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Dancing on Ice

The exclusive Corso Pilota On-Ice course provided a unique opportunity for drivers to hone their winter driving skills from behind the wheel of the Ferrari Purosangue
Words: Luke Ponsford

Against a beautiful Alpine backdrop, a select few have been harnessing the power of the multi-talented Ferrari Purosangue in the most extreme conditions – with just a little help from some of the world’s best driving instructors.

The beautiful Italian town of Courmayeur, located at the foot of Mont Blanc, has been the location for an exclusive two-day course that teaches drivers everything they need to know about driving on snowy and icy terrain.

Watch the highlights of January's thrilling two-day Corso Pilota On-Ice course, set in the snowy foothills of the Italian Alps

Highly qualified Ferrari official instructors – many of whom come from the world of professional racing and rallying – guide each guest around Courmayeur’s Royal Ice & Snow track in the four-wheel drive Ferrari Purosangue, teaching such essentials as controlling the car in extreme low-grip situations and counter-steering.

“The fantastic thing about the On-Ice programme is that the guest gets to learn about, and then feel, the limits of what the Purosangue can do in the most challenging possible conditions,” explains Ferrari Ambassador Driver Toni Vilander. “And ice is one of the worst possible conditions.”

Images left to right: drivers were able to put a fleet of 10 Ferrari Purosangues through their paces on Courmayeur's 1,500m long Royal Snow & Ice track, all under the watchful eye of a team of highly qualified professional driving instructors

Despite the conditions, the main focus is always on safety, and drivers enjoy a confidence-inspiring experience that will make them both faster and safer behind the wheel. Additionally, each of the 10 Purosangue models available over the two days are equipped with studded and winter tyres, according to the grip of the surface, providing access to more of the car’s power, and more control over its 725cv, 6.5-litre V12 engine. 

With a total of 24 guests, split into four groups (each with two instructors), the course offered thorough one-to-one on-track tuition time, with additional sessions offering advice on physical preparation, driving theory and a detailed analysis of each guest’s driving technique – using video capture and eye-tracking technology. Instructors then used the data to show drivers how to identify their strengths, learn from their mistakes and discover how to improve their overall performance.

Images left to right: while the driving may have been physically challenging at times, the course also offered guests two nights in Courmayeur's luxurious five-star Grand Hotel Royal and Golf, as well as gourmet meals

Driving on ice and snow also involves a degree of physical exertion, with guests having to anticipate and control every kind of situation that could spring up in such an extreme environment. With that in mind, experts from MedEx, the official partner of Scuderia Ferrari, were on hand to help drivers to prepare physically for each day’s activities. Athletic training sessions, as well as a nutritionist and a mental coach, were also available. 

Of course, all that hard driving needs some luxurious rest and recovery, and the On-Ice programme saw drivers enjoy two nights in the five-star Grand Hotel Royal and Golf, gourmet dinners and lunches, as well as spa treatments at the hotel’s wellness centre. But ultimately, the focus was on the driving experience.

The ultimate aim of the course was to give every driver the skills required to control the power of the Purosangue in the most challenging possible conditions

“This programme allows every driver to fully understand the dynamic capabilities of the Purosangue, giving them the skills to perfectly balance the car – using the throttle and the steering – when it comes to a turn,” Toni concludes. “At the end of the two days, every guest should be able to use their Purosangue in the most difficult situations, and comfortably control the 725cv they have at their disposal. That’s the goal.”