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Ferrari in Focus
No other marque in the history of the automobile evokes the passion garnered by the Cavallino Rampante badge, otherwise known as the Prancing Horse of Ferrari.
The appetite for brute horsepower and slick lines can be traced back to the early days of company founder Enzo Ferrari, whose lust for success in motoring circles saw him build an empire that conquered all, both on the race track and at the top end of town.
Enzo was a factory driver for Alfa Romeo in the 1920s, but by the end of the decade he had created Scuderia Ferrari, a customer operation for gentlemen competitors, before taking over the works Alfa efforts in 1933, when the factory withdrew from racing.
Following a move to Marenello, the outbreak of War, and subsequent factory rebuilding efforts, Ferrari got to work on the 125 S, a 1.5-litre 12 cylinder sports car which was the first to bear the Ferrari name.
e machine was a success out of the box, claiming the Rome Grand Prix shortly after its debut in 1947, with the young brand concentrating its efforts on competition success.
While British racing cars were typically found in a dark hue of green, French cars blue, and German cars either white or unpainted silver, Ferraris proudly wore Italian red into battle, a tradition which continues to this day.
Ferrari lived his life for motorsport, and his legacy, the Scuderia Ferrari is peerless in modern racing circles.
The only outfit to have campaigned in every Word Driver’s Championship Formula 1 race contested, the squad have registered a remarkable 16 Constructor’s titles, and a total of 15 Driver’s crowns, split between luminaries such as Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter and Kimi Raikkonen.
Michael Schumacher of course was synonymous with parking his Ferraris below the podium on a Sunday afternoon, he claimed 72 victories en route to his five World titles with the marque.
To date, the team have secured a grand total of 238 race wins, 771 podiums, 228 pole positions, 254 fastest laps and have scored 8,276.5 Championship points, with every stat a record.
They have led 15,124 F1 racing laps, 50 percent more than the next best team.
The fans of the marque, the Tifosi, are renown around the planet for their fevered support, with their passion no more evident than with a Ferrari victory on the most hallowed of circuits, Monza, the Temple of Speed.
With a reported F1 budget in excess of half a billion Euros annually, Ferrari continues to utilise motorsport as the cornerstone of their marketing efforts, with the race track success and stature transferring to showroom sales.
However, the Formula 1 team is more than just a high speed billboard, with the road car breed continuing to benefit from the trickle down of technology from the top.
For instance, the LaFerrari model’s 6.3-litre V12 is accompanied by a pair of electric motors as supplied by the race team’s electronics partner, Magneti Marelli, utilising a Kinetic Energy Recovery System, which was pioneered in racing circles from the 2009 season.
High tech wizardry was far from being on the agenda in the early days of the marque, although competition triumph put the brand on the map, with victories in the 1948 Mille Miglia with a 166 S Coupe Allemano, as commanded by Clemente Biondetti and Giuseppe Navone, as well as the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours, with a British entered 166 MM steered by Luigi Chinetti, Peter Mitchell-Thomson and Lord Selsdon claiming the win.
Early Ferrari road car derivatives of the racing breed featured bodies designed and constructed by separate styling houses, such as Pininfarina, Scaglietti, Zagato, Vignale and Bertone.
Commercially, things really started to kick off for Ferrari in the 1960s, and by the end of the decade, half of the company was sold to Fiat, despite the earlier advances made by the Ford Motor Company.
That deal fell over when Enzo realised he would lose control of his race team, which in turn saw Ford create the GT40, an effort to spite the Italian team on the race track, with the story finding its way onto the silver screen in 2019 in the Matt Damon/Christian Bale Ford v Ferrari feature film.
By 1973, the rear-mounted V8 configuration hit its stride on the production line, with leading models including the 308 GTB, the 308 GT4 and the GTS.
Like many in the automotive sphere, the 1980s proved to be a tumultuous time, with the passing of Enzo Ferrari at the age of 90 in 1988 ending an era for the brand.
By the end of the decade, Fiat had increased its stake in the business to 90%, with the remaining 10% remaining in the hands of Enzo’s son, Piero Ferrari.
The classics continued to be churned out by the Marenello artists in the mid-1980s, including the 288 GTO, considered by many to be the first Ferrari supercar, and the Testarossa, followed by the final machine overseen by company patriarch, the F40.
By 1995, the F40 had given way to the F50, which was to be replaced by the F60, although the brand was so thrilled with the car, it was instead named the Ferrari Enzo.Never a brand to let performance technology pass it by, the 2019 SF90 Stradale is the first Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle to roll down the Marenello line, with the car’s 4.0-litre V8 complimented by three electric motors, which when combined produce a whopping 986hp.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles by 2016 had spun off the Ferrari brand, with a portion of the company placed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Recent times have seen the marque capitalise on growing wealth in developing markets, with annual sales topping 10,000 cars for the first time in 2019.
The passion for the Prancing Horse only continues to be enhanced the world over with each new model released.
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