Following Ferrari?s successful expeditions through China and the Americas, proving that the legendary super car makers products can go just about anywhere, Ferrari has announced that in 2008 it will explore India with two Ferrari 612 Scagliettis and a team of international media.
The ?Magic India Discovery Tour? will start in Mumbai on the 25th of February and return to the same city on the 8th of May. In between, the Ferrari 612?s will have endured over 11,000 kilometres of varying conditions throughout the Indian continent.
Fifty lucky journalists from across the world will be offered the unique opportunity to take turns behind the wheel of one of the 612 Scaglietti?s over the course of the 12-stage 72-day trek. Although, we suspect that road conditions and Ferrari engineers will strictly limit the amount of fun behind the wheel to zip, nada and none.
Ferrari isn?t new to this kind of marathon voyage. Its last such adventure was the Panamerican 20,000 tour during which two 599 GTB Fioranos travelled from the beaches of Brazil to the East Coast of the US, taking in tropical rain forests, arid deserts and snowy peaks as they traversed an entire continent.
In 2005, Ferrari staged the 15,000 Red Miles tour when two standard 612 Scagliettis covered a 24,000 km route through China in what was a first for any automotive constructor anywhere in the world.
To mark its 50th Anniversary in 1997, a F355 completed a round the world tour that took in the five continents with no less than 147 journalists from the various nations visited, taking turns behind the wheel.
Full details of the Magic India Discovery Tour route follow the image gallery.
The route and main stages
The Magic India Discovery is divided into 12 stages and runs over 72 days. It starts in Mumbai at the Gateway of India, a monument celebrating the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the country. The two 612 Scagliettis will immediately head south along the stunning eight-lane motorway that is the jewel in the crown of Indian?s infrastructure. The first stage ends in the city of Goa, now a popular tourist destination once ruled by the Portuguese.
The tour continues still further south to Mysore and then Trivandrum, the southernmost point of the Indian peninsula, before turning north towards Bangalore, the capital of India?s innovative technologies industry. Hyderabad and Ramosi, home to the Bollywood film industry, provide the backdrop to a stage that ends in Vizak on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The 612 Scagliettis will then drive along the east coast to the city of Kolkata (Calcutta), once the headquarters of the legendary British East India Company.
The cars? journey along the river Ganges begins from Calcutta and runs via Varanasi, a sacred city to Hindus, and Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its Hindu and Jain temples. From here, the tour makes its way to Lucknow also known as the Golden City of the East. The next stage takes the Ferraris through the Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve named in honour of the former man-eater hunter Jim Corbett.
The tour then continues on towards New Delhi, following a northerly route to the Dharamsala, home of the exiled Dalai Lama, and Amritsar, the centre of the Sikh religion. The next stage runs from the Indian capital to the city of Jaipur, taking in Agra where the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal, as a monument to his dead wife in 1632.
The final two legs of the tour take the cars through all of the most famous areas of Rajasthan which is home to endless palaces built by the Maharajas and also calls to Jodhpur, the final stop-off before the cars make a triumphant return to India?s industrial capital.
The Magic India Discovery will enjoy the invaluable support of the Tata Group, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Taj Hotels, Shell, Fiat India Pvt Ltd., Alcoa, Pirelli, Saima Avandero and OMR.
Assistance and spare parts will be provided by eight support vehicles: five Tata cars, two Fiats and one specially fitted-out Iveco truck.
In addition to the journalists driving the two 612 Scagliettis, photographers and video camera operators, the tour will also be accompanied by a technical assistance and logistics team for its entire duration.
The 612 Scaglietti is Ferrari?s top of the range model and in line with its elegant, exclusive image, our guests will be wearing sophisticated colonial-style khakis and, to protect them from the blazing sun of this particularly hot season, a contemporary take by Borsalino on the famous Pith helmet.
The two 612 Scagliettis (one red, the other white, both sporting a specially designed livery) will feature a few absolutely minimal modifications to allow them to negotiate the more difficult tracts of the tour.
The modifications involve the fitting of an underbody protector made from 4 mm duraluminium rather than plastic and a slightly higher suspension setting to deal with the tougher road surfaces. Otherwise, however, they will be entirely straightforward production cars powered by a 540 hp 65? V12 engine that delivers maximum torque of 60 kgm at 5250 rpm. Both cars will be fitted with a six-speed F1 gearbox and transaxle transmission.