Race to the Finish at the Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 in New York
New York, November 17th 2006 - A 20,000 mile race from Brazil to New York came to a glorious conclusion this morning when two Ferrari 599's crossed the finish line at the New York Stock Exchange.
The Panamerican 20,000 was the latest and most persuasive test of Ferrari's newest model, the 599 GTB Fiorano. On an often grueling 15-leg journey, a team of forty-eight journalists took turns driving from Belo Horizonte in Brazil to the Argentinian pampa; over Andean plateaus and through mountain passes some 13,000 feet above sea level; through the Central American tropics and across Mexico and the United States, with a final stop in Canada before reaching the final destination in New York.
This is not the first time Ferrari has embarked on this type of journey. In 1997 it sent the F355 model on a tour around the world. Just last year two Scaglietti 612's made a tour of all China, the first time any automobile maker has accomplished this feat.
Sports fans are used to seeing the Ferrari on Formula 1 tracks, and of appreciating its special talent for racing. But these long road-tests are important in two significant ways. First, they show that today's Ferrari can be driven in every type of road condition. A case in point: in the past ten years the average mileage accumulated by Ferrari drivers has doubled. Second, they bring the Ferrari closer to an adoring public that goes beyond the ranks of racing fans. The Ferrari is instantly recognizable in the farthest corners of the earth, from the silk road to the shores of Lake Titicaca. This discovery confirms the iconic status of the Ferrari as the embodiment of a dream.
On Wall Street today, the façade of the Stock Exchange was decorated with the Ferrari trademark: the prancing horse. A special grandstand was built for the ceremony, and Maurizio Parlato, President and CEO of Ferrari North America, was on hand for a celebratory speech. The finish line was set up in place of great symbolic importance: for over 50 years, the United States has been Ferrari's number one market, and many of its customers are members of the American business communities.
In his remarks, Mr. Parlato emphasized that the cars had proven their extraordinary reliability, having made it though the rugged Andean roads with minimal damage to the tires and rims. The only thing they needed were regular oil changes provided by Shell, which provided roadside assistance for the whole tour.
The 599 GTB Fiorano is a two-seater berlinetta with a V-12 engine, the top performer ever developed at the Ferrari factory in Maranello. This new model boasts the most cutting-edge features that Ferrari has ever applied to a two-seater with a front center engine, making it the new benchmark in sportiness, driving feel, and design. The two 599 GTB Fioranos reached the end of their journey in New York with only minor modifications to allow them to travel the toughest roads: for underbody protection a 4 mm.-thick aluminum plate was used rather than standard plastic, and the shock absorbers were slightly raised to handle the roughest roads. In all other regards, they were identical to the other cars in the series, with a 611 bhp Enzo-derived 5,999cc V12 motor, and maximum torque of 448 lb/ft produced at 5,600 rpm. The 599 GTB Fiorano sprints from 0 to 62 mph in an astonishing 3.7 seconds and boasts a top speed in excess of 205 mph. Both cars had a six-speed F1 gearbox, and a transaxle transmission.
On this occasion, Ferrari thanks the sponsors that made this adventure possible: especially Shell, a long-time partner of Ferrari also in Formula 1 racing, which provided roadside assistance and a range of high-performance fuels and lubrication; Alcoa, a strategic partner for the production of aluminum chassis that is the standard for the whole Ferrari line today; the FIAT group, which provided transportation using the Iveco support system and escort vehicles of FIAT and Alfa Romeo, a brand that has attracted great interest in the United States; and Case IH - the global agriculture equipment leader - and finally, Pirelli for the tires, Puma for the Panamerican team uniforms, Saima Avandero for the logistics, and BuonItalia.
Ferrari in North and South America
North America is Ferrari's biggest market-accounting for a 30% share-with sales of approximately 1,550 vehicles a year. The top North American market is California (27% of sales), followed by the North East (16%), Florida (11%), Texas (7%), and Chicago (6%). In 1995 the number of North American Ferrari dealers grew to 36 (32 in the United States and 4 in Canada), when two new locations were opened in Silicon Valley and Las Vegas. Existing dealers also made significant investments to expand their facilities and improve operations. In 2004 Ferrari North America inaugurated a showroom at 410 Park Avenue in New York to exhibit its extraordinary products at one of America's premium locations.
To build up and consolidate Ferrari's presence in Central and South America, starting in January 2006 Ferrari North America became the lead office for the countries of the area. The main markets are Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela, for a total of 12 sales points. This consolidation will expand the number of dealerships, and increase customer satisfaction.