Two of the dates circled in red in the diaries of participants in Ferrari’s exclusive F1 Clienti and XX Programmes, are 5 and 6 June. This unmissable and eagerly anticipated event is held at Suzuka in Japan. One of the tracks most loved by drivers, technical, challenging and rewarding to drive, finally gets to host the Prancing Horse single-seaters that have made the history of Formula 1 and the standard bearers of technology and innovation of the XX Programme for a two-day private test.
Magic sounds. Eight, ten and twelve aspirated cylinders: the characteristic noises of these three types of engines so prominent in Formula 1 history, have echoed around Suzuka. The 12-cylinder engine, a true Ferrari ‘trademark’, is the one that powers the 412 T2 with which Jean Alesi started in the front row of the 1995 Japanese Grand Prix, the 580th in the history of Formula 1. This was the last Prancing Horse single-seater to be equipped with such a power unit.
Joining them is the 10-cylinder F2002, driven by Rubens Barrichello who secured second place in Suzuka behind his teammate Michael Schumacher. On that occasion, the Scuderia clinched its 15th victory in 17 races and the 53rd and final consecutive podium, an endless series that began with the Malaysian GP in 1999. Three other single-seaters raced by the Brazilian have also had an outing on the track where Formula 1 title is often decided: the F2003-GA with which Barrichello won pole and victory, the F2004 and the F2005, the last to pack 10 cylinders.
Of the 15 Ferraris on the Japanese track, seven use the 8-cylinder engine: an F2007, driven by Felipe Massa in its debut at Suzuka, three F2008s (two of which were driven by Kimi Raikkonen), two F10s and three F150s.
HP and twelve cylinders. Thirteen XX Programmes cars lapped the ‘figure eight’ Formula 1 world championship circuit. Three FXXs, the prototype that launched the programme in 2005, two 599XX Evos, the evolution of the extreme sports 599XX berlinetta, not homologated and equipped with active aerodynamics integrated into the electronic control systems, one FXX-K and seven FXX-K Evos, the spearhead of the programme, powered by the exceptional V12 engine equipped with Hy-Kers that can unleash over 1060 hp.
The tests will continue tomorrow for the second and final day of private testing.