Ferrari’s most dedicated customers are invited to join the XX programme and drive track-only models such as the FXX K
You can’t drive the Ferrari FXX K on the road. You can’t go racing in it. If you want to own one, Ferrari has to invite you to part with €2.2 million (£1.5m) plus local taxes for the privilege. All 40 FXX Ks were sold before the wider world even knew about it.
That’s not a normal way of buying a car, but the FXX K is hardly normal. The LaFerrari-based FXX K is a 1021bhp V12 hybrid track toy, a high-tech tour de force of active aero, advanced driver assistance and chassis systems and Formula 1-inspired tech.
Fantasy stuff, then, but just what purpose do these most extreme of Ferraris serve?
“We call it the laboratory,” says Enrico Galliera, Ferrari’s commercial chief and the man who oversees the Corse Clienti programme (Ferrari’s arm that will sell you anything that’s not a road car, including old F1 cars) in which the XX cars sit.
“We take an existing car and make it more fun and fast,” he continues. “The clients then buy them and work with us and become part of the team. They like to drive, enjoy it and have fun, but some are like official drivers; they’re very fast and their comments are up to the point. We always listen.”
The FXX K is the third XX model from Ferrari in the past decade. The Enzo morphed into the FXX in 2005 and the 599 GTB Fiorano spawned the 599XX in 2009. Their existence allows Ferrari to test out advanced new technologies that can filter onto its road and GT racing cars, with the feedback coming directly from the owners.
“Road cars have homologation concerns, race cars have rules; these have no barriers,” Galliera says. “We test on them what we can’t on road or race cars. Customers tell us if the technology is interesting or not, then we see if it’s suitable to develop further for the road cars.”
Examples of tech dripping down to Ferrari’s road cars include the advanced aero package from the 599XX that found its way onto the 599 GTO, while subsequent Ferrari road cars have adopted active aero. What clues might the FXX K offer to a future Ferrari 488? A hybrid system, perhaps?
“We’ll test the hybrid system first on the XX,” says Galliera. “We’re still working on it.”
He concedes that the programme is an expensive one to run, but “if you find technology and put it on a road car, you have already absorbed some of the cost, as it has already been tested [on the XXs]”.
Galliera admits that Ferrari “has rules” over who can join the XX development programme. “You have to have a long history,” he says. “Money is not enough.” Being previously part of the XX or wider Corse Clienti programme is the main stipulation, but there is another way in.
“Anyone can join,” says Galliera. “It’s a nice thing to be involved in, so a lot of people want to be part of it. A way to do it would be to buy a used 599XX, as the FXX K is sold out. If a customer wants to join, they call us; we put them in touch with someone who might have a 599XX to sell. That’s how you enter – if there is a car available.”
Ferrari won’t sell to speculators or collectors, meaning there’s an obligation to get involved and drive the car. For your money, you get to attend seven driving events at circuits around the world over a two-year period, driving the cars hard and feeding back to Ferrari as a bona fide development driver.
In between events, Ferrari will store the car for you to ensure it’s in tip-top shape before shipping it to the next event. If you can’t wait for that, Ferrari will organise a special event for you.
With an XX to your name, what do you buy next from Corse Clienti’s candy shop window? Many customers race different versions of the 458, while some buy F1 cars. “They are the pinnacle, and the top experience for driving,” says Galliera.
As with the XXs, Ferrari knows where all its old F1 cars are and will contact an owner on your behalf to see if they’ll sell. Ferrari will then keep and run the car for you. If you want the 2015 car, though, you’ll have to wait; Ferrari won’t sell you one that has competed within the past two years. So, try to find a 599XX for sale in the meantime…
Auto Car | by Mark Tisshaw