Model Behaviour: The Corso Pilota

Cars

Global stars in their field they may be, but model Sean O’Pry and his partner Fernanda Liz were still in awe of not just the chance to become Ferrari racers, but to take the gorgeous Roma on a memorable road trip
Film - Oliver McIntyre

Beauty is synonymous with fashion and Ferrari, so it would make sense that one of the Italian marque’s most striking examples, the Ferrari Roma, was the car that would transport two of the industry’s more famous names across some truly iconic scenery in the United States.

Sean O’Pry is an American model who has been at the pinnacle of the fashion world for some fifteen years, working with the likes of Armani, Versace and Calvin Klein, while starring in music videos with stars including Taylor Swift and Madonna. His partner, Fernanda Liz, is a Brazilian native, signed with Next Models in New York and the star of magazine covers including Vogue.

Watch as Sean O'Pry and Fernanda Liz take on the Corso Pilota in Utah, racing in the powerful Ferrari 296 GTB

Before the pair embarked on their picturesque trip however, they had the chance to undertake Ferrari’s Corso Pilota at the Utah Motorsports Campus; a four-part intensive race driving education, where each level takes a Prancing Horse owner a step closer to being the pilotas they could previously only dream of becoming encompassing hot laps, timed races, racing lines and much more around professional race tracks.

For Sean and Fernanda, the Corso Pilota represented the opportunity to build on childhoods in which fast cars would often feature, and the pair wasted no time in throwing themselves into the thrills offered by the Ferrari school.

“It was such a treat for me,” says Sean. “Not only did I realise I was a bad driver previously, but I realised my partner is a much better driver than I am!”

Fernanda smiles at this, but noticeably doesn’t disagree with him.

Over two days, the pair took an intensive course in race car driving, learning techniques from experts and putting their new knowledge to the test on a circuit

“Getting seat time with the pro driver initially is so valuable,” he adds. “It feels kind of like you’re in a video game at first. But then you start to get the knowledge from them; why they’re trying to hit the apex or go in slow to a corner and fast out.

“And then when you get behind the wheel and put everything you learn from the first day to the end of the programme together, you see the improvement – it’s really dramatic.”

Fernanda is equally enthused about her experience learning the secrets behind racing driving. Across two days, the Corso Pilota allowed the duo to follow each other around the track in F8 Tributos and a pair of stunning red Ferrari 296GTBs at pace, showing off the skills they’d picked up.

“Growing up I loved cars, I got that from my Dad,” says Fernanda. “But I never thought when I was older I would be able to drive a Ferrari, especially on a race track. It was so cool, an amazing experience.”

“It changes the way you view driving,” adds Sean. “The Corso Pilota teaches you about safety, not just about the fastest way to race. When you complete that course, and everyone is together at the end, that’s one of the most gratifying things I’ve ever experienced.”

After the Corso Pilota, the duo took a beautiful Ferrari Roma out to the Rocky Mountains of Utah for some wild horseback riding, while staying in luxury at the spectacular Sorrel River Ranch hotel and spa in Moab

The pair have two more levels of the Corso Pilota still to achieve, which they hope to do as soon as they have time in their schedules. They are certainly fans of the education they received, with Fernanda stating that: “I would recommend it to anyone. It’s a truly memorable day that will help you as a driver no matter who you are.”

But the Ferrari experience didn’t end there for Fernanda and Sean, as they were handed the keys to a jet-black Ferrari Roma in order to experience the rocky mountains of Utah for a weekend. Somewhat surprisingly, there were no arguments about who got to do most of the driving on the mini vacation.

“None at all,” promises Sean. “The only issue was maybe I put too much Sinatra on the stereo. The Roma is so comfortable that I just sat back and enjoyed the ride and the scenery. Although Fernanda sometimes forgot we use miles per hour not kilometres per hour over here!”

The comfort and speed of the Roma proved to be the perfect vehicle for the couple, both of whom professed to wanting to own their own model at some point in the future

Together the two models experienced horse riding across the wild scenery outside the city of Moab, and quiet nighttime drives under a blanket of stars.

“The roads around there are challenging,” explains Sean. “It's just one road in one road out. And if we were coming up at the bottom of a crest and starting to go up, we couldn't see what was on the other side of the road. Wow. It was definitely a unique drive as a passenger at 100 miles an hour. I mean, the car handled incredibly.”

And that car, the Ferrari Roma, left such an impression that both Fernanda and Sean have set their sights on owning one at some point.

“It made a four-hour journey seem like an hour and a half,” says Fernanda. “It’s such a chic car.”

Adds Sean: It's a gorgeous car. I've never been stopped in a car more than we got stopped in that. Mind you, part of that might be because I was with a six-feet tall Brazilian supermodel..."