Gulf Insider meets Giorgio Turri, General Manager of Ferrari Middle East, at the opening round of the Bahrain Challenge 2019 European Series held at Bahrain’s BIC
What brings you to Bahrain?
We are here for the Ferrari Racing Days and for the opening race of the 2019 Ferrari Challenge season. Starting back in 1993, the Ferrari Challenge is our one-make series dedicated to Gentlemen Drivers, encompassing three official championships in the United States, Asia-Pacific and Europe. On this special occasion in Bahrain the Challenge comes to the region with the XX Programs and the activities of Formula 1 Clienti, it is certainly a unique opportunity to engage with our discerning clientele.
How many of your clients take advantage of this opportunity?
We have more than 120 clients from all over the world taking part in the Ferrari Challenge. They love the idea of racing their own Ferrari on some of the world’s best racetracks through the Challenge. All of them compete with objective being to win, but the events also represent an amazing opportunity for them to meet like-minded people to share their passion for Ferrari and racing.
How will you benchmark the success of the challenge?
We can benchmark it by the number of cars entering each round during the season and that’s been constantly over the past year as we constantly beat the records. The attention and excitement for the Ferrari Challenge is rising and we have more and more clients from the Middle East willing to enter the championships.
Why did you choose Bahrain as the location for the opening round of the championship?
There are several reasons behind choosing Bahrain, as it is in a strategic location in-between Europe and Asia Pacific which is perfect for the season opening round, but more importantly we wanted to bring the Challenge closer to our clients in the Middle East who are very passionate and are also keen to be involved. The Middle East is home to many passionate clients and collectors, they join these event with their own cars and to test drive new models, it is always a pleasure to meet them at the racetrack.
Do you have any other plans coming up for Bahrain?
We have several activities and surprises that are coming together in the next few months in Bahrain. We are also planning to invite Bahraini clients to events taking place across the region.
Finally, what input does Ferrari put into Ferrari owners clubs?
The Ferrari Owners Clubs plays a key role in how our customers get to experience the Brand, but they are totally independent from us. The FOCs are driven by the passion of our clients and the fact they enjoy their gatherings with friends who share this passion for our cars. They are people who are enjoying the Ferrari Lifestyle. We are always happy to support them in whichever way we can, but we do not interfere in their plans which are designed by Ferrari owners for Ferrari owners.
About Ferrari Challenge Europe
The famous one-make championship with a legacy dating back to 1993, places dream cars and very special customers on the most beautiful racetracks in the world, featuring to date over 1000 drivers globally, as well as many memorable races and thrilling performances. The Ferrari Challenge is divided into three continental series: Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The European 2019 season commenced at Bahrain International Circuit, before heading to Valencia, Spielberg, Le Mans, Nürburgring, Imola and the Finali Mondiali in Mugello. This highly competitive racing series is sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and features four categories suited for different levels of driving, including Trofeo Pirelli, Trofeo Pirelli Am, Coppa Shell and Coppa Shell Am. The series features the most powerful car in the history of one-make racing series, the 488 Challenge. The car is tailored for an incredible track experience thanks to 670 hp generated by the V8 3.9-liter engine derived from the 488 GTB, winner of the International engine of the Year Award in 2016. Compared to the production 488 GTB engine, the Challenge’s powertrain, in its architecture is exactly the road car engine but features specific engine mapping, optimised for racing performance, and shorter gear ratios providing up to an 11.6% increase in acceleration out of turns compared to its predecessor, the naturally-aspirated 458 Challenge EVO.