Ferrari is an Italian automotive manufacturer in the Formula One World Championship, also involved in high-end and high-performance racing cars, supercars, and sports cars.
The company was founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929. At first, Scuderia Ferrari sponsored drivers and manufactured racing cars.
The company went into independent car production in 1946, eventually became Ferrari S.p.A., and is now controlled by the Fiat group.
The company is based in Maranello, near Modena, Italy.
In 2006, the premium performance brand sold over 1,400 cars in the United States under a strategy to produce one less car than total orders placed.
Enzo Ferrari never intended to produce road cars when he formed Scuderia Ferrari (literally "Ferrari Stable", and usually used to mean "Team Ferrari”) in 1929 as a sponsor for amateur racing drivers, headquartered in Modena. Ferrari prepared and successfully raced various drivers in Alfa Romeo cars until 1938, when he was officially hired by Alfa as head of their racing department.
On September 6th, 1939, Enzo quit working for Alfa Romeo on the proviso that he did not use the Ferrari name in association with races or racing cars for at least four years. From then on, beating Alfa Romeo in one of his own cars became Enzo Ferrari’s passion. On September 13th, Enzo Ferrari formed Auto Avio Costruzioni which ostensibly produced machine tools and aircraft accessories.
In 1940, Auto Avio Costruzioni built two versions of what Ferrari calls the 815 (8 cylinders, 1500 cc) on a Fiat platform for the last pre-war Mille Miglia. They were driven by young Alberto Ascari and Marquis Lotario Rangoni Machiavelli of Moderna, but failed to win.
In 1943, at the very height of the war, Auto Avio Construzioni moved out of Moderna and into Maranello where the first part of what was to become the Ferrari factory was built.
Enzo Ferrari began work on the first Ferrari late in 1945 with the ambition of powering it with a V12 engine. Specifications and drawings of this new car were released to the press in 1946. The car received its first test drive on the open road in March, 1947. This first Ferrari road car was the 1947 125 S, powered by a 1.5-litre V12 engine.
The 125 S's initial appearance was at Piacenza on May 11, 1947. It was driven by Franco Cortese, a driver who also acted as Ferrari’s travelling salesman in his machine tool business. In the 30-lap, 60-mile race, Cortese’s 125 S ran 27 laps before its fuel pump let go. Still, he set the fastest lap, showing his potential, and the car’s. Two weeks later in Rome, that potential was fully realized. After 40 laps and some 85 miles, Cortese and the 125 S took the checkered flag with an overall victory.
So began the Ferrari legend. Cortese scored another victory that year, plus a pair of seconds and two class wins. “We would race every Sunday to test the car,” Cortese recalled in Ferrari Tipo 166. “I was alone [and] the others were mainly [driving] Maserati. But we were superior, the Ferrari was a more modern car, I would say exceptional for that period.”
In 1988, Enzo Ferrari oversaw the launch of the Ferrari F40, the last new Ferrari to be launched before his death later that year, and arguably one of the most famous supercars ever made.
Enzo Ferrari's true passion, despite his extensive road car business, was always auto racing. For Enzo, Ferrari road cars were merely a way for him to fund his work with Scuderia Ferrari. His distaste for the road car customers became famous and he even accused them of buying Ferrari cars only as status symbols.
Scuderia Ferrari started as an independent sponsor for drivers in various cars, but soon became the Alfa Romeo in-house racing team. After Ferrari's departure from Alfa Romeo, he began to design and produce cars of his own. The Ferrari team first appeared on the European Grand Prix scene after the end of World War II.
In 1949, Luigi Chinetti drove a Model 166M to Ferrari's first win in motorsports, which was at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Chinetti drove the automobile for all except twenty minutes of the Grand Prix race. Chinetti soon became the American dealer for Ferrari and established the North American Racing Team, Ferrari's official racing arm. The dealership is reported to have kept the company in business through sales to wealthy Americans, such as Briggs Cunningham, who bought the first car Chinetti sold through the new dealership.
The Scuderia joined the Formula One World Championship in the first year of its existence, 1950. José Froilán González gave the team its first victory at the 1951 British Grand Prix. Alberto Ascari gave Ferrari its first World Championship a year later.
Ferrari is the oldest team left in the championship, not to mention the most successful. As of 2004, the team's records include fourteen World Driver’s Championship titles (1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004), fourteen World Constructors Championship titles (1961, 1964, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004), 179 grand prix victories, 3445 and a half points, 544 podium finishes, 174 pole positions, 11,182 laps led, and 180 fastest laps in 1622 grands prix contested.
Famous drivers include Tazio Nuvolari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Luigi Chinetti, Alberto Ascari, Phil Hill, Mike Hawthorn, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter, Gilles Villeneuve, Gerhard Berger, Nigel Mansell, Alain Prost, Jean Alesi, and Michael Schumacher.
Ferrari's first vehicle was the Ferrari 125S sports/racing model. In 1949, the Ferrari 166 Inter was introduced. It was the company's first move into the grand touring market, which continues to make up the bulk of Ferrari sales to the present day.
Several early cars featured bodywork customised by a number of coachbuilders such as Pininfarina, Zagato and Bertone.
The Ferrari Dino was the first mid-engined Ferrari. This layout would go on to be used in most Ferraris of the 1980s and 1990s. V8 Ferrari models make up well over half of the marque's total production.
For a time, Ferrari built 2+2 versions of its mid-engined V8 cars. Although they looked quite different from their 2-seat counterparts, both the GT4 and Mondial were closely related to the 308 GTB.
The company has also produced front-engined 2+2 cars, culminating in the current 612 Scaglietti and California.
Ferrari entered the mid-engined 12-cylinder fray with the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer in 1973. The later Ferrari Testa Rossa remains one of the most famous Ferraris.
Ferrari world records
- On May 17th, 2009, a 1957 250 Testa Rossa was auctioned in Maranello, Italy by RM Auctions and Sotheby’s. It sold for $12.1 million. At that time, it was the most expensive car ever sold at auction.
- On March 14th 2010, Ferrari were awarded a Guinness World Record for the most Formula One Grand Prix wins by one manufacturer.
- The Ferrari F430 broke the record for the fasted speed for a car driven blindfolded on March 31st 2010 reaching a top speed of (182.03 mp/h).
- The most expensive car sold at auction to date was the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB which was bought by DJ Chris Evans for $17,275,000 million on May 14th 2010.
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