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$170m worth of Ferraris headed for racing days


More than $170 million worth Ferraris of are being primped, preened and primed today for the biggest Australian event in the history of the famed Italian brand.

That's the combined worth of more than 400 cars that have targeted Sydney Motorsport Park for the inaugural running of the Ferrari Racing Days, an event that combines everything from a series of grand prix speed runs to a children's play zone.

The first and only public appearance of LaFerrari, the sellout new $1.5 million Ferrari supercar, headlines the event but there are also nine F1 cars, a group of FXX customer racecars and two rounds of the 458 Challenge to spark the track action through Saturday and Sunday.

"It's the biggest event for Ferrari in Australia and probably the southern hemisphere," says Herbert Appleroth, chief executive of Ferrari Australasia. "To have 400 cars, when the total Ferrari carpark in Australia is only around 2000 cars, is just amazing. Lots of owners are driving their cars to Sydney and I know we have people coming from Perth for the event."

The headline cars have been freighted from Italy and around the Pacific region in an airlift that's too costly for Appleroth to discuss. It's the same story for the shipment of more than 40 container loads of cars, parts and equipment, as well as the factory technicians to prepare the cars and run a full-scale F1 pitstop simulation.

"But you should see the bill for the insurance. It's just insane," he jokes. The Racing Days in Australia follows similar successful events in Japan and Malaysia and, as always, F1 track action is the pivotal play.

Appleroth says nine grand prix Ferraris are installed in the garages at Sydney Motorsport Park, six for private owners and three that belong to Ferrari. One of those will be used by F1 test driver Marc Gene, one is a spare, and the third is just for display.

"You cannot take any chances. People want to see our cars in action," Appleroth says. The F1 cars will share the track with a rare 333 SP sports racer that will be handled by V8 Supercar driver Tony D'Alberto and there will also be sessions for FXX customer cars, two races in the 458 Challenge and track time for owners in their own cars.

"The owners are not going to puddle around. They'll have a go, and we'll have Marc Gene to coach them," Appleroth says. "It will be non-stop action. We're hoping for up to 10,000 spectators and they will see something unique in Australia."