FVA – Racers for a day

Maranello, 17 April – Today will no doubt be unforgettable for the five lucky winners of the Ferrari Virtual Academy competition. They were able to get their hands on a real Formula Abarth for a special test at the Fiorano circuit, with backing from Luca Baldisserri and the Ferrari Driver Academy engineers.

The youngsters were chosen as the best from a worldwide contest which saw them set the fastest time over virtual laps of Fiorano, Mugello and the Nurburgring. Over 20,000 contestants from 88 countries took part. The Ferrari Virtual Academy simulator is the first one produced on-line by the Maranello company in collaboration with Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and it was launched last September on www.ferrarivirtualacademy.com.

The fun began on Friday when the gates of Ferrari were opened for two Italians, David Greco and Matteo Secchioni, from Spain Jon Tanko, the German Martin Kronke and from Portugal, Joao Nunes, who then underwent some psycho-attitudinal tests. On Saturday it was time for a training session on the simulator used by the Ferrari Driver Academy to train its actual drivers, before getting to the most exciting part, slipping behind the wheel of a Formula Abarth and experiencing what it is like to be a real racing driver, even if it was just for one day.

Jon Tanko set the fastest lap of the day (1.15.078) before telling us what it felt like at the end of the session: “I felt as though I almost knew the track because having driven it on the simulator, I could remember every single corner. Naturally, this experience has been indescribable and a unique experience. It’s just you and the car, with your heart beating like crazy, with the smell of the tyres and the noise of the engine in your ears. It was a dream come true.”

Under Baldisserri’s supervision, the five contestants were able to get the most out of this truly unique event. “Over the three days, we offered the guys a progressive programme which meant they could test themselves in absolute safety at the wheel of a Formula Abarth. It was also useful for us, to analyse the effect the Ferrari Driver Academy courses can have on non-professionals.”

Two of the Ferrari Driver Academy drivers were on hand as special observers: Raffaele Marciello and Brandon Maisano, who both have previous experience of Formula Abarth. They tutored the five competition winners, giving them valuable advice on how to drive the car.