Ferrari Racing Days

Another September, another Ferrari Racing Days at Silverstone, and although it is 4 years since the my last attendance I wasn’t initially expecting to make this one. Previous commitments, one by one, started to disappear and so with less than a week to go I went in search of the promo code that was giving free entrance to Ferrari owners and requested a couple of tickets. That being said, it wouldn’t be a proper Ferrari day out without some sort of mishap.

The days started with a less than ideal outlook—in fact there was no outlook as there was thick fog over much of Northamptonshire. Although by the time I arrived at Silverstone it had mostly burned off leaving us with a beautiful clear blue sky. After signing up for the owners’ parade I was directed to the red carpet entrance and told to head upstairs and collect with welcome pack. I never did find a welcome pack but did somehow end up with a VIP pass!

From the hospitality balcony I caught some of the qualifying session for Ferrari Challenge UK, before heading to the Paddock Club grandstand to watch the end of that and then the beginning of the XX Programme session. I returned to the balcony for the start of the F1 Clienti—along with almost everyone else who had nabbed a VIP pass. I finished that session over at Vale and Club, overlooking the pit entrance.

I largely missed the Pirelli Ferrari Formula Classic qualifying, as I was following my stomach and making use of the complimentary lunch. It was then a quick dash back to my 360 to join the queue for the parade lap. The lap itself was very much the same as I remember it 4 years ago: instructions saying keep 2 car lengths within the car in front, stick to 40mph; lo and behold both of these were ignored by everyone as we’d sprint from corner to corner, most notably down the Wellington Straight, the National Pit Straight and the Hanger Straight.

Thankfully the parade lap was a success, however it’s what happened next that somewhat ruined the day for me: as I went to put the 360 into reverse as we were parking up, there was the sound of crunching and clattering as the engine cut out completely! Once pushed out of the way of everyone else still waiting to park, on the advice of other owners, I sought out a Ferrari mechanic to help diagnose the problem. I was kindly directed to the owner of RNR Performance Cars, who was more than happy to help identify the cause. Following his instruction I attempted to start the car, although he was quick to tell me to stop as he suspected it was cambelt related. Poking in from above he was able to feel that the belt was loose,  saying he was happy to investigate further through the access panel behind the seats if I wanted, but I would need to ask the owner of the Ferrari next to mine to move so that my door could be opened fully. With the help of Will from the Owners’ Club team—instead of finding and moving next-doors car—we pushed my 360 down the slight incline so that it was right by the RNR team garage.

Within a couple of minutes I was being shown the cambelt just flopping around and the tensioner, which was no longer being held in place having sheared its bolts, and the conversation quickly progressed to what was going to happen next: recovery and repair. I had already put things in motion with the RAC (but past experience suggested this would be fruitless) and had attempted to get in touch with Dove House (as they’re local to me and not too long ago serviced my car, which despite being a Porsche shop do have a Ferrari guy) but without any luck. It was then that RNR offered to recover my 360 and set about fixing it, further explaining what it would entail: obviously with the cambelt no longer doing its job, the values would all be out of alignment, possibly bent. Luckily, because I was stationary when things went south—not at speed or with the engine under heavy load—it’s possible that this might be the extent of the damage, otherwise those values could have been fired through the cylinder heads resulting in all kinds of chaos.

After phoning the wife and filling her in, I eventually tracking down someone from Dick Lovett (who only 13 months ago changed the cambelts—among other things) to respectfully moan at. I explained that I am obviously disappointed that it wasn’t something they picked up on when the changed the belt but they fairly pointed out that everything would have been torqued to spec and a shorn bolt is just one of those things and after 21 years it just gave up. I’m aware it’s well after any service warranty period and ultimately is just wear and tear, but that didn’t help how I felt at that moment.

With it getting late and still no response from the RAC, I tracked back down the owner of RNR and explained that I was happy to leave my 360 in his hands. The wife was on her way to pick me up and I needed someone who knows what they’re doing to fix my Ferrari, and as RNR have pretty much started they may as well finish the job; it’s not as though I have any immediate plans for the 360 at this time of year anyway. So hopefully at some point during the week they will phone to detail what state the engine is in and what’s going to be needed to get the car back on the road. Then it will just be down to me to get down to Kent and bring it home.

Now that’s all said, all that’s left is what I captured throughout the day; not too many stills as it’s not too different from anything else I’ve already posted, but there is a short video montage: