Every year, various Ferrari Racing Days take place around the world. At these weekend events, the Ferrari Challenge (split into ‘Coppa Shell’ and ‘Coppa Pirelli’), the XX Clienti and the F1 Clienti meet on a racetrack, while the rest of the paddock is filled with road vehicles by interested customers from near and far. In Germany, a corresponding event last took place in 2016 at the Hockenheimring. It hasn’t been at the Nürburgring for a very long time. During the successful era of Michael Schumacher at Ferrari it looked a bit different. Last weekend, finally the Ferrari Racing Days were back in the Eifel region and tried to wrap it in red – which only partially succeeded.
Directly behind the pit garages Ferrari set up a generously staked parking lot for customer vehicles. Customers arriving without their sports car from Maranello had to park in another car park next to it, while fans and spectators found a lot of car parks outside of the paddock. It was noticeable, that compared to the 1990s and 2000s the proportion of red painted Ferraris declined significantly. Formerly colors like yellow, blue, grey, white or even dark green were referred to as ‘wrong colors’ among Ferrari fans. Now they are much more common than in the Schumacher era. Sadly classic cars were a rare spot in the paddock this year. On Saturday we counted just ten cars from years before 1990. Among those were two Dino 246 GTs, a 512 BB, two Testarossa and a 365 GTC/4.
Also on the side of the rare and limited edition models from Maranello, the number of parked cars was smaller than expected. As a highlight there were a LaFerrari Coupé, a LaFerrari Aperta, three F12tdf and one 599 GTO. Of the relatively new 488 Pista there were a few copies to spot, including one out of the Piloti Edition, which is only available to Ferrari factory drivers. Older supercars such as the 288 GTO, the F40, F50 or Enzo were missing from the paddock, as well as the wide range of famous classic models like the 125 S, 166 MM, 250 GT, 275 GTB or 365 GTB/4. At least, Ferrari showed one copy of the all-new hybrid sports car SF90 Stradale with 1,000 hp in a tent next to the current model range.
Already on Wednesday, July 3, participants of the Passione Ferrari Club Challenge had the opportunity to move their 488 Challenge Evo cars on Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit. Around 50 participants attended, only a handful of them left their cars in the paddock over the weekend. On Thursday evening the pit garages filled with the cars of the two Ferrari Challenge groups ‘Coppa Shell’ and ‘Coppa Pirelli’ as well as with the racing cars of the F1 Clienti and XX Clienti. Unfortunately, there were only four classic Formula 1 cars in Nürburg, possibly because the Festival of Speed was held in Goodwood at the same time. But there were no less than 19 FXX K and FXX K Evoluzione with more than 1,000 hp each. Of the very first XX customer car, the FXX from 2005, there were six copies and the 599XX as well as the further developed 599XX Evo came around in 12 copies.
While the various 488 Challenge Evo cars of Coppa Shell and Coppa Pirelli filled the Eifel air with V8 biturbo sound, the FXX, 599XX and FXX K programme provided a deep goose bumps to all spectators. Their twelve-cylinder engines exhale unfiltered and direct, which swells to a backdrop of noise, probably last heard in and around Nürburg in the good old times of F1 in the 1990s. Speaking of Formula 1, even though only four F1 Clienti cars were present, these also brought back the sounds of a long-forgotten era to the Ring. Which sound best suites their taste could be decided by every spectator themselves. In the best weather a good mood was ensured. Today, some of the XX Clienti will be heading to the world-famous Nürburgring Nordschleife for some laps.
Images: Matthias Kierse