Have you always wanted to drive a Ferrari? Here’s how to do it – we’ll tell you all about our amazing Ferrari driving experience in Italy, at the Modena Race Track! ***UPDATED 2023
My mother is from Modena, and Ferrari has always been part of our lives. I remember driving a radio-controlled Ferrari Testarossa in the late Eighties, and we weren’t allowed to cheer for anyone but Ferrari during Formula One tournaments.
Nick is also a massive F1 fan, so when we got the opportunity to spend four days exploring the Motor Valley, the part of Emilia-Romagna where motoring companies like Ferrari, Ducati, Lamborghini, and Maserati have their headquarters, we jumped at the chance.
And when we heard that a Ferrari driving experience was included in our programme… we literally jumped with joy.
After visiting iconic Motor Valley sights like the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena, the Lamborghini Museum and Factory, and the Maserati Museum, we just couldn’t wait to drive a real Ferrari around a race track.
The experience would be a little different from what we had imagined – but no less amazing. Read on to discover why!
Don’t have time to read? Book one of these amazing Ferrari driving experiences and tours!
- Bologna: Ferrari VIP Experience with Test Drive and Museum
- Milan: Test Drive a Ferrari 458 on a Race Track with Video
- From Milan: Ferrari Full Day with Lunch
- Milan: Test Drive a Ferrari 488 on a Race Track
- Maranello: Test Drive Ferrari 458
- Maranello: Test Drive Ferrari 488 Spider
Ferrari Driving Experience at the Modena Race Track
The Modena Race Track
We reached the Modena Race Track early one late September morning. It was sunny but just a little misty, with wisps of fog rising from the valley, expanding as far as we could see.
The Modena Race Track was built in 2011, to replace a former race track, the Aerautodromo di Modena, location of some of the first F2 races. The Aerautodromo di Modena was first born as an airport, and it was then used as a testing track by both Ferrari and Maserati.
As the city grew around it, it was decommissioned in the 1970s, and it became a public park twenty years later.
The new Modena race track was planned specifically for test drives – it is 2068 meters long, with straight sections and a total of 11 turns. On the straight sections, drivers and passengers are able to ‘feel the speed’ of the supercars they’re in, and the turns allow them to test the incredible manoeuvrability of Ferrari and other supercars.
In 2012, the Modena Race Track subscribed to an agreement to promote electric and sustainable mobility, with the aim of becoming the first carbon-neutral race track in Italy.
There’s actually a lot of research into sustainable technology in the world of supercars – the Lamborghini factory in nearby Sant’Agata Bolognese has been certified as carbon-neutral since 2015. I bet you didn’t expect that from a supercar manufacturer – and if you want to know more, make sure you visit and take a top secret Lamborghini factory tour!
Nowadays, the Modena Race Track organises a number of activities, including ‘green driving courses’ showing people how to maximise the use of fuel, motorbike courses, open days when people can come and drive their own car, and naturally, Ferrari test drives – the reason why we were all there.
The Car – Ferrari 458 Challenge
The Modena Race Track offers a variety of supercar driving experiences – so you can also opt for a Lamborghini, if you’re not a Ferrari person!
It’s possible to choose between a Ferrari 488 Challenge (their best car), Ferrari 458 Challenge, Ferrari 430 Challenge, Lamborghini Gallardo Trofeo, Lamborghini Huracan Trofeo, and KTM X-Bow.
Our Ferrari driving experience was going to be in a Ferrari 458 Challenge. I’ll give you some technical details in case you’re a car person – it was introduced during the Bologna Motor Show in 2010, as an improvement from the F430. It’s 100 kg lighter, thanks to changes in the seats, wheels and chassis.
The Ferrari 458 Challenge has a 4.5 liter V8 engine, with 340 km/hour (21o miles) top speed, and accelerates between 0-100 km/60 miles in 2.6 seconds.
Something that really surprised me was how light the car was – only 1200 kilograms, about as much as my own Fiat Panda! As you enter the car, you’ll see why – the interiors have been stripped of all but the essentials, and seats are bare-bones.
These racing cars are not road legal and they’re not meant to be comfortable – the aim is speed!
Our Ferrari Driving Experience
After entering the Modena race track, we were taken to a waiting room with drinks and snacks, where we were also briefed. There, we found out some unexpected news – we wouldn’t be able to drive the Ferrari ourselves, we would go around the track as passengers.
