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A Unique Test Drive

03 luglio 2020

Maranello, 8 July 2020 – Enzo Ferrari once wrote: “Dreams are what make us feel alive. Our destiny is largely in our own hands, provided we have a clear idea of what we want and are determined to get it.” These words fit Charles Leclerc, driver of the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow, to a T. The Monegasque driver, who hails from a very ordinary family, has burned his way through all the main races in the world of motorsports, winning titles in every category he has competed in. Last year, after just one season in Formula 1, he made his début as the head of the Maranello team, the only squad to have been present at Formula 1 since its very first season.

Throughout the break in activities forced upon us by the pandemic over the last few months, Charles has not once lost sight of his goals or forgotten all those who love and support him. He even put on a show for them during the lockdown, with a series of virtual races, as well as trying his hand at a number of non-driving games, even going so far as to buy a banana costume to dress up as a character from a well-known video game.

Leclerc has provided his support to the Red Cross in both Monaco and Italy, taking part in various charitable activities, as well as acting as the face of Ferrari for two initiatives that have more than one thing in common, even though they are completely different. At the end of May, over the weekend in which Charles would have been competing in the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix, Leclerc took to the track in the principality very early in the morning, at the wheel of a SF90 Stradale, and completed a number of very fast laps. This was shot for the short film Le grand rendez-vous by French director Claude Lelouch.

The most significant of his performances, however, took Charles to Maranello. On Thursday 18 June – once again, very early in the morning, at 6.30 a.m. – Leclerc clambered behind the wheel of a Ferrari and drove through the streets of the Prancing Horse's hometown. This time, though, he wasn't driving a road car. Charles was in the SF1000 in which he is set to compete in the Formula 1 Grand Prix season in 2020. Leclerc pulled down his visor and drove out of the same historic gates that Enzo Ferrari emerged from at the wheel of the 125 S on 12 March 1947; the same gates behind which Formula 1 cars were designed for many years.

Charles drove past the current headquarters of Ferrari Gestione Sportiva, where all the single-seaters launched since 2015 have been dreamt up, designed, built and honed. Next, he turned left and passed the Ferrari Museum, another place steeped in tradition, finishing his journey at the Fiorano track, where all Ferraris produced since 1972 have been tested. “It was a really nice way to announce that we are ready to get back onto the track,” Charles told his friend and Scuderia Ferrari Ambassador, Marc Gené, at the end of the performance. “Driving a Ferrari has always been my dream, and though I achieved that in Monaco a few weeks back, today's event in Maranello was truly extraordinary.”

“The first time I came to Maranello, I was a little boy,” Charles continued, “and I remember that I liked the city straight away, because everything here is imbued with the essence of Ferrari, and I was dreaming of the Prancing Horse. I'd almost go so far as to say that Ferrari is Maranello and Maranello is Ferrari, so to be able to drive my Formula 1 car on the streets of this city was amazing. Having done it as an official driver, wearing my red race suit, made it a dream come true,” concluded Charles. Another dream made reality. And so many that are still to come true. But after all, isn't it dreams that keep us alive?