Labor Day Weekend 2011: Empire State Region
Watkins Glen, Corning NY and the Empire State Region made for a Spectacular Labor Day Event. Ninety seven cars with over 150 occupants and guests joined the festivities, some driving down from Canada while others from as far away as Virginia, the Carolinas and Florida. Team Pilota made the trip from New England and in usual fashion brought not only a most capable contingent of drivers but lots of good cheer to boot. California, too, was represented by a couple with great enthusiasm and a real desire to master the art of driving their 360 Spyder the way it’s supposed to be driven. To round out the attendees a Ferrari enthusiast from Tokyo delayed his return flight to Japan in order to take in the full splendor of Ferraris at speed. For those in attendance, including several new to the Club, the Glen provides one of the most challenging and exhilarating driving experiences in North America. But it’s also a region known for its breathtaking vistas, including towering rock and waterfall formations, deep water lakes, boating and fishing, and an assortment of dining options and wineries offering enough variety to suit practically every palate. The three day event showed what the Ferrari Club experience is and should be all about…..an occasion to spend quality time with friends and family; and to make new acquaintances that often lead to long and lasting new relationships. With that as the backdrop, the chance to fulfill one’s driving passions brought yet another level of unrestrained joy. After all, this circuit is quite special in its demands of drivers, especially those who think they can tame it. It’s fast and technical, and for the novice as well as the experienced piloti the Glen offers something new each and every time you drive it. It’s an experience not forgotten, with furiously fast corners; long straights, uphill climbs leading to downhill valleys, left and right turns, heavy braking corners and those where you simply must take a deep breath and not lift. It can be unforgiving, but if driven properly, few if any road courses can be more satisfying than a fast lap at the Glen. And to hear the high notes emanating from Ferraris being put through their paces on this three plus mile road course is to hear the true “sound of music.” With the able assist of a team of qualified instructors, and the wise and steady hand from track chairman Bob Coates, the three days of track came off in great form. Novices paid attention and learned, while not one among the experienced drivers was seen competing for an open F1 seat. Hence, everyone stayed within the limits of their own capacity. All in all, a by-the-rules, safe and thoroughly fun filled time on the track………..as it should be. But there was considerably more in the offing to this Labor Day event. The city of Corning offered yet another venue that gave members the occasion to showcase their cars in the heart of downtown. Following the first day of track, city managers closed off Market Street, their commercial hub, to all but Ferrari traffic. Thousands of residents and visitors were drawn by what was well advertised by the city as one of its signature events, and those who came got close up and personal. The city and Corning Enterprises not only sponsored the event but hosted a fabulous cocktail party for Club members, all the while a superb jazz band offered the evening’s first class entertainment. Television coverage was provided by one of the local affiliate stations, and our own Roland Veit, Regional Director, was on camera in full nomex to extend the Club’s deep appreciation to the Corning community for its enthusiastic support and hospitality. The evening was capped with the chance for those who brought race cars to enjoy a police escort from the track to Corning and back. As several challenge cars roared the twenty plus miles at speeds not to be mentioned here, it was quite the head turner. Finally, one could not describe the festivities without mentioning the support from Classic Coach and its guiding light, Onofrio Triarsi. In addition to serving as one of our sponsors and providing logistical and technical support, the Classic luncheons have become “classics” in and of themselves as drivers, friends and families shared not only great meals but great camaraderie. Further thanks to AIG/Chartis Insurance for their sponsorship; and again, to our friends in Corning without whose efforts we could not have had this truly wonderful Labor Day weekend.