To be honest, I didn’t mind that at all – I thought that being driven by a professional would be a far better way to enjoy riding in a Ferrari 458 at its fullest, with its incredible braking and acceleration abilities.
We all signed a disclaimer, and one by one, we were handed a black balaclava (that we got to keep!) and a blue and yellow racing helmet – the colours of the Modena race track.
There were two different Ferrari 458 Challenge – a yellow and a red one. To be honest, I really, really wished I would get to ride on the red one. Even though the earliest Ferraris were yellow, ‘Ferrari red’ has been the signature colour for decades, since Italy was assigned the colour red in racing competitions.
The gods listened to my wish, and I did indeed get to sit on the red Ferrari 458. My heart was pounding as I climbed into the racing seat – they’re lower than regular car seats, and moulded to fit the shape of your body.
An assistant buckled me up in the 5 point racing harness, while a myriad of questions coursed through me. How would I film? Should I use my phone or GoPro? Would I even be able to film at all, or would I get sick at the first turn?
The acceleration took me by surprise. It felt like being on a rollercoaster and a plane all at once – there was just enough time for me to realise that we were actually moving, and we were already topping 180 km/h (110 miles).
Then came the braking and turning, the part I was worried about given my tendency to get motion-sick. The driver hit the brake, flipped the paddles on either side of the steering wheel, and within seconds our speed had dropped to 70 km/h (43 miles), and we were turning smoothly.
The first lap was over in a flash, before I could even press the ‘record’ button on my phone. Then, there we were again – zipping down the straight stretch, accelerating and braking faster than I could even realise what was going on.
Then, once again, it was over – I would do it all over again, I thought, as I took my helmet off with a huge grin on my face.
We didn’t end up driving our own Ferraris, but being driven by a professional allowed us to experience the full potential of the cars.
Ok, maybe not full full, as we only hit 200 km/h (125 miles) maximum, a far cry from the 340 km/hour (21o miles) top speed – but still, there’s no way I would have been able to flip paddles/hit brakes/hit throttle as seamlessly as our professional driver did.
How to Plan Your Own Ferrari Driving Experience in Italy
So, we didn’t get to drive our own Ferrari, but the good news is that YOU CAN! In Italy, you can have Ferrari driving experiences in many places, including both on race tracks and on the road. Here’s all you need to know!
-At the Modena Race Track
If you’re visiting Modena, Bologna, or other towns around Emilia Romagna, the Modena race track will probably be the easiest place for you to plan a Ferrari driving experience.
You have two options – going around the race track as a passenger, or driving yourself.
As a passenger, the Ferrari test drive will cost you €130 per lap – we recommend a minimum of two laps, three if possible. Trust me, it’s FAST!
To drive yourself, the price depends on what car you choose, and how many laps you want to do – you can choose between 2 and 5, the first one as a passenger, and the rest behind the wheel.
Here are the prices:
-Ferrari 430 Challenge – 2 laps €440, 3 laps €540, 4 laps €640, 5 laps €700
-Ferrari 458 Challenge – 2 laps €690, 3 laps €750, 4 laps €870, 5 laps €950
-Ferrari 488 Challenge – 3 laps €775, 4 laps €905, 5 laps €990
You can also opt to drive a Lamborghini or the KTM – check here for prices and details, and don’t forget to book in advance!
-On Other Race Tracks
Ferrari driving experiences are on offer on other race tracks around Italy.
If you’re staying in Milan, the race track in Castelletto near Pavia also offers Ferrari driving experiences – find out more and book here!
-On the Road
Driving a Ferrari on a race track allows you to really enjoy these supercars without having to worry about traffic lights/other people on the road/speed limits, but if you want to pretend you’re on an Italian road trip in your own Ferrari, you can also hire one and drive it on the road!
The best place to head to, if you want to experience a Ferrari test drive, is Maranello, offering you the chance to try out different Ferrari models on a spin around town. This tour from Bologna includes transport, a tour of the Ferrari Museum and race track, and a Ferrari test drive.
Our Ferrari Driving Experience was sponsored by Turismo Emilia Romagna as part of the Social Travel Summit conference. We would like to thank iAmbassador and Motor Valley for the wonderful experience.