Established to facilitate privateer racing teams running Ferrari GT cars in various series, the Corse Clienti division also runs the firm's elite XX development program that allows some of its best customers the opportunity to act as "client test drivers." In other words, people pay big money – and by big, we mean millions – to test out new equipment developed by Maranello's skunkworks before it's implemented on future road cars.
The program started with the Enzo-based FXX back in 2005, which was succeeded by the 599XX in 2009. But like the FXX led to the even more extreme FXX Evoluzione, so has the 599XX. More an upgrade package than a new car, the $250,000 evolution kit includes a bigger front splitter, giant rear wing with moving foils, a 30-horsepower upgrade to 740 and another two years of factory-supported track days.
The most recent was held at Japan's Suzuka circuit, where the 599XX Evoluzione hit the track for the first time since delivery to its eager new owners. It was also the first time the upgraded track car was run in public, following its debut at the Bologna Motor Show back in December. Of course, now that the 599 range is being phased out, we can't help but wonder what Ferrari will base its next developmental track car on: the new F12 Berlinetta? The 458 Italia? The upcoming Enzo successor? It's early to tell, but you can check out the 599XX doing its thing in the video clip and press release after the jump, along with the fresh crop of high-resolution images we've added to the gallery.
- A great success with a crowd of over 21,700 owners and spectators over the weekend
- The world's first shakedown of 599XX with new evolution package took its first ever appearance in Japan
- Mika Salo wows the Japanese fans
Suzuka, 18 March - The first Ferrari Racing Days in Japan took place at the Suzuka Circuit, with the weekend seeing owners involved in the non-competitive F1, FXX and 599XX programmes. The special event groups together the races for the entrants in the Asia Pacific series of the Ferrari Challenge Tofeo Pirelli and the track sessions for clients involved in the XX and F1 Programmes whereby the world's first shakedown of 599XX evolution package had its first appearance in Japan. Adding to the interest of the weekend programme, over six hundred Ferraris ran on the famous track over the weekend, thus providing a unique spectacle which ended with a thrilling display from Mika Salo, at the wheel of a F2008, the car the Scuderia raced in that same year's F1 championship. The Finnish driver also tried his hand in the two legs of the Asia Pacific Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli held for the first time in Japan. Going up against the regular series contenders at the wheel of a 458 Challenge, the racing proved to be exciting with plenty of passing moves.
High level of competition shows that this new championship is proving ever more popular with its competitors with thirty-one drivers attending this round. In the grid for those 458 Challenge cars running in the Trofeo Pirelli, the Race 1 was dominated by Hisamori Hayashi (Japan) who crossed the line ahead of Philippe Prette (Italy) and Motoaki Ishikawa (Japan). The Race 2 of Pirelli produced a spectacular result with victory going to Prette, who won over Hayashi and Pasin (Thailand). The situation is very open in the Coppa Shell, with the top spot in Race 1 going to Eric Cheung (Canada), who crossed the line in front of Alex Au (Chinese Hong Kong) and Gregory Teo (Singapore), second and third respectively, while Tack Sung Kim (South Korea) emerged victorious in Race 2, followed home by Au and Teo. Having the technicians, engineers, racing managers for our Challenge race all flown from Maranello, Ferrari's one make race remains one of the most unique experiences, which rolls into the next round in Shanghai.
The weekend was also an opportunity for the spectators to admire some beautiful classic Ferraris that have written the history of the Prancing Horse, as they took part in the Concorso d'Eleganza, promoted in conjunction with the prestigious watch brand, Hublot, a partner of the Maranello company. The Ferrari 250 GT SWB built in 1961 and completely restored by Ferrari Classiche department was awarded for 'Best of Show' while 250 GTO, another unique piece of historic value won the 'Preservation Trophy'. 'Excellence cup for restoration' went to the beautiful Dino 206GT built in 1968 and the '340 America Vignale Spider' built in 1951 was awarded for the 'Public's choice'. The success of the event was confirmed by the fact that the number of owners and spectators who attended over the weekend, exceeded the 21,700 mark. They also helped to raise over 8 million Yen with proceeds going to help the children of Ishinomaki, as a part of the many activities aimed by Ferrari at raising funds for the victims of last March's terrible earthquake in Japan.
'The first ever Ferrari Racing Days in Japan was an overwhelming success. Never before have so many Ferrari owners and fans from all over the world come together to celebrate the myth of Ferrari. The rich mix of Ferrari F1's & XX/ Challenge race cars, Super cars, classic Ferrari's and road going Ferrari's has never been seen before in this scale. Over 600 Ferrari's and over 21,700 owners and fans enjoyed the world of Ferrari at Suzuka. Ferrari Racing Days was the ultimate day for lovers of the Cavallino Rampante' commented Herbert Appleroth, the President & CEO of Ferrari Asia Pacific.