Shoeing the Prancing Horse - Ferrari Service Visit
Of course, as with any generally accepted value, there are relatively few people that actually know what Ferraris are made of. People think that four-wheeled creations wearing the Ferrari badge are powered by gasoline (and - it hurts us to say this - maybe electricity) just like normal cars, but this isn’t even the tip of the
Yes, Ferraris apparently use an Otto cycle to transform the energy of the fossil fuel into forward momentum. However, what actually makes them so special is the fact that each and every one of them has an energetic core made of Enzo Ferrari’s spirit.
You see, Enzo didn’t care about notions such as road-going vehicles or customers. He only tolerated this public horsepower indulgence because he needed them to support his company’s racing activities. At this point, you might be revolted and consider that the customer should be the No. 1 concern for a carmaker. Well, not quite...
It’s far more important for a company to bless its cars with something truly special than to concentrate on the wrapping and turn its vehicles into mere “products”. There will always be people who want and know how to attract customers, catering for each and every need of the latter, but there’s an extreme shortage of automotive geniuses like Enzo in the world.
As we were saying, his spirit lies in every creation that is born at the Maranello factory. However, the average on-the-road Ferrari throttle depressing level is... depressing, as many customers go through life without even being aware of their car’s true potential, let alone use it.
The Italians are making efforts to change this, constantly sharpening their Corse Clienti (customer racing) program. But is this enough to bring justice to the Ferrari world? We’ll see below...
We’ve recently had a-face-to-aura encounter with Enzo, as we (short-)tested a California. The rush of feelings and emotions flooded our brains in a blink of an eye and we were... but we’re not here to talk about that.
We’re actually here to tell you that from the first moment we asked the car to burn gasoline and rubber for us, we felt that we had to get into this story deeper. Thus, we decided to visit a place where the Prancing Horse is shoed, a Ferrari service facility - We chose the Forza Rossa Ferrari dealer.
We went there expecting to see various Maranello creations having scheduled maintenance sessions performed and hoping to at least be able to see and smell a Ferrari blood transfusion (the scent of oil that has been used by a high-revving V8 is dazzling). However, what we found was a little bit more than that.
As we approach the location, the red dot turns into a structure, which is flooded with marketing elements. We park just in front of it, chat a little bit with the secretary and prepare to enter the arena, quickly passing through the showroom, as this is a different story that we may cover in the future.
Wait, what is that beefed-up 458? Could it be a Challenge? There’s no time to answer that question, as our hosts are here to welcome us. So let’s meet the man leading the hostilities, Capo Tehnico in Ferrari language.
The spanner bearer
Antonio Settineri is a man whose number of years spent healing and resurrecting Prancing Horses exceeds the age of some of our editors. Each strand of his gray hair has a civilian or a motorsport Ferrari technical story to tell.
He’s a friendly bloke, but a dangerous one - starting a discussion with him is like using a Ferrari in an attempt to reach the horizon. We couldn’t believe our watches when we ended our chat with him.
Antonio mentions “V12” once every dozen words and you can almost see the combustion in his eyes when he pronounces this. We didn’t get a second of silence after we mentioned Ferrari’s potential return to V6 powerplants, as he instantly adopted an imposing vocal tone, highlighting the fact that the V12 game is far from being over.
However, through his attitude, he showed us that he felt that it was impossible to oppose the eco snowball. Noticing this, we asked him about various compromises that could be made by the company in order to cut its average CO2 emissions and we found out that he believes that the dominance of V8s over V12s would be enough, at the same time admitting that the real life situation will probably go further than that.
During our discussion, Antonio gave us the traditional “every day at work here is the best day”. We’ve heard this about a million times, even from people who make the plastics for cars cheaper than a good tailor-made suit, but this time it was really true.
Following “the good, the bad and the ugly” recipe we use for our test drives, we also found out that the most disastrous professional moment he’s ever been through was at the end of a Ferrari Challenge season.
It was the last race of the 2002 European Ferrari Challenge season and the team was fighting for the championship title. During the race, the rain flooded the track and they were forced to change the 360 Modena racer’s setup.
In the course of the process, they forgot to mount the rubber pads that sit on top of the shock absorbers. They made it to the top of the podium, but their explosion of joy was quickly defused as their error had given the racecar a lower ground clearance, which led to its disqualifying.
As for the ugly part, Antonio recalled one vehicle which he considered as being cursed (this is a joke, of course). Again, the experience involves rain, but the automotive hero here is a road-going Ferrari, a 355.
The vehicle had been severely damaged by its owner and had undergone complex repairs. Antonio was testing it too see if everything had been brought back to normal, when aquaplaning sent the car into a series of violent spins, which ended in an even more brutal crash that turned the car into a pile of nothing.
His favorite street-legal Ferrari of all times? Yes, you guessed it, the F40. The reason (not that there should be one): its ability to give one goosebumps.
As Antonio shifted back from the story teller to his Capo Tehnico role, still smiling, as we had asked him to describe his experiences with carburetors, we were invited to tour the site.
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