.

    Ferrari on the other hand has people standing in line for 2 or 3 years to get their cars. A few years ago new models were being flipped by owners for 100K profits.

    Mercedes must contend with competition from BMW, Austin Martin, and even Audi to some extent. They aren't really putting these shows on as apprecitation to it's customers but to sell them another AMG or convert them from buying something else like an M series BMW.

    Ferrari has never needed to convince potential customer's to buy there cars. Demand far outstrips supply and Ferrari doesn't spend one penny on any advertising of their cars either here or anywhere else in the world. The individual dealers promote the brand to some extent but you will never see advertising for their cars but rather for the dealership itself and the Ferrari name brand.

    People buy a Merc because it's a well built, well engineered car, and fun to drive. People buy a Ferrari for the same reason but sometimes other factors lead to sales. No one buys a Merc because of Mika Hakkinen winning the F1 title or for AMG or Merc's racing heritiage. The average Merc driver has never heard of Silver Arrows or knows of Kimi Riakkonen.

    But thousands of people buy a Ferrari because of what the name stands for even if that means buying something that is less than perfect. Look at all the sales of Ferrari's in the 80's, whose cars were poorly built, unreliable in some cases, and mega expensive to maintain. And to boot Ferrari was getting their butts handed to them in F1. None of this stopped people from buying Ferrari's in record number of sales.

    Do you think for a moment that Merc would be able to sell it's cars if it's quality and design suddenly dropped below VW. Not a chance.

    Ferrari also has a huge club following in the states (something Merc doesn't have). FOC and FCA provide at least 50+ venues around the country at some of the biggest race tracks around for you to drive your cars.

    Yes, it might be nice to have FNA bring out some cars and let us test drive them but the bottom line is that doing so wouldn't really boost sales as I pointed out above people are standing in line for cars.

    Merc does this to boost sales and build brand loyalty. Ferrari has no need to do this type of marketing.

    Regards,

    Jon P. Kofod
    www.flatoutracing.net
     
  11. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

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    Not a chance that an SL55 will ever stay with a 360 driven by equally competant drivers unless it's a high speed oval. Lime Rock, Watkins Glen, Laguna you name it, the 360 in the hands of a professional will beat a 4000+ pound SL55.

    Regards,

    Jon
     
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  13. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
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    In 2002 FOH/FOD put on 3 such events at TWS, in 2003 1 such event, and in 2004 a challenge race, already there is one DE event with indication of up to 3 more.
     
  14. argtv7

    argtv7 Rookie

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    I'm not trying to spam for another club, but.......

    The Alfa Romeo Owners of So. Cal. offer all that and more for a whopping $200 for a whole weekend. They welcome all marks, and last weekend at Laguna Seca they had a bunch of Ferraris, including Joel Quaid's 360 Challenge. Regulars w/ that Alfa Club include Steve Goldman's 360GT, as well as 360 Challenge cars of Joel Quaid (brings 2 Challenge cars!), Jesse James (of Monster Garage) and Boris Nizam's car. Carl Fung's 348 is a usual suspect, etc. I think they had at least 15 Ferraris out last year. Most of them were Challenge cars.

    AROSC offers time trialing and racing (race cars need roll bars, etc) and you get a ton of track time, as well as awesome instruction.

    I don't know why you would spend $1,350 to go to Las Vegas when you could have been at Laguna Seca for a whole weekend for $200.

    Their instructors include: John Morton (won the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Daytona), Milt Minter (drove at LeMans for NART for many years) Tony Adamowicz (won Daytona for Ferrari, and was a factory driver thru the '70s - ever raced a P4?), Roberto Guerrero, Dick Gulstrand, etc. I hear that Brent Martini is going to be the guest instructor at an upcoming school. Hmmm.

    I'm just offering a cheaper altenative. AROSC holds events at Willow Springs, Las Vegas, Laguna Seca, Buttonwillow, and the Streets of Willow.
    If you want trrack time, check it out :) www.arosc.org
     
  15. argtv7

    argtv7 Rookie

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    #12 argtv7, Apr 9, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  16. zjpj

    zjpj F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
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    Porsche offers the same thing. http://www.porschedriving.com/

    It's supposed to be really good. You aren't allowed to use your own cars - you use theirs. That's one thing Ferrari wouldn't want to be doing. And, perhaps there is some further liability about instructing in the owner's car rather than in the company's?

    I would like to go to one of these, but there's a lot of performance driving schools out there for a lot cheaper.
     
  17. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    I appreciate club sponsored events and in AZ there are excellent BMW, Alfa and Porsche clubs that run great track events with excellent instruction. NASA also has a large slate of events for all comers. I've done all of these over the years.

    I also appreciate the POV that Ferrari really doesn't need to "demo" its cars for prospective buyers as they are sold out for years to come. This too I know from personal experience.

    I just want them to offer a company sponsored driving school event in the US that caters to its US customers in the US.

    The schools they currently offer in Italy sound like a lot of fun and I'm sure they don't need to offer those to entice customers. It's just a fun thing to do with a car that is so wonderful on the track in an owners event setting. No trading paint and aggressive passing , but just lapping, instruction, timing and good food shared with your fellow enthusiasts.

    I think that these are things that should be available as part of the Ferrari ownership experience and if left up to owners clubs solely the events never quite have the cachet of something put on by the manufacturer.
     
