Ferrari World - from Green Light to Red Speed

The Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park is a tribute to the marque's passion for power and performance

by 06 August 2010

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the first ever Ferrari theme park, opens its doors on 28 October 2010. It is a record-breaking enterprise in many ways: not least because it is the world’s largest indoor theme park. And if intensity of experience could be measured, it must be a record-breaker for pure, unadulterated exhilaration.

The park was designed by architectural firm Benoy, and in total it covers an area of 200,000 square metres. The design of the central building, with its graceful, streamlined and complex curves, evokes the body of a Ferrari GT. The structure is made entirely of metal and glass, with high-tech systems designed to reduce heat absorption for eco-efficiency.

Topped with the classic “rosso scuderia,” the bright red colour that has epitomized the Ferrari concepts for many decades, and the iconic prancing horse emblem, which at 65 by 48.5 metres, is the largest Ferrari logo ever created. These, however, are merely details of the architectural container. Just as the soul of a Ferrari car is what lies underneath the bodywork, and namely the wickedly gleaming metal of the power plant, Ferrari World's beating heart comprises the over twenty state-of-the-art attractions created by Jack Rouse Associates, a team of writers, designers and media specialists who create exceptional visitor experiences worldwide.

The fascinating journey into the world of Ferrari could begin with a historical review at The Racing Legends, or you could visit the Ferrari’s theatre, Cinema Maranello, for a screening of an episode from Enzo Ferrari’s adventurous life story, in the film “Coppa di Sicilia.” Explore the Ferrari factory in Made in Maranello where you will discover the complex process of designing, building and testing a Ferrari car. Take V12, a ride that plunges you deep into the heart of a 12-cylinder Ferrari engine. Go where no Ferrari has gone before on a 4-D journey though the fantasy world of Nello – an imaginary character whose name was borrowed from the town historically linked to the marque – in an attraction named Speed of Magic.

Stop by Galleria Ferrari to view past and present Ferrari models from around the world and discover Ferrari’s latest, hitherto unseen prototypes at Carousel. At Paddock you can enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes view of the Ferrari box during a Formula 1 race.

All these glimpses and explorations will leave you longing for some action. At Scuderia Challenge you can take the wheel of a Formula 1 car in one of the racing simulators. Hop on a Ferrari F430 Spider for a racing duel on the Fiorano GT Challenge. In order to experience the sort of acceleration that F1 drivers experience in every race, try G-Force, a tower ride that takes you up through the red roof of Ferrari World before you plunge down 62 metres, strapped into a seat based on the Ferrari Enzo, the 2002 sports car placed at number four in the list of top ten greatest Ferrari's of all time by American magazine Motor Trend Classic.

If you're thirsting for still more adrenalin, don your safety eyewear (goggles) and head to Formula Rossa – the world’s fastest roller coaster. Passengers are launched in a 16-passenger car by a 20,800 horsepower winch system (similar to that used to catapult jets off an aircraft carrier), and they embark on a twisting, winding two-kilometre circuit, with lofty highs and heart-stopping lows, and extremely sharp turns. Reaching a maximum speed of 240 km/h in under four seconds, you will truly believe that you are behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, except that you'll be screaming much more than Alonso, as you plummet from a height of 52 meters and take bends at 70-degree inclinations. Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso in fact was amongst the first to "test drive" the ride, and commented that “you simply have to remember to breathe, take in some air, and then just enjoy.”

At Ferrari World there is something for everyone. Even children can enjoy the thrills of a Formula One ‘driving experience.’ The 3-D show Driving with Champions tells the story of a young engineer who is taken on the ride of a lifetime with a racing champion on his first day working at the Ferrari factory, while The Pit Wall is an interactive theatre in which everyone can test their driving judgement in racing scenarios. Junior drivers from 7 to 12 years of age can take part in the Junior Training Camp, an interactive play area where activities include a waterless carwash, customized car construction, piloting remotely-controlled cars, paddling a miniature Ferrari and playing with a soft, child-friendly, foam F1 car. Kids can learn driving techniques using a scaled-down F430 GT Spider model, at the attraction named Junior GT. Once their training is complete, the budding racing drivers can participate in a Junior Grand Prix on an appropriately scaled-down racetrack.

Ferrari is one of Italy's best-known brand names, and so Ferrari World could not be complete without its signature Italian touch. Enjoy a bird’s-eye view voyage through Italy’s landscapes in Viaggio in Italia – in hot pursuit of a Ferrari.

You can also take a stroll or drive a 1950s 250 California Spider through 17 miniatures of Italy’s most popular landmarks at 1:20 scale, including the Alps, the racetrack at Monza, the Colosseum, and of course, Ferrari’s hometown – Maranello – in Bell’Italia. The Italian experience is heightened by tastes of the Mediterranean, with exquisite cuisine presented by a whole range of cafés and restaurants.

Ferrari World is located on Yas Island, which is quickly becoming Abu Dhabi’s number one entertainment and recreation destination. With the Yas Marina and Circuit, luxury hotels and resorts, and many attractions still in the pipeline, Yas Island is certainly the place to be. The opening of Ferrari World this autumn coincides nicely with the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix on Sunday 14 November 2010. Whether reflecting a conscious choice or the subtle hand of destiny, it is fitting that Abu Dhabi translates literally as "Father of the Gazelle" and has a flag predominantly coloured... red!

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