Ferrari’s American head mum on new supercar, gung-ho on racing

Marco Mattiacci – President, Ferrari North America, sat down for a quick interview with deputy editor Joe DeMatio. Here’s what he had to share:

“Racing is one of our big strategies for 2013,” Ferrari’s chief executive for North and South America told us on the automaker’s stand at Cobo Hall. “This year is the 20th anniversary of our Challenge Series in America, and we will have six 458 Italia race cars at the 24 Hours of Daytona, with factory drivers.” For the first time, American Ferrari owners who participate in the Ferrari Challenge will have the opportunity to race at the famous Interlagos track in Brazil. Mattiacci clearly relishes the direct relationship with buyers that the Challenge Series affords Ferrari, and he emphasizes that “the experience of the brand is my focus for 2013. We have an incredible product lineup; my challenge is to deliver the right information about the products to customers, who have an incredible appetite for the brand.”

Indeed, it’s good to be a Ferrari “client.” Some 500 of them raised champagne flutes with Ferrari executives, drivers, and team principals at a party at last November’s Austin, Texas, F1 race, during which Ferrari auctioned off the first F12 Berlinetta for charity. Mattiacci, like most everyone who was at Circuit of the Americas that weekend before Thanksgiving, is hugely enthused about F1’s return to the United States. “It’s a great organization and a fantastic track. We currently have two driving schools in North America [for Ferrari clients], one at Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, and a new winter driving school in Aspen. We will likely open a third one in Austin to take advantage of the F1 track.” Like we say, it’s good to be a Ferrari owner.

It’s a good time to be president and CEO of one of Ferrari’s most important global markets, too. Mattiacci is in charge of Ferrari in Canada, the United States, and South America, and he rattles off the markets where Ferrari has found particular recent success, including the predictable Florida and the less predictable Calgary and Vancouver. Ferrari hasn’t yet announced its 2012 sales, but Mattiacci allows that it was “an extremely good year” in his market, even while sales in Europe tanked due to economic uncertainty.

And as for the as-yet-unnamed, carbon-fiber Enzo replacement, Mattiacci is completely tight-lipped. “We have not decided when or where to present the supercar,” is all he’ll say, then reminds us that Ferrari hasn’t even commenced deliveries of the F12 Berlinetta; that happens this March.