  18. F40

    F40 F1 Rookie

    Apr 16, 2003
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    Alex, I'm glad you and Dino had fun! Are you going to PIR tomorrow and did you go last month for the last PCA track day?
     
  19. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    Jon, have you had the pleasure of a ride in an SL55? Especially in track conditions. It's quite a remakable vehicle, with a power to weight ratio of 8.4 lbs per HP. Not too bad versus the Modena's spectacular 7.8 lbs per HP (3065 lbs. 396 HP).

    There really isn't a great deal of difference in these cars around a track at "regular guy" skill levels. I'm sure a professional racer could eke out a little more performance with the better HP ratio, but not the average owner.
     
  20. FLATOUTRACING

    FLATOUTRACING F1 Rookie

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    Alex,

    Two members of the Empire State Region of FCA both took delivery of SL55's. They were some of the first SL55's in the country and while I have only driven one on the street, there is no way that a car weighing nearly 4500 pounds (4339 lbs) can brake or corner like a 3200 pounds car, especially when it has an inferior hp/weight ratio.

    Weight is the enemy of lap times. People don't seem to get this aspect. the difference between the 100 hp Spec Racer I race and my 400 hp Challenge car is only a few seconds per lap at most places despite the fact that the 355 C has 300 more hp.

    In a straight line or on the Autobahn the SL55 would leave a 360 for dead but at the track it wouldn't even be close.

    Yes, possibly the average Joe might not notice much difference between the two at the track but this is a reflection of the driver not the car. I guarantee you I would be at least 3-4 seconds per lap faster in the 360 at most US tracks.

    Not knocking the SL55 but it's not a lightweight sportcar.

    Regards,

    Jon
     
  21. WILLIAM H

    WILLIAM H Three Time F1 World Champ

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    On a drag strip the MB has a chance, otherwise forget about it. I know the editor the the MB club mag the STAR. He took 1 of the 1st SL55 to Lime Rock & DESTROYED the brakes in 1 day. MB was Not happy but he told them that some people will expect to take this car to the track & MB installed sub par brakes for such a heavy car for the track
     
  22. Gary(SF)

    Gary(SF) F1 Rookie

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    Interesting alternative. Minor point, but the entry form shows $325 for a time trial entry, didn't see anything cheaper.

    Gary
     
  23. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    We ran the cars really hard all day and all of the cars I was in had "Hot Brakes" warnings coming up on the dash by the end of the day, but the brakes never faded or gave any indication of trouble. LV Motor Speedway's oval/infield track is a lot of fun and has some extreme braking zones, especially coming off the oval onto the infield. You really need to step on the brakes to make the transition.

    Whatever the comments regarding relative performance, the three cars we ran on the track (SL55, CL55 and CLK55) were all a barrell of fun, and that at the end of the day is really what we cared about.

    Just as an aside, while we were waiting for our run group, we were given rides on the outside part of the oval in a Maybach 57 which circulated quite happily at 120 MPH!
     
  24. argtv7

    argtv7 Rookie

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    Laguna Seca raised their rates this year. My mistake. Most AROSC time trials are still $200. Still, a better deal than $1,350 for Las Vegas. That still leaves you with over a grand to buy your own lunch, fleece jacket and framed picture......

    Or for that matter, it would come pretty close to buying a set of track tires :)

    Yes, NASA, Touring Car Club, AROSC, POC, and even the Viper Club host some pretty good track events on the west coast. All welcome other marques. All offer excellent instruction. I know that the Alfa Club offers several different levels, too. So, if "lapping" is more your cup of tea, (without the aggressive stuff) they have a group for you to run in. They have time trialing, too. Or, if you want to go racing, they have a race group.

    I can see why Ferrari isn't in the "track day" game. It takes SO MUCH logistically to put on an event like that, from hiring ambulances and crash vehicles, turn workers, radios, insurance, instructors, organizing hotel blocks, dinner, lunch, etc, etc, etc. The clubs that are already runnning events like this are well organized, and have years of experience. Laguna Seca costs in the neighborhood of 30K for a weekend (not inc. hotels and food). To do a "once a year" track day might involve recruiting a small army (maybe another 10K). I would love to see the FCA host more track outings on the west coast. I saw plenty of enthusiasm at the Ferrari Challenge event last month at Sears Point. I also saw a few folks that could greatly benefit from some quality instruction/quality seat time.

    Whatever it takes, I just would far rather see Ferraris on race tracks than in garages. The "garage queen" stigma is frequently associated with Ferrari owners, unfortunately.

    So, don't let those helmets gather dust, guys! :)
     
  25. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
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    Hey Brad! Good to see you on this site. And yes guys AROSC runs events at an average 200bucks. AROSC is a blast and has the best safety help trackside. I'm not sure what other HPDE people do but I have been at places with little more than a dork and an ambulance. I was at Laguna just last month with AROSC and they ran a fine event as usual fully equipted with a full paramedic rig from the Salinas F.D.. I think there are too many Ferrari garage queens. They are also the nicest group I track with. The average guy there is all about having fun. I've been to other pretty snobby events. At AROSC there are also a number of Porsche guys who run with AROSC because they don't like the "POrsche People."
     
  26. 410SA

    410SA F1 Veteran

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    Well I guess when you look at it that way we picked up our goodie bags and fleece jackets and left the smoking wrecks behind for someone else to put together (and pay for!).

    I'm pretty sure I could rack up up an additional $1,150 in trouble and expenses if I took my own car!
     

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