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F40, Birth of a Myth

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Text: Jacky FAVRE - Photos: Christelle SOMMEREISEN - Jacky FAVRE

Having decided not to go to the Finali Mondiali at Mugello, Forza Passione 2015 season should have stopped to Dreams of Sick Children. But it was not counting on Yan Denes, which invites us to a conference on the birth of the Ferrari F40, a model that has fascinated me for a very long time since it is the very source of my passion for this brand. The F40 I know it well enough, I saw a number of copies and I even run several times on board. Already in June, when Sport & Collection, I met Leonardo Fioravanti, chief designer at the time at Pininfarina. This time it's a former employee who will tell us about his time at Ferrari.

Other speakers are planned, including Jean-Claude Biver, Chairman of the watchmaking division at LVMH. He is the origin of the partnership between Hublot and Ferrari. Unfortunately after many recent trips, he could come and present the reconciliation between the two firms.

Above all, it is essential to talk about the organizer of this conference: l'AEDIL. Its purpose is simple: "Our association supports Entrepreneurship as an engine of growth and economic prosperity by valuing Creativity, Innovation and Know-how" Italian "in Luxembourg". It is the link to the economic, industrial and especially human between Italy and Luxembourg. As its president Patrick Picco, the members of this association have a strong connection with Italy, often starting at zero. To explore in more detail the tasks of the AEDIL, I invite you to visit its website.

Originally scheduled for 40 people, the conference was to take place at the Ferrari Concession Francorchamps Motors, but success has been such that it is ultimately more than 250 people who wished to be present. To respond, partially, to that request, it is ultimately the local of Autopolis who hosted the evening.

This is Patrick Picco who opened the conference by presenting the AEDIL, the program and most importantly, this event partners:

Our keynote speaker is called Luca Picco, and that is in front of a curious audience he tells his 11 years at Ferrari. His path is not trivial. It is indeed one of the few people who participated in development of the F40, to have rubbed shoulders Enzo Ferrari, and above all he was present when the latter requested that the F40 should be created. In 1986, he was employed directly in the department "test" which allows him to work with people like Dario Benuzzi or the drivers of the Scuderia.

Moreover, to introduce himself, he shows us three portraits: Dario Benuzzi, the famous test driver for Ferrari. Domenicali (well before he was Director of the Scuderia) and Enzo Ferrari. The second image shows two photos, the first in hiring, the second, almost at the end of his career while Luca Di Montezemolo presented him with the honors for his work. You notice that these are old scanned photos, made for video which I then took pictures. Quality is greatly impaired.

Luca tells us very quickly that his narrative is made of stories, he is not there for us to read the datasheet of the F40 nor to have any timeline of history. If you read "My terrible joys" of Enzo Ferrari, it's a bit the same principle. If Luca can now tell us his memories, it is primarily because he held upon his arrival in Maranello a newspaper, on which he wrote a daily commentary on his work. I will not comment on each of the extracts he told us because he alone is worthy. Here is a selection of the most memorable.

His first meeting with Enzo Ferrari, while working on a prototype of the Mondial in Fiorano. Rather impressed with the personable Ferrari, he confesses not to have conducted wide at that time.

Luca tells his ride around Maranello in a 288 GTO Evoluzione driven by Dario Benuzzi who are arrested by the Carabinieri! It's when Enzo Ferrari discovered, by chance, this GTO Evoluzione in a workshop he said: "This is the car that we must build." Luca was one of the few men present at that time. The development of the F40 was then started and the 348, presented that day internally, was no longer one that would celebrate Ferrari's 40 years as originally planned.

The presentation of the first prototype of the F40 at Fiorano. At that time, the code-named was F120, but the prospective trade name was Le Mans 3000. Name that will be in default because of the right to use the famous french track name.

Be aware that the development has been very rapid. Pininfarina, appointed designer of the brand, took 100 days to wrap the structure and mechanics of carbon and kevlar dress. The first prototype was also done quickly. Its headlights were not yet manufactured, they were replaced by black hoods. The mirrors, they were made of wood!

Luca also explains some stories on development, the lightweight coating the interior to save weight, the dynamic tests with the first performance graphs and much later, the last engine F40 product.

Luca was also involved in the realization of the F40 of Gianni Agnelli who could not drive a car with a clutch. This has been adapted with an automatic clutch. He continues with the LM developments (back to the famous name) in Michelotto, Bridgestone's integration at Ferrari, one of the first final drafts by Pininfarina.

The previous slides were divided into two sections as it deems essential in this work: creativity and innovation. The last major deems value is leadership. And who better than Enzo Ferrari can symbolize this notion? Luca has previously mentioned his first meeting with "El Commendatore", here this time one that will be one of the last. In February 1988, 18th more precisely, Enzo arrived in the factory at noon and asked to stop work, pushing everything and install tables. It was his 90th birthday. He invited the entire plant to eat with him, explaining that it would be his last birthday. He thanked his staff and told them that it was now up to them to continue the Ferrari. As a gift, each received a miniature of the F40 with his name. On August 14, 1988 Italy lost an ambassador.

It is impossible for me to make you feel the emotion afforded by Luca Picco in 1h30 but the whole room has unanimously applauded him. We learned many things, but none is in a book. Can I only hope that one day Luca publishes his newspaper. If he reads me ...

As you have guessed, a F40 throne before us from the beginning. It is that of the former president of the Club Ferrari Luxembourg from the early 90s, who received it through the help of Piero Lardi! A rare F40 still first-hand that rolls regularly.

And finally, this is Andrea Militello, an Italian-Luxenbourgeois designer at Ferrari style center, came as spectactor who explains the links between style and conception of cars today, but also derived products, including watches Hublot, made in this center.

Here is the 1992 F40 that displays 64000km. It is maintained with care.

Then another, accompanied by a work of Yan Denes, which exposed a beautiful collection of paintings.

A F50 prisoner of its barriers ...

And an unprecedented (for us) Enzo Nero Daytona with carbon rims and Tan leather. Very beautiful!

Francorchamps Motors came with a 488 GTB two-tone.

A huge thanks to Luca Picco for his story, in brief part, it has dedicated to practically everyone.

For a Ferrari enthusiast like me and especially of the F40, this event has exceeded my expectations. Among the surprises was expected Dario Benuzzi in person. Unfortunately he had to stay at the bedside of his sick mother. This does not detract from the quality of the evening which was offered to us.

Again, a big thank you to Patrick Picco and theAEDIL, to Yan Denes, to Luca Picco of courseand all partners: Ferrari, Francorchamps Motors, Hublot, Autopolis, Maison Moderne, the Ferrari Club Luxembourg, Steffen Traiteur who regaled us and all the other sponsors.

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