To round off a truly memorable anniversary year for Ferrari and the Owners’ Club, Ferrari hosted their annual racing days once again at Silverstone this last weekend. As members of the Owners’ Club we were encouraged to attend—in a Ferrari of course—to join in the festivities. I had intended to be there last year but other events took precedence; not this year with two major milestones to be celebrated. And despite the damp start the day quickly brightened up beautifully, allowing hundreds of exquisite cars to glisten in the autumn sun.
Somehow, by avoiding the motorway, we managed to avoid much of the traffic and were able to sneak up to the main entrance from the opposite direction to almost everyone else, where we were directed to our infield P3 parking. Unfortunately for us this turned out to be the furthest Ferrari parking from the main paddock (though considerably closer than the general admission parking, located outside of the circuit). After taking in who we were parked with, and trying to decide whether we were going to need our jackets, we made our way to the paddock to see what else was on site.
We finally found ourselves in the indoor entertainment area, with RC and slot car racing, the Pirelli F1 simulator, and a promo Ferrari Formula 1 car. We also bumped into the Owners’ Club, who quickly asked whether we wanted to join in with the lunchtime parade. It didn’t take long for us to agree, and hurriedly search for a vacant table to complete to inclusion and insurance waiver form. (The form also stated, in rather large letters, that the speed limit for the parade lap was 30mph.) So with an hour until we needed to be back in my 360, lined up and waiting to enter the pit lane, we continued on, watching the various XX models that we presently hurling around the track.
As the XX session drew to a close we walked back to P3 to ready ourselves for the parade. So although we were instructed to queue from midday by the entrance at the start of the pit lane—for a 12:20 start—it didn’t appear that everybody had been informed, nor had the prospect of having dozens of Ferrari’s stacked up where the carpark shuttle busses were expecting to turn round been fully contemplated. In short: we backed everything up. However, with none of us going very far for a few minutes, a couple of us took the opportunity to clean the morning drives road grim from our Ferrari’s (much to the amusement of everyone going about their lunch). As 12:20 came and went, we again made ourselves ready as we patiently waited for the Ferrari’s parked in P1 and P2 to drive though the pit lane, where we then followed, eventually joining the track before being greeted by a couple of marshals who allocated us either left, middle or right, so we knew how to position our cars as we lined up on the starting grid.
With a grid full of Ferrari’s the general public were allowed to join us to walk amongst us all for half an hour or so. We made a good attempt to make it to the front where a couple of Le Ferrari Aperta’s were leading the pack, followed by an F40 and an Enzo. In fact it was about this time I remarked that there weren’t any F50’s in attendance; this made me disappointed. With that, the warning klaxon sounded to start clearing the grid so we could commence our lap of honour. And then the shenanigans started: with over one hundred Ferrari’s idling away, waiting, inevitably the kid in all of us came out and we all started to rev our engines. The chorus cried out up and down the grid several times, before falling silent. This was quickly replaced by blasting of horns in a call-and-repeat fashion. Music to your off.
This was put to an end as we noticed the pace car pull away; we were off. The lap started out rather calmly, up round Abby and Farm and through Village and The Loop, then as we swerved round Aintree and onto the Wellington Straight a large gap appeared in front of us—row by row, everybody was ignoring the speed limit and gunning it! By this point none of us were aligned with who we set off next to but it didn’t seem to matter as we were all having fun. This stunt happened again as we came out on the old start/finish straight, as well as between Copse and Maggotts, and finally on the Hangar Straight before we had to merge to single file again around Stowe so we could enter the pit lane.
After lunch saw the first of the two Ferrari Challenge series races: the Trofeo Pirelli and the Coppa Shell series, separated by the days second Ferrari F1 Clienti session, and then with the day ending with the second XX session. I have to admit that I don’t follow the Ferrari Challenge series so had no idea who was what car, but it was exciting nonetheless. Despite what looked like a virtual safety car period for a number of laps.
The F1 Clienti session was a sight to be seen, with some of Ferrari’s best Formula 1 cars back on track (even if they were being driven by rich enthusiasts and not F1 drivers). I suppose the limited number of cars on track during this period is entirely due to the limited nature of the programme, even above the XX project. After a second race, and a little more wondering around, we finished the day overlooking the Farm Curve watching the last of the XX cars scream passed us as they exited the pit lane. Wow they’re loud!
To finish up, I have put together a montage of the practices, qualifying, and races, as well as some of the photographs I captured throughout the day. Enjoy…