There are drivers attracted to the track for the glamour, others for the speed, others because they liked that movie with Steve McQueen. Then there is Oliver Plassmann. He got into it “because of the wings”.
He explains: “My wife Anna has got a thing about cars with ‘wings’”. Back in 2018 when Oliver found himself moseying around in the Ulrich Frankfurt dealership, Anna’s eyes fell upon ‘that car over there with the wings’. “Oh no, said the dealer, to drive that one you have to join Ferrari Challenge,” recalls Oliver.
So one year later he did, entering the Trofeo Pirelli. Nowadays he is doing more track time than Mr McQueen ever did, supported by the Rinaldi racing team based not that far from the Nürburgring.
Oliver came away that day in 2018 with his first Ferrari ‘road car’. He reasoned: “I work all my life – craftsman, Industrial Real Estate – and I’m 45. And this is an F12berlinetta, three years-old, zero kilometres.”
Based in Ratingen near Dusseldorf, the racing neatly combines with his “street legal” collection of Ferrari which includes also an 812 GTS, 812 Competizione, and SF90 Stradale. The black ‘Piloti Ferrari’ 488 Pista – a special Tailor Made version for motor sports clients – is what he drives to the circuits around Europe, with ‘co-pilota’ Anna an ever-present at his side, to compete in the Club Competizioni GT series in a 488 GT3.
“We’ve already done 12,500 kilometres in the Pista, 6,000 in the SF90 Stradale from November to March, and another 5,000 in the 812 Competizione in six weeks,” he reels off, detailing memorable trips from Ratingen all the way down to Mugello.
“We sleep over in Bavaria, then take the Brennero pass at dawn. It’s wonderful.” There are – strictly unconfirmed - stories of Carabinieri highway patrols pulling alongside to admire the livery, give a thumbs up, and overlooking the German couple’s adventurously speedy entry into Italian territory.
He’s speaking in between weekends at Hockenheim and an upcoming meet at Spielberg. During season, two weeks per month they are away with the racing car. Away from racing, he praises the SF90. “It’s a special car you can use every day because of the four-wheel drive,” he says. “When you are accelerating there’s grip. It’s completely easy to drive. It’s a fast car, you can’t be scared to drive it. I switch to manual because I like to feel the car.”
He describes the SF90 Stradale – driven by Anna too - as “our Winter car, it’s amazing on the snow and in icy conditions.” His frequent ‘Piloti Ferrari’ 488 Pista trips means they have scattered selfies and friendly chats with admiring onlookers at service stations dotted all along the route from Ratingen to Imola and back. “It’s like some public relations trip sometimes,” he laughs.
After competing at the Ferrari Finali Mondiali last summer at Imola a simple pizzeria visit ended with their pizza going cold as the chef led dozens of diners outside to admire their 812 Competizione. “It was fun. The people were very nice,” says Oliver. “When you are in love with this brand you will get a lot back, not just the spectacular models.”