Waking up early on a frigid Monday morning we all scrambled into the Dempseys’ car and headed off to Stansted airport for the next leg of our great adventure. After waiting in a plethora of queues, we eventually boarded a flight and embarked on our two-day journey across the Italian countryside with the primary purpose of visiting Lamborghini and Dallara.
When we landed in Bologna we worked our way to a rental car and got on the road. Michelle had voyaged with us due to the distances between each area, and because she couldn’t say no when offered a trip to Italy! She was uncomfortable with driving on the right side of the road, but she struggled through it for us boys! We found our way first to Lamborghini and stopped off at a cafe to grab a bite and some coffee.
We met first with Matteo Vechci at Squadra Corse, otherwise known as the in-house motorsport department of Lamborghini. He toured us around their factory and explained how each of their road cars are all built by hand from scratch, and how every piece is made in house. From each individual strand of carbon fibre to the hand stitched leather, the entirety of the Aventador and Huracan models are created at the very factory we were lucky enough to visit. He then showed us around the motorsport division. This group, built up of 40 skilled engineers, builds both the Huracan Super Trofeo and the Huracan GT3 EVO. Both of which start their lives on the same assembly line as their road going brothers and sisters. We were also lucky enough to meet Giorgio Sanna, head of motorsport for Lamborghini. In our conversation with him we learned that both he and Matteo had formerly raced in Formula Ford, and Mr. Sanna had bought his old car and was hoping to race at the Festival until a conflict with the Super Trofeo World Finals meant he couldn’t.
From there, we spent the night in Parma and had a wonderful dinner being sure to sample all the different types of foods Italy had to offer. After dinner, we went back to the hotel where Scott and I found our way to the gym and had a quick workout before bed.
The next morning we were off to Dallara to see how the many different types of race cars they build are manufactured. We were shown around the factory and got to see many of the manufacturing processes. We watched as their 3D printers created scale parts of future cars to be tested in the wind tunnel and were awestruck as we viewed their $11 million simulator, built to directly replicate all of the chassis they’ve ever built. We then saw where they manufacture their carbon fibre, which they weave by hand and then put into a massive “oven”. This “oven” is actually called an autoclave which applies a massive amount of heat and pressure to bind the carbon fibre with the polymer shielding to create the strong layers of composite materials that are on all types of race cars today. As well, we walked around their museum and saw all the cars that have been built in their history, starting from road going Lamborghinis, to Formula One and Indy cars. Mr. Dallara was kind enough to come meet us and say a kind hello (above) which was quite an honor for Scott and I. They then served us a wonderful meal and sent us on our way!
Later that day we had free time before our flight so we headed off to Maranello, the home of Ferrari. After weaving through the dark (and extremely tight) parking tunnels of Italy Scott and I eventually walked to the Ferrari Museum. It was quite a sight, seeing all of their road going cars all the way from the beginning. As well, a variety of the aluminum shells and motors each. We also got to see all of their Formula One championship winning cars (below) and the trophies to go with them. It was truly an amazing spectacle seeing them all lined up together. From there we wandered back to the car and drove back to Bologna to catch our flight home.
The trip was a huge success, and Scott and I both agree how amazing of an opportunity it was to see the insides of the very cars we hope to drive in the future. From both of us again, a huge thank you to Jeremy Shaw and everyone who backs the Team USA Scholarship. Without you none of this awesome experience would be possible. So thank you again, and until next time.