Would you like to know what it is like to be a Ferrari owner?
I interview the FOC president of the UAE chapter
I recently ended up chatting with Clint, the Ferrari Owners Club president in the United Arab Emirates (the country in which Dubai is), over a coffee. The idea was to showcase what Ferrari owners do in their spare time and how they utilise their cars. We decided that it would be best to join them over a drive at their next meet. He even agreed to a short Q&A which is part of this article.
I requested Al Tayer Motors, the distributor for Ferrari in the region, for a Ferrari, and they happily obliged my request with the keys to a Ferrari F8 Tributo. Now, I am very familiar with the F8 Tributo, having driven it multiple times over the past year on road and track. A brilliant, brilliant car the F8 is, but that is a story for another article. We drove down from Dubai to Dibba, which is on the eastern coast of the UAE with multiple Ferraris. Four hundred kilometres of highways, fast sweeping bends, coastal roads, and just some mad epic driving—the authentic experience of road tripping and grand touring.
After reaching the 5-Star hotel, the Intercontinental Fujairah, I talked to multiple owners over breakfast. Today's group comprised of various Ferraris like the California, California-T, Portofino, 488 Pista and another F8. Obviously, most of the cars were in Ferrari's iconic colour scheme, the Rosso Corsa.
Most of them are international businessmen, bankers, lawyers, and doctors who travel quite a bit. The main topic of conversation was vaccination efforts by various countries and how their own countries and families deal with the pandemic and manage it.
But then it turned into a tad bit more interesting. The 488 Challenge Series is a FOC Challenge Cup. Ferrari owners buy their track-focused 488 Challenge EVO from Ferrari and get trained in it like race car drivers do and then compete with their peers' on track days across multiple countries, having one final winner.
Clint and other members shared their ownership experience of the 488 Challenge EVO by sharing stories of their training regime, track-driving experiences, and just the overall benefit of unleashing some of the speed and aggression of these epic machines on track.
Hi Clint, thank you for taking the time out to answer the questions.
1) What are the requirements to be a member of the FOC?
You need to be a Ferrari owner. We also have customers who enrol into the club a few months before the Ferrari arrives at Al Tayer Motors.
2) What is the cost involved?
There is a one-time joining fee - AED 1,375/ USD 375 & an annual membership fee - AED 6,500/USD 1770
3) Do you need to own multiple Ferraris, or just one is enough?
Only one Ferrari is enough to be a member of FOC UAE.
4) Can any owner become a member, or there is an interview process?
Once a potential member gets in touch with the club, I personally meet them. This year due to COVID-19, it's been more of a telephone meeting.
5) What differentiates FOC from other car clubs?
FOC UAE is a non-profit organisation. We are a single automobile marque owners club. Ferrari governs FOC UAE.
6) What are the additional perks and benefits members benefit from?
We offer few membership benefits provided by a few service providers, like dedicated insurance premium, logistic support and auto care services.
7) What does a usual group event look like?
I am not counting the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Usually, a club event houses a massive collection of passionate Ferrari owners, whether it's a formal event or simply a casual drive.
8) Are there any road trips organised in other countries?
FOC UAE has been conducting summer tours abroad every year with our own Ferraris. We have visited Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy etc. In 2020 we had planned for Japan. Hopefully, we do it in 2021.
9) Does the club network with other FOC club members across the world?
There are over 45 FOCs globally. Presidents from all over the world make sure that we meet, support and do events together. We are a very big passionate famiglia.
10) Which Ferrari model is represented in large numbers in the club?
That's difficult to say because we have a full variety of models. But I recently see a lot of 458 Italia's in the FOC UAE stable. I guess everyone is cherishing the naturally aspirated V8.
11) Which are the unique models in the club?
Depending on what you call unique, for me, every Ferrari us unique. I genuinely believe that there is a Ferrari for every occasion. We have a few classics from the '60s and '70s, which are a real treat to see. Few tailor and Atelier made models and of course a few Monza's.
12) Do members get sneak previews of upcoming models and preference in ordering limited edition models?
No sneak peeks, but members are invited to new unveiling's. Allocation of limited editions are always reserved for Ferrari's top customers, so it's a Maranello matter and not FOC UAE one.
13) I heard that members get special preference for the Challenge series. Can you please let us know some more information about this?
All Ferrari customers who buy a Challenge car can participate either in Club Challenge or Challenge Series. There is no particular preference. All of the Club Challenge participants are FOC UAE members.
14) Last but not least, can you let us know which Ferraris do you own and which is your all-time favourite, Ferrari?
I own a 355GTS, 575M, 599GTB, F12 Berlinetta, 458 Speciale, Portofino, GTC4LUSSO, 812 Superfast, 488 Pista, 488 Pista Spider. Incoming 812 GTS and the Roma. All-time favourite would be the 355GTS (my 1st Ferrari) and the 812 Superfast. And obviously the most technical to drive the 488 Challenge EVO track car.
Thanks to my friend Bilal who helped me capture this drive on video. You can follow him on Instagram.