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The alarm clock went off early Saturday morning. The Regulation Rally start time was 9:00 AM which meant we all had to be in our F40's by 8:30 AM. It had rained overnight and when we arrived at the Fiorano track all the cars were covered in a fine mist. Talking to a few of the other guys (yes, all the "Pilotas" were male) on the way to the track, it became clear that most were not particularly interested in winning the rally (i.e. achieving/keeping to the posted times for the different stages), but were quite keen on a spirited drive up through the mountainous Tuscan countryside before heading down into Florence. The average speed for the 170 KM rally was listed as 48 kph which we all figured we would exceed by just a wee bit.

With all the F40’s wiped down and warmed up, we pulled out of the parking lot and headed up onto the Fiorano circuit. We were then lined up in our assigned starting order with a minute gap between each F40. After idling for 15 minutes waiting to go, I was finally off for a lap around the track before heading back out the gates, onto the streets of Maranello briefly, before cutting directly through the factory and onto the road leading out of town. At each one of the intersections, police had traffic stopped so we were able to roll right on through (a fantastic experience). Despite the minute gap between cars, after about 5 kilometers four of us were running in a tight convoy. The first stage basically ran us from Maranello, through four or five towns before heading out on the highway for 30 kilometers. When we entered the toll station before the highway, we were instructed to run straight through the express lane. We all ran up the entrance ramp in convoy and hit the highway moving smartly. We must have been quite a sight as one young boy looked like he was going to break his nose pressing it against the rear window of his parent’s Range Rover. The 48 kph average speed went right out the window as traffic was light on the highway and well, the turbos needed proper exercise. The F40 is truly an amazing piece of engineering and the contrast between us and everyone else on the highway made this blazingly clear. When we would start to take off, all the other cars just became little dots in the rearview mirror.

The highway stage ended far too quickly, and we were waved off and up into the mountains. The next 100 plus kilometers would be run exclusively in 2nd and 3rd gear. The road from the highway exit to Florence was cut straight though some of the most scenic areas of Tuscany. As there was barely a single piece of straight asphalt in this stage, a great deal of concentration was needed to navigate the terrain. Running an F40 skillfully through the hills is an exercise in controlling the boost, being gentle on the brakes, and balancing the car between hands and right foot. The key is to get into a good rhythm and let the car run.

As different cars stopped for gas and coffee at different times, the make up of the convoy was constantly shifting. By the time I started the decent into Florence, their now were five of us in procession. We had lost our Police protection in the mountains and hitting the mad traffic of Florence without it was quite an experience. Fortunately as we hit the 1st square we were waved into a parking area. As soon as eight of us had arrived, Police on motorcycles pulled up and indicated that we were to follow them. Back we plunged into the traffic which now parted (barely, as every kid on a scooter wanted to come up for a closer look) and we headed into the center of the city aiming for Piazza Ognissanti. Upon arriving at the Piazza, we were given instructions in formation parking, which given how well a F40 maneuvers at low speed with the great rear and 3 quarters visibility, was quite a sight. Despite the challenges, everyone pulled it off and Ferrari got its PR shots. We now had a couple of hours off before having to report back for the sprint up to Mugello.

Leaving Florence, we were split into groups of 6 with a Police escort in the front and rear. The pace set was moderate, clearly so everyone could enjoy seeing the convoy of F40’s running 1st through the city and then through all the small towns along the route. In several places clearly the message had gotten around that the F40s were coming as it seemed the entire town was out on the sidewalks waving as we went by. It was quite an experience for all. The trip up to the circuit took about 45 minutes.

Upon entering Mugello Circuit, we were waved into a parking area for a short break to allow everyone to get ready for the open track session. Up went the front hoods, out came the racing boots, helmets, and in a couple of cases, in car communication systems. Engines fired back up, and we snaked our way into the pit lane. The first lap was behind a pace car to allow everyone to get a feel for the layout of the track. Coming off the last curve, I could see the pace car pulling into the pit lane and with no further ado, everyone started taking off down the straight. The noise of 30 plus F40’s thundering down the Mugello straight on full boost is ungodly. The straight is not long and the 1st couple of cars looked to be going into the right hander a bit hot. Brake lights lit up and a shower of rubber descended on those of us in the next group back. At this point, I decided to drop back to put some space between myself and the testosterone soaked front group. After a couple of laps, the F40s had spread out on the track, clustered into groups of 2-3. I was then able to focus on driving quick clean laps and hitting the apexes. Life just does not get much better than this. The open track session ran until dusk and was followed by a joint dinner with the Ferrari Historic Challenge drivers.

A truly great day.
 

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amazing, boxer!! and the pictures are also stunning!!

did you take someone in the F40 with you during the trip?

if next time you decide to take me, I'm free to go! hehehehe
 

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Im speechless….


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