Ferrari North America President Maurizio Parlato was instrumental in establishing the Ferrari Driving Experience at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, the first Ferrari driving course conducted outside of the carmaker’s hometown of Maranello, Italy. At a recent session, Parlato offered his take on the Mont-Tremblant program and its purpose.
RR: What was the reason behind opening the North American school?
MP: First, it’s only open to Ferrari customers. We’re creating a kind of club. The Italian school has been around for 10 years, but North America is our most important market, with 30 percent of Ferrari production sold here.
RR: What makes the Ferrari Driving Experience a success?
MP: We selected instructors who are not only great drivers, but great drivers who can transfer their knowledge to the owner. When I first drove the 430 on the track, I could not believe how good it was. It’s a driving course, so it’s not intended for racing. The experience is about getting people to know what their 430 can do on the track. We think that is important for our customers.
RR: What are your plans for the Mont-Tremblant driving experience?
MP: We had 11 courses this year, and we plan to hold 15 or 16 sessions next year. We have options because the racetrack owner also owns the Ferrari dealership in Montreal, so we are not too dependent on the dates, and we can add more dates as we see fit. We consider this a home track.
RR: What are your immediate plans in North America?
MP: We will try to have a small number of second-level classes at Mont-Tremblant next year—not yet racing, but for guys who have taken the first course and want something a little more advanced. In Italy, at Fiorano, we have normal, advanced, and then racing. So we will have to follow the Italian standard on that. And this year, the majority of people who attended the course were from California. So we are thinking about doing something in California for the winter in 2008. That would allow us to increase the number of courses without compromising the quality of the experience.