The privileged few who live cosseted in their own sumptuous little world? That’s not fair.
More accurately, those who can afford to buy and race Ferraris have their own universe in which to play and indulge, judging by the astonishing scale of the company’s end of season Finali Mondiali extravaganza, held last month. A voyeuristic dip into the World Finals, run this year at Ferrari-owned Mugello in the tranquil hills of Tuscany, revealed an insular motorsport dimension that tends to sweep straight past our general consciousness – because it doesn’t exist for our benefit. It’s a creation for those who continue to feed and breathe life into the most famous car maker in existence: the precious Ferrari customers without whom the prancing horse would have been put out to grass years ago.
To be fair, it’s only the ongoing effects of Covid-19 that thwarted Ferrari from opening the green banks and grandstands of Mugello to those who dwell in the real world: the fans who, even all these years on, are still swept up by the old mystique. Finali Mondiali is usually mobbed. But this time, attendance was limited to Ferrari employees and those deep-of-pocket customers, plus members of the Scuderia Ferrari Club, which is open to those who don’t own one of the cars. Still, there’s enough of a throng to ensure the place is dripping in a crisp atmosphere of anticipation, excitement and awe – because that’s what Ferrari creates when it gathers its greatest hits en masse. No other car maker comes close to successfully feeding its own legend, and while it’s easy to dismiss a commercial cynicism that glares through the scarlet haze, somehow you can’t help finding yourself caught up in the moment – simply because, well, it’s Ferrari.
I arrive by bus the day after the latest Icona model, the £1.7 million Daytona SP3, has been unveiled to the media in Florence and here at Mugello to those who might buy one. Suitably, it’s a car that’s preaching to the converted, limited to a run of just 599, most of which will head into the collections of those already fully immersed in the Ferrari myth. Giant red structures give the paddock a theme-park air for the rich and gauche as we head to the main grandstand and its views of both the start/finish and back section of Mugello’s sweeping contours. First, there’s the business of Ferrari Challenge one-make racing to conclude.