WHAT HAPPENS when you put one of Ferrari?s hottest new models on the track with one of Ferrari?s legendary F1 drivers behind the wheel?
Ferrari faithful were given the answer when seven-times F1 Champion, Michael Schumacher, took to the track at the wheel of Ferrari?s new 599 GTB HGTE. The drive was part of the most recent factory-offered Pilota Ferrari driving course at the company?s Fiorano track.
Schumacher was on-hand to demonstrate the improved capabilities of the Handling Gran Turismo Evoluzione (HGTE) package now offered on the 599 GTB.
HGTE customers will get lower, stiffer suspension, a grippier tyre compound, an exhaust which offers a sportier aural experience and revised settings for the magnetorheological dampers.
Also included in the HGTE package is a more aggressively styled grille, HGTE-specific 20-inch alloy rims and extensive use of carbon-fibre throughout the interior.
Ferrari?s Pilota driving courses are offered to Ferrari owners and span four different levels of difficulty: Basic, Advanced, Evolution and Challenge.
Specific courses are also offered for ice driving and also for drivers wishing to take part in Ferrari?s one-make racing series.
Pilota courses take place in Italy, the USA China and now Japan, however even if you are lucky enough to get the chance to attend, you may not find Schuey at yours.
Check out Ferrari.com to watch a video of the on-track action or click below for the full press release.
Michael Schumacher on the track with the 599 GTB HGTE
Maranello, 10 June 2009 - Michael Schumacher covered around 20 laps of Fiorano today at the wheel of the 599 GTB equipped with the Handling GT Evoluzione package that was recently introduced at the Geneva Show.
The seven-times World F1 Champion took to the track to try out the improved handling offered by the new set-up which emphasises the performance of this, Ferrari's most powerful berlinetta.
The Handling GT Evoluzione package includes a lower, stiffer ride, a new tyre compound offering even better levels of grip, modified magnetorheological damper settings that improve body control and an even more sporty exhaust sound. The HGTE package also includes a number of styling touches that distinguish it from the standard production car, including a more aggressive front grille, specific 20" rims and abundant use of carbon-fibre trim in the cockpit.
Schumacher took the 599 GTB HGTE to its very limits at the Fiorano track during one of the factory's Pilota Ferrari driving courses. These are organised exclusively for Ferrari owners and four levels of courses are available - Basic, Advanced, Evolution and Challenge, along with a special On Ice course and a dedicated one for those wishing to race in the traditional one-make racing series, the Ferrari Challenge. The courses have been run in Italy for over 15 years and, more recently, courses have also been set up in the USA, China and, from 2009, in Japan.
With its Pilota Ferrari driving courses, Ferrari offers owners a comprehensive range of expert tuition designed to progressively instruct drivers in the art of performance driving, enabling them to appreciate even more the handling characteristics of their cars, and help them use their full potential in absolute safety, both on the track and on the road.