Ferrari reveals details of new theme park
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Nick Gibbs has all the latest on the new 'FerrariLand' that will be built near Barcelona, including the thoughts of Sebastian Vettel
Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel has claimed a roller coaster to be built at the new FerrariLand theme park in Spain will get close to replicating the feeling of driving an F1 car.
FerrariLand will be the Italian carmaker's second theme park, joining FerrariWorld, which has been running in Abu Dhabi since 2010.
“Not everyone has an opportunity to drive a Ferrari and especially an F1 car,” Vettel said at the event. “This is a great chance to give [similar] emotion and feeling to the people.”
The 100 million euro (£72 million) park will be built alongside the PortAventura theme park on the Mediterranean coast, an hour north of Barcelona, and will feature the highest roller coaster in Europe at 112m. The height will ensure it’s also the fastest accelerating, reaching a speed of 112mph in five seconds, and subjecting riders to forces of up to 1.35G. PortAventura currently has Europe’s tallest roller coaster, the 76m high Shambala.
Executives at the new park, which is owned by Aston Martin shareholder InvestIndustrial, promise to have “real elements” on show such as previous Ferrari F1 cars and actual engines supplied by Ferrari in an effort to lend credibility, and appeal to car enthusiasts.
Computer renderings of the park show that it’ll also include a “drop-tower” in which passenger gondolas are dropped in free-fall before decelerating extremely quickly.
Meanwhile, other rides will include a Scalextric-style track, as well as “semi-professional” F1 simulators.
There will be a faux Italian street scene with trattorias, and reproductions of architectural landmarks from the country will sit alongside a building that houses a reproduction of the Ferrari production line in Maranello, Italy.
Details of further attractions are still to confirmed, but there will be a ride touted as “perhaps the most important” of them all by a spokesman. “It’s something completely different – something between ride and experience,” he told Telegraph Cars. One line of speculation is that it will require riders to wear Oculus Rift-style 3D goggles to experience being in an F1 race complete with physical sensations.
The 75,000 sq metre park will also include a five-star Ferrari-themed hotel, something that Abu Dhabi doesn’t have, although this is unlikely to open at the same time as the park, executives said. When completed, the rooms will feature Babyliss V1 Ferrari hairdryers, an example of one of around 60 companies that pays the Italian firm to use its brand name.
Licensing deals earned Ferrari 54 million euros in 2013, the last time it reported a figure for this lucrative side of its business, and the ceremony to mark the start of construction was a good example of how Ferrari leverages its star power to boost recognition for its linked brands.
Along with Vettel, the boss of the Ferrari F1 team, Maurizio Arrivabene, gave a speech, while outside a small but visually arresting line-up of the brand’s road car range was assembled. Vettel and Arrivabene helped cement a signed brick taken from Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari’s house onto a plinth that will be displayed in the park.
Ferrari has said that this will be its only theme park in Europe, meaning that it won’t repeat the venture in its home country.
This made more sense when the park was first announced last year, because at the time Ferrari had the perfect ambassador in its star Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. He has since moved to McLaren, but there is one small link left between the Italian firm and the park’s Spanish location. As was showcased by red and yellow skips at the construction site, Ferrari’s colours match those of the local Catalunya region.