The marathon relay celebrating Ferrari's 60th anniversary started this morning from the Italian Embassy in Abu Dhabi at 10 a.m. local time. The relay will involve over 10,000 Ferrari owners and their cars of all ages. These will act as symbolic "bearers" of a specially commissioned relay baton adorned with 60 badges symbolising the most extraordinary events in the Marque's 60-year history.

Abu Dhabi was chosen as the start point for the relay – which after the Middle East makes its way across China, Japan, Australia, South Africa, America and the whole of Europe – as a result of plans to build a major Ferrari theme park plus a motor racing circuit on the island of Yas in the most rapidly developing area of the Emirates' capital.

Having left Abu Dhabi, the protagonists of the first leg of the relay headed for Dubai from where they will drive on to Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. The marathon relay will end at Maranello on June 23rd. The participants in the tour will be received at the various Italian embassies in the countries they pass through en route to Maranello. Also on June 16th, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will host a special ceremony at the Palazzo della Farnesina in Rome during which there will be a charity auction by Ferrari, the proceeds of which will be donated to needy children.

The relay was officially started by Piero Ferrari, Vice President of Ferrari and son of founder Enzo Ferrari. In his speech, Ferrari spoke about his father and his brilliant intuition in creating a Marque that has become a symbol of Italian talent and exclusivity across the world. He also praised Luca di Montezemolo who has, over the last 15 years, returned Ferrari to the very pinnacle of the sporting and commercial worlds.

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, 1 of 3
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, 2 of 3
Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, 3 of 3

The launch of a special celebratory anniversary series of cars was also announced at the start of the relay. The series will consist of just 60 unique cars, each one linked to one of the 60 most important events in the Prancing Horse's history, from the World titles won by Ascari and Schumacher to the launch of epoch-making models such as the GTO, the F40 and the Enzo, and also the people who have headed the company to the present day.

Ferrari embarks upon this 12 months of celebrations having just ended an exceptionally brilliant financial year that saw the Company post revenues of €1,447 million (+12.3% on 2005's takings) resulting in a trading profit of €183 million (+17%) and 5,650 deliveries to its worldwide dealership network, a new record.

The Relay Baton

The relay baton was designed and created to symbolise Ferrari's history and is topped by a dazzling platinum and diamond Prancing Horse made by Damiani. It also features 60 enamel symbols designed by the Intesta e D'Adda, Lorenzini, Vigorelli and BBDO advertising agencies, and by creative talents Alessandro Migliorini of Area Creativa, Marco Morosini, Enzo Naso of the eponymous studio and Wolfgang Seidl of Seidldesign.

60 unique Ferraris

As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, Ferrari will build a series of 60 truly unique cars. These will be based on the 612 Scaglietti, the Prancing Horse's range-topping Granturismo which combines blistering performance and superb handling with superior comfort, sumptuous handcrafted trim, state-of-the-art accessories and meticulous attention to detail.

The cars will be offered with a two-tone livery in a combination of classic Ferrari colours as used on some of the Prancing Horse's most memorable models. The interior appointments will feature sophisticated colour combinations and a stunning new-generation electrochromic glass roof, itself a major innovation. The degree of opacity of the roof, in fact, can be adjusted to suit the occupants' requirements.

To underline the exclusivity of this series of one-offs, each example will also boast an enamelled symbol set on the central tunnel representing one of the 60 historic events chosen to celebrate the Marque's anniversary.

Text and photos courtesy of Ferrari.Net S.p.A.