It was still the twentieth century when Imola last hosted the Ferrari Finali Mondiali. This extraordinary event focusing on customers and their experience on the track, concludes and celebrates the one-make series and the entire Prancing Horse season.
Enzo Ferrari wrote in a book published in 1980: ’My first contact with Imola dates back to spring 1948. […] I thought from the first moment that this hilly environment could one day become a small Nürburgring due to the natural difficulties that building the road belt would encompass, thus offering a truly selective route for men and cars. The promoters of Imola felt comforted by this opinion. In May 1950, construction began. I was present at the foundation stone ceremony, which was laid by the lawyer Onesti with CONI’s greetings and a contribution of 40 million that I think was the body’s first gesture to motorsports. A small Nurburgring – I repeated that day looking around – a small Nurburgring, with equal spectacular technical resources and an ideal track length. This belief of mine has been achieved over the decades since then’.
Only eight years later, in 1988, on the death of the ‘Drake’, the racetrack assumed the name of Enzo and Dino Ferrari, combining that of the father with his prematurely deceased son Dino.
The circuit now regularly hosts the Formula 1 championship – since 1981, the San Marino Grand Prix, a favourite of the public and drivers, today the Grand Prix of Made in Italy and Emiglia Romagna. It is also the venue for Grand Prix motorcycle racing and, since 2004-05, the GT championship and many other events. A series of technical improvements made in recent years has turned it into one of the most advanced tracks for flexibility and functionality.
Thus, the final event of the Ferrari Challenge will be returning to Imola for the first time since the 1998 edition (the track didn’t go by its current name back then, but it was called “Tutte le Ferrari a Imola”), won by Adriano Baso from Verona. However, the Prancing Horse one-make series has renewed a link that transcends the circuit’s name with another series of participations and collaborations. The championship opened on the bends of the Santerno river in 2005 and 2020 and hosted rounds in other years. The circuit thus became familiar with the sporting exploits of the 488 Challenge Evo, the 348 Challenge, the F355 Challenge, the 360 Challenge, the F430 Challenge and the 458 Challenge.
The history of Imola and Ferrari, so inextricably intertwined, shares common roots in Motor Valley, the land of engines, which runs along the Via Emilia from Piacenza to Rimini. The land of engines is not just physical place but is where the best examples of world motorsports were created and are based. It is a strategic asset for promoting the local area and a source of pride for its inhabitants and Italian manufacturing, of which the Maranello manufacturer is one of the most shining examples.
Thus the return to Imola 24 years after the ‘first time’, on the thirtieth anniversary of the Ferrari Challenge, deserves a big celebration like the Finali Mondiali at the end of October, when the fans of the Rossa will return, at last in greater freedom and safety, to throng the grandstands. Clubs, enthusiasts and employees will all be there, after the restrictions of recent years due to the health emergency. One more warm welcome to testify to their love for the Prancing Horse.