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A 12,000km Dream European Road Trip In A US-Registered Ferrari

by Staff

What often fascinates us the most, is what is far away. I live in Italy, and my dream trip is driving from coast to coast in the United States, visiting all of the iconic spots along the way as well as discovering less touristy destinations. Above all though, I’d one day love to experience American car culture in all its forms.

Andrie Hartanto, who lives in California, had a dream trip similar to mine. Except his dream destination was Europe, its famous racing circuits and local automotive culture. It’s also a dream trip he actually realized in his track-tuned Ferrari F430.

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How Andrie and I met is a story in itself. It was March 2022 when out of the blue I received a message request on Instagram. It was Andrie, who had been directed to my 2021 Speedhunters story on a pair of Honda S2000s by his Spanish friend, Andres Balboa. Andres had met Andrie a few years prior during a trip to San Francisco, and a solid friendship was formed. When Andrie told him about his plans to visit Europe – and Italy in particular – with his F430, Andres suggested he get in touch with me to see if I could offer any advice on Italian automotive culture and the best racing circuits to drive.

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Of course I was happy to help, and the more Andrie and I exchanged messages, the more surreal it all became. Here I was talking to a person who lived 10,000km away, who saw my article on Speedhunters, and who had the exact same passion as me. We joked as if we had been friends forever.

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As I suggested places of interest and circuits that could be added to Andrie’s almost three-month-long itinerary, I began to visualize the photo opportunities this trip could present for another Speedhunters story – and here we now are. But before I get into that, let me properly introduce the man and his Ferrari.

Driving mainly BMW and Honda vehicles, Andrie has competed as a professional race driver in various motorsport disciplines for over 10 years, including endurance and classic racing, and time attack. Along the way he has won various class championships, including those in the USTCC, SCCA and the West Coast Honda Challenge. Andrie’s most recent experience was a CS2 class Clubman race at Suzuka Circuit in Japan. On top of all this, he has an engineering background and is the founder of Prima Racing, which specializes in race car chassis set up.

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Using his knowledge and experience, Andrie has enhanced this Ferrari F430 – which he’s named Pegaso Rosso – to his ideal specification, with a combination of upgraded Brembo front brakes, BC Forged wheels, IPE exhaust headers, Recaro RMS (driver) and SPG (passenger) fixed-back race seats, and a rear wing that he designed and fabricated himself. It’s an impressive machine all round.

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In December 2021, after a long time not using his Ferrari anywhere near as much as he would have liked, Andrie began thinking about a dream trip he could make with it. Europe was the obvious destination, and by the end of March 2022 – the same time he contacted me – a plan was in place for the summer.

The car was prepared for shipping, and soon left the US for its 45-day-long sea journey to the Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest seaport.

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When the Ferrari arrived, Andrie and his wife had already be in the Netherlands for a week enjoying the canals in the Dutch capital and windmills in the countryside, but now the road trip could start proper. Belgium was first on the list, with layovers in Brugge, Ghent and Antwerp. Of course, Andrie wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to visit the Autoworld museum in Brussels either.

After crossing through Luxembourg, the pair arrived in Germany, but from Frankfurt Andrie’s wife returned to the US and his Spanish friend Andres joined him. Their destination: Nürburgring.

Speedhunters Ring 1 : Martin Stollenwerk

Andrie competed here in the 6 Hours of Nürburgring in 2018, but lapping the Nordschleife in his own car was something else. Four full days were spent at the Green Hell, and during that time Andrie got to experience it all – full wet driving conditions, semi-dry conditions, and finally on the last day – totally dry conditions.

The next stop was Switzerland, passing through Lucerne towards the Furka Pass in the southern Swiss Alps – one of the most beautiful roads in Europe – and then on into my home country: Italy.

