The new challenge facing Ferrari, the Panamerican 20,000, will start on Thursday 24 August. The expedition will begin from the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte in the country of Minas Gerais.
The journey will see two Ferrari 599 Fioranos travel over 32,000 km (20,000 miles), with journalists from around the world behind the wheel on alternate stages. The tour will grant Italy significant visibility: Ferrari is known as a symbol of Italy and for this reason the cars will visit embassies in the sixteen countries through which the convoy will travel. There they will meet members of the Italian community and the local media.
From Brazil, the convoy will travel through Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the USA and Canada, and end up in the United States at the beginning of October. The expedition will then move on to visit several US states until it reaches Canada, before concluding in New York on 17 November.
The Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 gets underway from Belo Horizonte
Belo Horizonte, 24th August 2006 - Four thousand Fiat staff, the entire Brazilian management team and the Minas Gerias state officials from Belo Horinzonte in Brazil today saw off the Ferrari Panamerican 20,000. Ferrari decided to begin the Tour from the Fiat plant as a celebration of the thirtieth year of its presence in the country. Another landmark is the 9 million vehicles that have been produced by Fiat Autom˛veis.
The 32,000 km route is divided into 15 stages. These stopovers will give the crews a chance to switch over. The crews will be formed by journalists from all over the world.
Today's first stage leaves from Belo Horizonte and races through Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Curitiba. Foz do Iguazu will be reached after six days of driving and after having covered over 2000 km.
Rio de Janeiro, 25th August 2006 - Following the transfer from Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro, the Panamerican team today enjoyed the fascinating city situated on the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition took the chance to visit famous sites such as Corcovado, the Pan di Zucchero and the beaches at Ipanema and Copa Cabana.
Rio is a marvellous city with a host of attractions and a temperate climate. It is a metropolis that, as is common in South America, presents many contrasts. The gap between rich and poor is evident though here the social groups interact. The city's districts house residential quarters and favelas with no clear distinction between them.
One cannot visit Rio de Janeiro without paying a visit to one of its many samba schools. In order to celebrate the passage of the Panamerican convoy, the schools organised an August carnival that saw over forty amazing musicians parade through the Sambadrome. Tomorrow's start is planned for Brazil's capital, Sao Paolo.
San Paolo, 26th August 2006 - The Panamerican convoy left Rio this morning, destination Sao Paolo. The cars took the motorway that links the two cities which lie some 400 kilometres apart. The trip was incident-free and the only talking point were the sadly massed favelas that surround the Interlagos circuit. It is on this track that the last race of the 2006 Formula 1 calendar will be held.
After an eight hour journey through south-eastern Brazil, the Panamerican teams will have tomorrow to rest.
Curitiba, 28th August 2006 - The Panamerican 20,000 has reached the large and wonderful city of Curitiba. The city is one of the richest in Brazil where well-being, cleanliness and excellent public services assure the population a superb standard of living. The route did not present any particular problems. The scenery was spectacular as the road that links the two cities winds through a dense forest of banana plantations and the climate here is subtropical.
The convoy arrived in the city to be greeted by the unusual sight of rain and fog. However, this did not prevent the 599s from sampling the famous 'Gracious Road'. The highway is considered by the locals to be one of the most scenic in Brazil. It is thirty kilometres of paving stones, breathtaking curves and lush vegetation. Using the road is like negotiating the driveway to a grand villa rather than the main thoroughfare which it is.
Foz du Iguašu, 29th August 2006 - The Ferrari team members today enjoyed the final day of the Brazilian section of the tour. The day began at eight in the morning from the beautiful city of Curitiba. The destination was Foz du Iguašu, famous for its stunning waterfalls. They are the widest in the world at some two kilometres in width. The other characteristic of this city is that it is situated on the border of Argentina and Paraguay.
After yesterday's cold and rain, the sun shone splendidly this morning. The clear skies meant that the cars proceeded in pleasant temperatures though there were big differences between the day and the night-time temperatures. The chilly climate meant that the team wore heavy clothing in the early hours of the day.
Today's route was ideal for exploiting the 620 bhp of the 599 GTB Fioranos. The Maranello berlinettas were perfectly at home on the ups and downs of this hilly region of Brazil. The excellent road surface, long straights and enjoyable curves meant that the journalists got the most out of the drive. The two 599s often cruised at over 140km/h through scenery that recalled Tuscany.
The first stage of the Panamerican 20,000 concluded in the evening. Tomorrow the crew will enter Argentina with the ultimate destination being Calama, in Chile. The programmed arrival date is Monday 4 September.
Saenz Pena, 31st August 2006 - The expedition today entered Argentina. The route taken by the cars began in Posadas and ended in the town of Saenz Pena. The scenery through which the expedition travelled is typical of Argentina: flat with scrub vegetation.
Meeting other people here is rare and the convoy encountered only a few Gauchos intent on raising their cattle. The 599 GTB Fioranos arrived in Saenz Pena in late afternoon, giving the mechanics enough time to remove the fine dust particles that had built up on the car.
Posadas, 30th August 2006 - A natural spectacle of rare beauty and power: the day for the Panamerican Tour 20,000 expedition began with a visit to the Foz do Iguazu waterfalls.
In this period the falls are less spectacular than usual due to the lack of rain. The crew and journalists spent the entire morning in the area as the Parco Nazionale di Iguazu offers a vast variety of flora and fauna. In the afternoon the team continued on towards Posadas. On the way they had to negotiate customs at the Brazilian border. The 599 GTB Fiorano's racing red and Tour de France blue livery was modified in honour of Argentina, the country that the granturismos will cross over the next three days.
The Argentine stretch of road between the Brazilian border and Posadas differed from the highways on which the cars had travelled on over the past few days where the road wound its way through the countryside. Now huddles of residences were sprinkled along the road. The climate was cooler and a storm accompanined the arrival of the 599 GTB Fioranos.
Tomorrow, the route continues through Argentina from Posadas to Saenz Pena.
Salta, 1st September 2006 - The tour vehicles covered some 400km today, the distance that separates Saenz Pena from Salta. Salta is a colonial city in the south of the country. The totally straight road crosses the Pampa dell'Inferno and was negotiated by the 599 GTB Fioranos at top speed. The journalists behind the wheel focused on evaluating the car rather than enjoying the scenery
The countryside around them offered only the site of cattle grazing on a otherwise featureless horizon. On the final section, the cars climbed to Salta, situated at an altitude of 1187 metres. The expedition made a stop at the village of Campo Santo, a place where the oldest fazenda (constructed in 1715) in Argentina can be found. The fazenda still functions as the traditional family centre for the production of tobacco, coffee and sugar. In the evening, the caravan pulled into Salta, set in the hills between the Pampa and the high desert plains.
San Pedro de Atacama, 3rd September 2006 - The rest day at San Pedro allowed the Ferrari Panamerican 20,000 journalists to take in the city's natural beauty. San Pedro is a good base from which to strike for Valle della Luna and the Valle della Morte, enormous salt plains that give off a bright white light.
After a visit to the geysers that spurt hot water from dawn until dusk, the expedition left for Calama. On the way, it passed the Gran Salar de Atacama where red is the dominant colour and the sunsets are memorable.
Calama, 4th September 2006 - A quiet day for the 599 GTB Fioranos as they covered only 100 kilometres to reach Calama. Though the distance was a short one, the work to bring the photographic and video session to a close called for a lot of effort.
However, it was worth it as the images captured the vehicles against the Andean mountains. The Panamerican team then took care of the Maranello berlinettas and gave them a thorough clean after two dusty days.
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