|Michael Schumachers 2003 Championship Car
This year is Ferrari's 50th anniversary of importation & sales in the USA. In memory of that milestone, Ferrari treated eveyone who attended the Monterey Historic Races to the first ever opportunity to see and hear the entire collection of Grand Prix championship cars from the Schumacher era. Also the major developmental grand prix cars back to the early 1960's! This wraps up what has been several months of celebration of America's love affair with Ferrari. As well as Ferrari's love of it's loyal American owners.
Back in early April 2004 From dusk until midnight, the Empire State Building was bathed in red light to celebrate Ferrari’s 50th year in the United States. The honour, accorded the Prancing Horse to celebrate the arrival of the very first Ferrari to New York and the United States in the spring of 1954, coincided with the New York International Auto Show gala evening.
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo had this to say to the Italian news agency ANSA: "There has always been a great feeling between the United States and Ferrari. In 1949, in fact, an American of Italian origin, Luigi Chinetti, was the first man to win the Le Mans 24 hour race in a Prancing Horse car. We have a very strong presence here now.
There are over 20,000 Ferraris on US roads and America’s passion for the marque is growing all the time. We’ll soon be opening a large new showroom on Park Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, too: a further demonstration of how important our cars are to our American clients.
The theme for this year’s New York Show’s gala evening, organised in conjunction with East Side House, a Bronx-based New York charity, was "Gentleman Racing.?The theme was interpreted by Ferrari and Maserati in a very evocative exhibition of some of the most important Prancing Horse and Trident GTs ever built.
The United States is traditionally Ferrari’s largest market in terms of sales. In 2003, its 11th consecutive year of growth, 1,350 Ferraris were delivered to clients, 13% more than in 2002. This goes right against the current trend in a segment which has slumped somewhat in the US. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Ferrari has created a special inscription which will be applied to all the cars destined for the US market throughout 2004.
Chinetti helps open the American Market:
Early on Chinetti helped Ferrari with ideas for particular sport car models that would sell well in his American market; 1953 model 375 America and the 1957 250 Spider California are but two examples. Chinetti was also a “driving” force behind Ferrari competition models;in 1952 four examples of the 340 Mexico were sent to race in the Carrera Panamericana and from 1955 on models such as the 250/750/860 Monza, 335 S, 250 TRs and multiple 250 GTs and 250 GTOs found their way to victory circle at Sebring, Elkhart Lake and many California race venues. Chinetti’s importance to Ferrari did not end with the sale of sought after racing models to wealthy sportsmen. In many cases, Chinetti arranged for up and coming American drivers to be in the seat. Now famous names received early support and prized opportunities to drive the latest from Maranello; Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill and the young Rodriguez brothers are great examples of the talent scout Chinetti in action.
|Looking Schumacher Ferrari era history time line !
A Special Moment for Ferrari Fans in the USA
Several months ago Motorsports Center.com was contacted by Ferrari about covering the arrivial of the F-1 collection for the Historic Automobile Races in Monterey. Needless to say, opportunities of this type seldom ever occur. We were offered the great privilege by Ferrari, we jumped at the invitation.
The Michael Schumacher-Ferrari racing combination has redifined the concept of success of Grand Prix history. So Ferrari has allowed the public the chance to have each flying in full race trim as the focal point of this years historic races. So our friends at Ferrari's Corse Clenti program requested that Motorsports Center create a special gallery experience sharing the emotional thrill this collection generates.
The "F1 Clienti" section operates as a special section within Corse Clienti (Customer Racing), and offers both collectors and driver-owners the prized opportunity to be invited into the innermost circle of Ferrari’s racing history. Yes, you will need an invitation (and references) to join this elite group. But just imagine your first visit to the F1 Clienti section, located on the very grounds where Michael and Ruebens walk by to test every week!
Your first stop inside the dedicated workshop will be for seat fitment and cockpit customizing. Next experienced formula 1 race mechanics and engineers take you through the basic chassis set-up, prior to your shake down and driver training laps on the Fiorano circuit.Your formula 1 machine will be in first rate condition as Ferrari’s racing workshops provide exclusive spare parts replacement, including the farication of any unique parts not readily available for your specific chassis.
The F1 Clienti events are non-competitive, but guarantee to thrill drivers and spectators alike.They are staged at some of F1’s most famous venues, Spa, Nurburgring, Donington and Magny Cours. Your formula 1 Ferrari will be supported by a dedicated team of engineers and race mechanics, to insure your historic race car performs fully up to its potential, granted this level of performance may be well beyond the capabilities of the driver-owner!
