Factory tours can be booked through your official dealer and, in my opinion, must be done at least once during ownership. The tour itself is about two hours long and starts in the client hospitality area near the main gate (there will probably be customers in there who are picking up their latest purchase). You will be shown a short video in the hospitality area and then issued with a guest pass, radio and headphones (these allow the guide to broadcast their commentary and allow you to hear them over the noise of the machinery). Transportation around the factory is by mini bus and photographs are forbidden.
The first destination is the Mechanical Machining Area where the components cast in the foundry are finished off prior to assembly. It is a huge facility with row upon row of engine blocks, pistons, cylinder heads, etc, etc. You enter the building on the first floor and are immediately presented with a birds eye view over the mezzanine. The tour continues on the floor of the facility where you can get up close to the different stations that machine the parts that make up the engines. Also inside the building, near the Metallurgy department, is a small display of engines and cars.
All the buildings are spotless inside and out with everything ordered and in its place. Adding to the clinical feel are the micro gardens that are in planted indoors which help control the humidity.
The tour continues at the Engine Assembly Area. You are able to walk down the V8 production line and observe the V12 assembly stations (each V12 engine is built by a single person). The facility also makes all of the Maserati V8 engines. Every single engine is bench tested on the dynamometer before being sent out.
The main event are the Assembly Lines – you enter the building on the ground floor where the V8 cars (458, 458 Spider & California) are built. Stepping through the doors and onto the factory floor is incredible – partly assembled cars are moved around the factory attached to pincers that glide on the ceiling. In other areas the cars are moved from station to station on the “Red Carpet”. Directly in front of you as you walk is the end of the line where a freshly built Ferrari drives out of the door every 18 minutes. You will walk the production line and see the cars at all stages of assembly as well as the sub-lines such as dashboard and power train construction.
An elevator then transports you up to the first floor where the V12 cars (F12 & FF) are assembled. Again partly finished cars are transported along the line gripped into the pincers or atop the red carpet. What struck me was the sheer number of FF’s being built. About 1 in 6 cars on the line was an FF which surprised me as there seems to be a glut of second hand FF’s in the UK at the moment. Alongside the V12 line is the leather work area. Here, whole hides are laser cut and and lovingly stitched together by hand to make the interiors.
Next stop on the tour is the Ferrari Museum – as this is a public area you should ask your guide if they will give you the entry tickets so you can visit the museum after the tour. This will give you more time in the Racing division.
The bus will then take you to the Racing Division. Sadly, entry to the F1 area is not included but you will be dropped off next to the Fiorano Circuit which allows you to see cars being tested on track. The first stop is the XX Programme workshop. Here, customer cars (FXX & 599XX) are stored and maintained. You will be able to walk amongst the cars and see the work being carried out by the mechanics.
The highlight of the racing division for me was the next building – Corsa Clienti. Here customer cars (ex F1) are stored and maintained. I counted 10 cars in the workshop and a further 36 in the storage area – well over £100m worth! You will be are able to get up close and personal to famous Ferrari F1 cars driven by the best drivers in the world. These are the cars that I had watched on TV as a boy and later seen at various Grand Prix races.
The tour concludes at back at the hospitality area by the main gate where you are given back your cameras and bidden farewell.
Over the road from the main gate is the Ristorante Cavallino were Enzo himself used to eat lunch – it is well worth taking in a meal here. Another place to eat is Ristorante Montana, located by the Fiorano Circuit. The restaurant is frequented by Ferrari staff working at the track and has a magnificent collection of memorabilia. If you only have time for one meal I preferred the Montana over Cavallino.
Aside from the Ferrari Museum, I can also recommend a visit to the book store next to the Cavallino Restaurant that has a lot of Ferrari books and memorabilia for sale. There is also the official Ferrari Store to visit but it has the same kind of stuff as the shop in Regent Street.