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Spa-Francorchamps, 30th - 31st of July

The German Ferrari dealer and restorer Uwe Meisner and his Modena Motorsport workshop can look back on 30 years in the Ferrari business. Within these years the Ferrari specialists has built up a reputation for restoring race ready sports and formula cars and to give the owners of these cars the opportunity to enjoy them the way they were intended for 1993 the first track day was held. Now 20 years later both the company and the track days were celebrating a round anniversary with the biennial event in Spa-Francorchamps. The track days are usually a fixed date for all Ferraristi in Germany or the surrounding counties and attract a variety of road and race cars with a special focus on Formula 1 as Modena Motorsport is official partner of the F1 Clienti.

On the last two days of July more than 200 Ferrari found their way to the circuit in the Ardennes to fill the parking lot and the paddocks, they were joined on the track by several classic cars or modern supercars of Alfa Romeo, Maserati or Aston Martin.

As the price development of the last years permanently reduced the amount of high valued cars driven in races or at road rallies the track days with a closed off race track and no timed races are one of the last opportunities to enjoy these cars with reasonable risks but certainly this trend also affected the track days. Regular guests comparing the 2013 event with previous editions clearly saw a reduction of the entry list especially in of earlier race cars and more modern street cars instead. The most significant reduction could be seen in the Formula 1 entries as just half a dozen cars were running these days compared to double the amount two years before. When looking for a reason some thought it might be the late date in the calendar compared to previous years as it was in the holiday season this year or the forthcoming Ferrari Racing Days in a few weeks on the Hockenheimring that is also part of the F1 Clienti programme.

In the sports car category the field included a very rare Ferrari 308 GT/M that was driven on Tuesday afternoon. Other cars from the prototype era were a trio of 512M, 312 PB and 512 BBLM brought to Spa by the Swiss Turning Wheel Collection to be driven by Patrick and Christoph Stieger just as in the days of the Historic Ferrari Challenge. Additionally two Ford GT40 could be seen plus a very rare Isdera I108, the Mercedes-Benz powered small series sports car is a rare sight on the race tracks nowadays. More modern but of the same category was the Porsche 962C, the Maserati MC 12 and the Aston Martin DBR9.

The historic group was led by a 250 GT SWB Competition and a 166 MM Touring Barchetta from 1953 and included a couple of 365 GTB/4 Daytona both in road and race trim. But not only 12-cylinder Ferraris were present as a sole 500 TR was lapping the circuit on both days together with some Dinos. Over the last months more and more Alfa Romeo GTA appeared on the different events and no less than 7 examples could be seen in Spa. Star of this group was without doubt the Cobra Daytona Coupé that also won the award for the best “non-Ferrari” in the concours.

The last group was reserved for modern race and road cars and several 8-cylinder models ranging from the 308 GTB to the latest 458 Italia could be seen, some of them modified for track use, others properly race prepared for some race series like the 458 GT3 that already drove the 24 hours at the Nürburgring. Actually this was the biggest group as many owners took the chance to experience the circuit with the famous La Source and Eau Rouge with their street car.

But not only did the cars take the track but also a concours d’Elegance was held on Wednesday during the lunch break on the main straight. An international jury led by Jacky Ickx and noted Ferrari historian Keith Bluemel selected the most interesting cars in the different categories to be presented on the start-finish line to the public. Unfortunately the setup of the cars was a little bit chaotic as the crowds entered through a side entrance making a proper line-up impossible. Most of the owners just left their car on the next spot watching the hustle and bustle around their cars. It took a while to get the spectators behind the wall to get the traditional group shot with the best of show cars in the front line. From the same stable the superb unrestored 166 MM Touring Barchetta (0052M) and the 250 GT SWB California Spider (2015GT) with Le Mans and Sebring history were awarded best racing sports car and best road car, the Best of Show went to the Ferrari 312 F1 with the famous spaghetti exhaust pipes (Anamera.com sponsored).

Although it is difficult to compare an event with previous editions it still is one of the most interesting Ferrari events around. Beside the action on the track the spectators have the possibility to watch the cars in close when walking the pit lane and the paddock, something that is not possible on many other race weekends. On the other hand it clearly shows the development on the market and not few of the driving owners of these cars think that it is going into a wrong direction as the automobiles more and more become immovables. Just when looking at the intended prices of the forthcoming Monterey auctions most of the cars are bought as investment to park money and not few of the new owner are not even able to drive cars like a 512M on a race track as they were driven several years ago at the Ferrari Challenge.

Certainly the following years will be interesting to see and maybe the market has settled a little bit in two years when the next Modena Track Days will be held, hopefully with even more cars on the track than this year.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof