Ferrari Day Ticino

Racing in the city



Lodrino / Campione d'Italia, September 26-27, 1998

Loris Kessel Auto
For the third year in a row
About 140 Ferrari in attendance
Celebrity guest drivers
Gran Premio di Campione d’Italia
Other cars of particular interest
A Sunday on the Lodrino airfield
Ferrari Day Ticino 1999

Loris Kessel, a former race driver who even had three Formula 1 entries in a Brabham-Ford BT4 back in 1976, runs the franchised Ferrari dealership for the canton of Ticino, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. The premises of Loris Kessel Auto – the company’s trading name - which are located in Grancia near Lugano, also house Rolls-Royce & Bentley and Maserati.

Loris Kessel Auto Loris Kessel Auto
Loris Kessel Auto

For the third year in a row, Loris Kessel has hosted his "Ferrari Day", a gathering of Ferrari customers and –friends. This year, the painstakingly planned event took place on September 26 and 27 on two sites: At the airfield of Lodrino (some 30 kilometers north of Lugano) and in Campione d’Italia, a small town located on Lake Lugano which should – geographically – be a part to Switzerland, but actually is an enclave belonging to Italy.

Lodrino AirfieldParcours Lodrino

The inhabitants are Italian citizens, but the official currency in Campione is the Swiss Franc. For these and some more reasons, this town is somewhat special. However, in the 1930’s one had hosted a Grand Prix in the streets of Campione d’Italia which was probably very close to the famous Monaco Grand Prix as far as the atmosphere is concerned.

250 GT PF Coupe s/n 1349GT 365 GTB/4 Competizone Conversion s/n 13855
F335 Competizione s/n 101685

There are the same narrow streets, the same differences of altitude and last but not least Campione does even have a Casino. Well, Loris Kessel somehow managed to convince the local authorities that the time had come to revive this Grand Prix, and so he was allowed to host his 1998 Ferrari Day Ticino on the "circuit" of Campione d’Italia.

Dino 246/156 s/n 0011312 P Boxer s/n 0888312 T4 s/n 038
F50 s/n 106915

The number of participating cars for the entire event had been limited to some 140, plus several special participants who brought more than just one car with them, mainly talking about the owners of historical competition and Formula One cars which were entered in the "Grand Prix of Campione".

Car Park in CampioneF40 s/n 85711

For safety reasons, it was not possible for the owners of the "normal" modern Ferrari to take part in the Grand Prix which was open only to the above mentioned competition and F1 cars plus some "official" cars provided by Loris Kessel Auto, including three F40 and one customer’s yellow F50. One should also mention that a remarkable number of Ferraristi had come from nearby Italy to attend the event.

Loris Kessel’s still excellent relations to the world of motor racing became obvious when one noticed that three celebrity drivers (or to be more exact: three former Ferrari Formula One pilots) were present that weekend: René Arnoux, Jacky Ickx and Arturo Merzario.

Jacky Ickx Rene Arnoux

The famous drivers piloted one F40 each (the cars provided by Loris Kessel) and René Arnoux once even drove the already mentioned yellow F50 which was the official pace-car of the event.

The event started on Saturday morning at the airfield of Lodrino which is apparently run by the Swiss airforce. This was the check-in site for the participants and guests, and during the morning it was already possible to do some laps on the parcours which had been established on the airfield’s runways. About midday, one drove to Campione d’Italia where the cars were left in the Casino’s parking lot.

Paddock Campione
Paddock CampionePaddock Campione

The paddock for the "Grand Prix" – not a real competition, of course, but actually consisting of several fast demonstration laps – had been placed there as well, and so it is no wonder that Campione faced a massive number of spectators although the weather was not that nice unfortunately. It was relatively cold and short showers of rain were frequent during the day. However, large grand stands had been erected along the track and many spectators had gathered on the balconies of the mansions adjacent to the circuit.

