Having conquered China and the Americas, Ferrari has embarked on a new adventure; the Magic India Discovery Tour, which gets underway from Mumbai on February 25 and returns to the same city on May 8 having covered a route stretching more than 11000km (6835 miles).
The car featured on this tour is the 612 Scaglietti, Ferrari's flagship GT. Two of these Prancing Horse berlinettas will embark on the voyage which comes in the wake of the "China 15,000 Red Miles" tour completed in 2005 and the "Panamerican 20,000" tour of 2006, both of which were hugely successful.
Ferrari is offering a total of 50 journalists from across the world the opportunity to take turns behind the wheel of a V12-powered 612 Scaglietti in the course of the 12-stage 72-day voyage of discovery of the delights and richness of India. The journalists will explore this fascinating country that combines modernity and tradition.
India is currently enjoying an exciting period of economic growth and a boom in its advanced technologies sector, yet remains rooted in the traditions of its ancient culture. This is a nation in which innovative infrastructure exists side by side with areas of completely unspoilt natural beauty.
Of course, Ferrari isn't new to this kind of marathon voyage. Its last such adventure was the Panamerican 20,000 tour during which two 599 GTB Fioranos traveled from the beaches of Brazil to the East Coast of the US, taking in tropical rain forests, arid deserts and snowy peaks as they traversed an entire continent. In 2005, we staged the spectacular Ferrari 15,000 Red Miles tour when two standard 612 Scagliettis covered a 24000km (14915 miles) route through China in what was a first for any automotive constructor in the world. To mark our 50th Anniversary in 1997, a F355 completed a round the world tour that took in the five continents with no less than 147 journalists from the various nations visited, taking turns behind the wheel.
The Magic India Discovery is divided into 12 stages and runs over 72 days. It starts in Mumbai at the Gateway of India, a monument celebrating the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the country. The two 612 Scagliettis will immediately head south along the stunning eight-lane motorway that is the jewel in the crown of Indian's infrastructure. The first stage ends in the city of Goa, a popular tourist destination once ruled by the Portuguese.
The tour continues further south to Mysore and then Trivandrum, the southernmost point of the Indian peninsula, before turning north towards Bangalore, the capital of India's innovative technologies industry. Hyderabad and Ramosi, home to the Bollywood film industry, provide the backdrop to a stage that ends in Vizak on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The 612 Scagliettis will then drive along the east coast to the city of Kolkata (Calcutta), once the headquarters of the legendary British East India Company.
The cars' journey along the river Ganges begins from Calcutta and runs via Varanasi, a sacred city to Hindus, and Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its Hindu and Jain temples. From here, the tour makes its way to Lucknow also known as the Golden City of the East. The next stage takes the Ferraris through the Corbett National Park and Tiger Reserve named in honor of the former man-eater hunter Jim Corbett.
The tour continues on towards New Delhi, following a northerly route to the Dharamsala, home of the exiled Dalai Lama, and Amritsar, the centre of the Sikh religion. The next stage runs from the Indian capital to the city of Jaipur, taking in Agra where the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the one of the seven wonders of the modern world, the Taj Mahal, as a monument to his dead wife in 1632.
The final two legs of the tour take the cars through all of the most famous areas of Rajasthan which is home to endless palaces built by the Maharajas and also calls to Jodhpur, the final stop-off before the cars make a triumphant return to India's industrial capital.
The Magic India Discovery will enjoy the invaluable support of the Tata Group, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Taj Hotels, Shell, Fiat India Pvt Ltd., Alcoa, Pirelli, Saima Avandero and OMR.
Assistance and spare parts will be provided by eight support vehicles: five Tata cars, two Fiats and one specially outfitted Iveco truck. In addition to the journalists driving the two 612 Scagliettis, photographers and video camera operators, the tour will also be accompanied by a technical assistance and logistics team for its entire duration.
The 612 Scaglietti is Ferrari's top of the range model and in line with its elegant, exclusive image, our guests will be wearing sophisticated colonial-style khakis and, to protect them from the blazing sun of this particularly hot season, a contemporary take by Borsalino on the famous Pith helmet.
The www.ferrariworld.com and www.media.ferrari.com websites will feature constantly updated news and high resolution images of the tour as it unfolds.
The two 612 Scagliettis (one red, the other white, both sporting a special livery) will feature a few modifications to allow them to negotiate the more difficult tracts of the tour. These include fitting an underbody protector made from 4mm duraluminium and a slightly higher suspension setting to deal with the road surfaces. Otherwise, they will be entirely straightforward production cars powered by a 540hp 65 V12 engine. Both cars will be fitted with a six-speed F1 gearbox and transaxle.