Ask any red-blooded Ferrari tifosi and they'll recognize the significance of the year 1947. That was the year the magic started. It was the year that il commendatore, Enzo Ferrari, started selling the first cars that bore his name. Many world championships, street car accolades, and happy customers later, and the company is still going strong. And now that the calendar is showing 2007, it's time for Ferrari's 60th birthday celebration.

And apparently the Panamerican 20,000 run for the launch of the 599 went better than hoped for and has spawned a sequel. To commemorate this special occasion a road rally will be held, beginning in Abu Dhabi on January 28th and covering 6 different continents along the way. The participants should reach the finish line in Maranello at the end of June. Abu Dhabi is significant as a starting point because it is the site of the future Ferrari theme park and a pretty big market for the Italian firm's vehicles. After crossing 50 different countries, the racers will reach Maranello around June 24th.

As publicity stunts go, this is a doozy. Parading a bunch of Ferraris around the world sounds like our idea of a good time, but it will be educational too. After all, something has to go on those batons. So Ferrari will be showing off 60 of its most important automotive innovations. Things like aluminum pliers for disc brakes, the electric differential, and the F1 gearbox. And it's obvious these innovations have kept Ferrari ahead of the game all these years.

In fact, as they explained in the briefing that accompanied the relay race announcement, business is thriving. Running at almost full capacity, riding a new wave of popularity since the 599 GTB Fiorano was launched, the company again took the opportunity to deny rumors of a new entry-level model, despite continued reports to the contrary. We hope they have a passenger seat open when they hit the States.

Press release after the jump.


PRESS RELEASE

Ferrari celebrates 60 year anniversary


Detroit (USA), January 8th, 2007 – Ferrari is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2007 with a major event from June 21st to June 24th in Maranello, Italy. Maranello will be the finish line in a "relay race" across five continents where participants will carry a baton embossed with symbols of the 60 greatest moments in the company's history. The relay represents an extraordinary, collective sign of enthusiasm that will bring together Ferrari clients and their cars representing every model and era.

The "Ferrari 60 Relay" will kick off on January 28th in Abu Dhabi, site of the future Ferrari theme park, and conclude in Maranello on June 24th, after traversing about 50 countries in 148 days. The central theme of the final events is technological innovation pioneered by Ferrari in the 60 years of its existence. For the occasion, Ferrari is assembling its 60 most important innovations, ranging from aluminum pliers for disc brakes to the electric differential and the F1 gearbox.

Against this backdrop Ferrari has organized its first concours d'élégance: a series of events on the track, at the factory and at the Galleria Ferrari in Maranello celebrating the elegance of the Ferrari. An Opera Omnia book will be published on the company's history, a collection of pictures and data on all the road cars and race cars built by Ferrari.

The baton for the Ferrari 60 Relay was specially created to symbolize the history of the company, from its first success at the Rome Grand Prix of 1947 to the Ferrari FXX of 2006. Our clients will carry the baton around the world in their cars. Each country along the way will dedicate to Ferrari an object representative of their local culture and traditions. The local Italian Embassies will then forward the objects to the Farnesina Palace in Rome for an exhibition of the whole collection. Once the exhibit is over, the objects will be auctioned off in Maranello, with the proceeds going to a charity organization.

From Abu Dhabi the long relay will proceed to Dubai, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. From the Emirates it will head east, to Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand. From Oceania it will fly to South Africa and then on to Latin America, reach Mexico, and from there continue on to United States and Canada. Then to Europe, where it will cross Portugal, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, the United Kingdom, Greece, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Turkey. It will then touch Egypt and Lebanon, and finally to Italy, where it will touch all the main cities finally arriving, after a special ceremony in Rome, in Maranello.

Of particular interest are the 60 symbols created for the 60 events. Enamel reproductions of them by Editalia (Gruppo Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato) will be applied to the baton, and 60 posters of the symbols will also be made. What makes these symbols unique is the fact that they were produced by six different creative teams, guaranteeing a vision of the whole of great graphic and symbolic interest. The following advertising agencies were the creators: Intesta e D'Adda, Lorenzini, Vigorelli, BBDO, Alessandro Migliorini of Area Creativa, Marco Morosini, Enzo Naso of the eponymous firm, and Wolfgang Seidl of Seidldesign.