So if your interested in the F-1 Clienti program, then consider the cubic dollars required. This program is truly only for those of whom, money is no object!
|Command & Control for the 2003 Champion
Ferrari Exceeding Our Best Expectations:
It's not often you get a request like this! So we hope you apperciate everything you see here. We showed up expecting to get a few mintues with the cars, also expected lots of restrictions about photography. Not so!! When we met, I asked how long would be have with the collection? Also how closely would I be allowed to shoot the cars. Our Ferrari host said " We want you to do what ever want to make exciting pictures!" Also take all the time you need. If you have any questions, any of our technicians or staff will be happy to help."
|Keep on dream'in Bob.....Sorry "no keys"
So they opened up the garages.....the whole row. Wham! There in front of our eyes was every ferrari formula one car of importance I can remember. Seeing all of these Ferrari's at once was truly over a rush. Also I was told that additional cars would be at Pebble Beach on Sunday morning! With a unlimited access and opportunity, we began the process of making sure you got to see everything Ferrari had delivered to Monterey.
Our only technical problem is that there is no lighting inside the garages that meets minimum photographic requirments. So we presuaded our friends to open the doors on both sides of the garages. Now with the help of bouncing our strobes of the interior ceilings, we had just enough light to get the job done.
|Brembo's very best
As we went about trying to grab as many high quality shots as possible into our exclusive shoot. We began to notice the process of preparing each of these stunning race cars for it's first track outing at Mazda International Raceway-Laguna Seca. Well once it was clear that each cars was going for a track test. We started to get chills at thought of the sounds that would be ripping down pit lane. Now normally when you hear a race engine at the track you are several hundered yards away. Even if you near the starting grid it's loud but.......when you standing between 2 ferrari engines inside a garage!! So by the time we finished the interior shots each car had been test started and now it was time to move towards the track.
|Gerhart Berger's car get the dolly treatment
|Berger's best car while at Ferrari
|Dramatic differences between drivers stations with the 03 car
|Two generations of Alesi's era Ferrari's
|Lifting the engine cover
|2 early versions of Schumacher era Ferrari's
Now the moment we have all been waiting. The sound can not be duplicated and even a sound clip would not do justice to the emotional effect having ALL of these Ferrari's had on not just our group, but population on the pit wall. Everywhere you looked you saw nothing but elated ear to ear grins, all while hold their hands over both ears!
My son was so excited he called his friends on his cell phone just to let them hear the sound of Michael Schumachers engines. Remember that every car you see here were all being rolled out at the same time!! It just doesn't get any wilder or better than this. But actually it does. Because every car went out and ripped around Laguna Seca. Several times these Ferrari's ran 3 wide up the front straightaway! Man if you couldn't feel your heart pumping..........you just got to be dead!
|Andrea Bertolini driving the 2003
Ok below you see the Test Driver in the 2003 car, he has just come in to do a small test. He drops the clutch and leaves set of black strips, that drew loud cheers from the pit wall crowd. During the weekend the test driver had no problem pushing the existing track record. Now think what would happen if Michael had not been in Hungary sewing up Ferrari's newest manufactures F-1 World Championship.
|Bertolini getting ready to run some 'Hot Laps"
Since 1982 all Ferrari racing activities have been headquartered in purpose built facilities beside the Fiorano test track. This consolidation of race team management and race car R&D and construction operates as the Gestione Sportiva (GES) Racing Department, under the direction of Jean Todt. The Racing Owners department or “Corse Clienti” also falls under Todt’s leadership. Owners have participated in factory organized series since 1993 when the Challenge Trofeo Pirelli was introduced for the Ferrari 348 Granturismo cars. Recent additions to this series include the Shell Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge, for racing cars built before 1982, and the very unique F1 Clienti events. The Historic Challenge is a truly competitive series, with events staged in Europe and the US. The driver-owners, numbering 180 since 1996, compete in era-specific categories and earn points toward a season championship.
|Grand Prix " Dino".....check the logo
We have another article soon to be released covering the complete race evnets for the weekend. We also take time for our special thanks to our friends at Ferrari. Our gracious hosts at Corse Clienti were, Alessandra Todeschini, Antonello Coletta, Andrea Galletti. Also our very good friend Luca Dal Monte Public Relations Mgr. All of whom helped make our efforts to share this amazing experience with our readers around the world possible.