We recently had the opportunity to attend the Finali Mondiali at the Daytona Motor Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. We were graciously hosted for the weekend and given the full VIP treatment by the Pirelli and Ferrari teams. As soon as we arrived in Daytona there’s a big glass structure just across from the motor speedway where we met up to be given our credentials. Once we were given our credentials, we made the quick drive across the street were and ushered to the infield (this in itself is a really cool experience).
Living in Central Florida, I had heard about all of the new contrsuction done to the racetrack and the area, but to see it in person is truly impressive. They have done an amazing job in making this the premier destination to take in a racing experience.
For me, day was somewhat of an out of body experience. I am blessed to do a lot of cool things, but this was something on another level. There were literally Ferraris as far as the eye could see. From vintage rides to the cars of the future, whatever your taste is there was a Ferrari on hand for it. You name the model, it was there.
The Finali Mondiali or Ferrari World Finals as it is also known was hosted in the US for the first time in its storied history. Ferrari owners from across the worled competed on the famed track in Daytona for big trophies, bragging rights and of course champagne.
We had a chance to tour the garages just before the cars took to the track to get a rare behind-the-scenes look at the prep process the drivers and teams go through before they begin their races. Hearing the roar of the engines of dozens of Ferraris is something that just can’t be described. One of the things we were reminded of was just how fit these drivers have to be. As you can imagine there is a certainly level of skill and fitness needed to keep a car steady for numerous laps going 150+ mph.
Despite the teams being extremely busy and focused on the task at hand, team Pirelli made time to sit with us to discuss their history, how the relationship with Ferrari came about and just about any other questions we had for them. We even had a few minutes to catch up with the techs from Shell oil who went into detail about the role they play and the amount of testing that goes into their fuel.
Following our Q&A session we made our way up to the Ferrari VIP suite where we took in the final race of the weekend. This was the pièces de résistance. In addition to the beautiful views and a superb vantage point of the race, the VIP suite was an education in luxury. We were greeted with champagne and small bites as we made our way to our seats. The DJ provided the soundtrack which served as the perfect backdrop to an amazing event. If high-end shopping was your thing, Hublot and the Ferrari shop satisfied your needs.
A final surprise of the day once the races were complete was the opportunity to do a “Hot Lap” (one full lap on the racetrack) in a Ferrari. This was another one of those pinch yourself moments. Here is the car that I have written about for years, now I get a chance to get to do a lap with a world class driver. Truly amazing!
After my helmet was strapped on, it was go time. We were off just as quickly as I got in. Taking the sharp turns and high banks of Daytona International doing 120+ MPH was as breathtaking, as was this entire experience. As we returned to the pit, there was a part of me that wished my driver just floored it again.
Thank you Pirelli and Ferrari for the amazing experience and knowledge you shared with us.
Until next year!
Maro Onokpise / Founder/Editor