Noted Swiss collector Engelbert Stieger had brought almost his entire "Turning Wheels Collection" to Campione; some of his cars were driven by his sons Christoph and Patrick – well-known through their engagement in the Shell Historical Challenge – while some of the others were on display only in the paddock tent and on Campione’s market place, including Stieger’s latest addition to his collection, the 250 MM Spider Vignale s/n 0332M. Also on display: His 250 LM and the Dino 206 SP.

250 MM s/n 0332MM250 LM s/n 5897
206 S s/n 010

Christoph and Patrick drove the 512 M and the 312 PB as well as the rarely seen yellow 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione (s/n 1931GT), the 250 GTO ‘62 and the 312 T4 Formula 1. The 512 BBLM (s/n 27579) had been prepared for action, too, but eventually remained undriven.

512.M.1018.FDT2.016 312 P Boxer s/n 0888
250 GT SWB s/n 1931GT250 GTO s/n 3589GT

The Formula 1 demonstration – which was the most spectacular one of the day, of course – also included Corrado Cupellini in his Dino 246/156 Formula 1 s/n 0011, Guido Ferrari in the unique 312 B3 "Spazzaneve", Enrico Comerio in his 312 T3 and Jo Vonlanthen in a turbo-charged F1/86.

312 B3 Snowplough s/n 009312 T4 s/n 038

The latter had also brought his 1954 500 F2 with him which was on display in a building. On show in front of that building: A 1997 F310 B Formula 1 (s/n 175), apparently provided by the factory. Freddy Plangger from Germany showed up with his F92 A F1, but for some reason the car remained unused during the weekend.

But the performance of the Stieger brothers in the 512 M and the 312 PB together with Fredy Lienhard’s 333 SP was outstanding, too; especially as far as the noise was concerned, the run of the sports prototypes was very close to the one of the Formula One cars.


Another very impressive car, not only by its acoustics: Max Lustenberger’s 365 GTB/4 Daytona Competizione s/n 13855, 5th in the GT class in the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans, then entered by Luigi Chinetti’s N.A.R.T.

365 GTB/4 Competizone Conversion s/n 13855

Aside of the competition and formula cars, there were some interesting historical road cars to be seen at Campione as well. Loris Kessel had organized some demonstration laps on the track for these cars, too, the oldest one being the 250 GT Coupé Boano of Giovanni Piero Rotundo from Italy.

250 GT Boano s/n 0547GT250 GT PF Coupe s/n 1349GT

Andreas Feigenwinter was present with his 250 GT Coupé Pininfarina which featured the adequate Texas registration plate "ENZO". Among the four Daytonas present at Campione was one nicely restored white example with perspex headlight covers and one spyder; unfortunately it is unknown whether the latter was an original one or a conversion. Another car from the 365-family did not look like something special at the first glance, but a look at the serial number of Fredy Bieri’s red 365 GT4 2+2 revealed that this car was the very first prototype of this Ferrari four-seater.


After the Saturday had ended with a gala dinner in the casino of Campione, Sunday started at the Lodrino airfield. During the entire day, the participants could use their cars on the parcours on the airfield, and the Swiss Ferraristi are well-known for their intense relationship to track days especially since Switzerland has a speed-limit on motorways of 120 km/h only. Although it rained all the morning, the weather conditions did not keep the participants from chasing their cars around the corners. A hangar had been turned into a restaurant where an excellent Italian buffet was offered. In the afternoon, the sun broke through the clouds and helped to increase the average speed on the runways which dried up quite quickly. Jacky Ickx took passengers around the track in an F40 and also tried an F355 GTS. In short, simply a perfect track day.

F40..FDT2.072F355 GTS s/n 102873

Good news: According to my current information, Loris Kessel will host his fourth Ferrari Day Ticino in 1999, and the event will probably again include the fantastic Gran Premio di Campione. For information one should contact Loris Kessel at:

Loris Kessel Auto SA
CH-6916 Grancia
Tel.: +41 / (0)91 / 99 45 571
Fax: +41 / (0)91 / 99 44 494

by Andreas Birner

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