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In the home of Ferrari, Andrie initially completed two track days, one at Tazio Nuvolari Circuit south of Milan, and the other at Monza Circuit – the first of three current F1 tracks he drove during his time in Europe – before heading in the direction of Motor Valley. There he visited Ferrari’s Maranello HQ, the Enzo Ferrari Museum, and the Automobili Lamborghini Museum in Sant’Agata Bolognese. Before Andres returned to Spain, the pair also stopped by the Umberto Panini Museum, a private collection of various makes and models but famous for its 19 historic Maseratis.

From the Motor Valley, Andrie met up with Alessio Cavalletti, one of the owners of the two S2000s I originally featured on Speedhunters, and co-founder of the Magione Superbattle. Andrie and Alessio spent several days together enjoying good Umbrian food, driving through the picturesque Monte Peglia region, and even saw Metallica in concert together.

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I had the pleasure of spending two days with Andrie and his Ferrari, first meeting at Vallelunga Circuit just north of Rome where he was about to embark on a full day of open-pit track driving. When I arrived at his pit box in the morning, Andrie was busy changing his brake pads, using tools that fit perfectly in the F430’s frunk.

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Vallelunga is a very beautiful circuit that automakers including Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren often use for exclusive customer driving events. The track is very technical but also fast, and that makes it a lot fun to drive. Andrie had offered to take me out for as many laps as I liked, and of course I wasn’t going the opportunity pass me by.

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During the first lap as a passenger I was catatonic. Not only did my mind boggle at the speed at which Andrie approached and took Vallelunga’s corners, but also the F430’s immense braking power. I had never experienced anything like this before. As the laps continued, I became more comfortable and eventually managed to fire off a few shots.

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Being the height of the Roman summer, by the time lunchtime arrived the ambient temperature was sitting around 40°C (104°F). Andrie decided that the heat was too much of a risk, so called it a day. Looking back at the lap times, Andrie’s very first flying lap of Vallelunga was a 1:51, and with me on board he achieved an even quicker 1:48 – both impressive times. I can only imagine what he might have been able to do with more seat time and cooler conditions…

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The following day, Andrie and I traded circuit speeds for a city traffic crawl, which is inevitable if you want to visit Rome by car. We started in the EUR (Esposizione Universale Roma) district, which is known for its fascinating Fascist-era architecture.

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Our second location was Via Nicolò Piccolomini, famous for its view of the Saint Peter’s Basilica dome.

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No visit to Rome is complete without a stop at the Janiculum, which offers a panoramic outlook across the city, and here, next to the famous fountain, Pegaso Rosso attracted plenty of attention from tourists and locals alike.

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Circus Maximus, an ancient Roman chariot-racing stadium, became our final location for the morning, followed by a short stop in Testaccio for some authentic Roman pasta carbonara.

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As one of the seven wonders of the world, the Colosseum is a must-see, so we headed straight there after lunch. Pegaso Rosso looked almost gladiator-like parked out front.

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The Villa Borghese gardens in front of the National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art was our last special location for the day. The famous 1000 Miglia race passes through here every year, and it’s a great spot for photos.

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It was 7:00pm when we returned to the EUR neighborhood, where I took my final photos of the Ferrari’s details and interior. I don’t know how it was possible, but the police never stopped us once during the day, which I thought was amazing given the car was on Montana license plates. They just limited themselves to curious looks.

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After an amazing couple of days, Andrie and I said our goodbyes, before he drove off to eventually rendezvous with a ferry bound for Spain.

Speedhunters Barcelona : Pol Ricart
Speedhunters Ring 4 : Ulrike Bierlein

After meeting back up with Andres and carrying out a full service (all oils and fluids, brake pads and tyres) on his F430, the road trip continued. For the final three weeks of the epic adventure, Andrie made Spanish circuit stops in Barcelona and Aragona (for Trackrat Club track days) and Navarra, before making a return trip to the Nürburgring in Germany for a Racetracker track day, and heading over to Belgium for some track time at Spa-Francorchamps. Finally, Pegaso Rosso returned to the Port of Rotterdam for its sea journey back to the United States.

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‘Ambitious’ would be one way to describe Andrie’s road trip through Europe, but I prefer ‘crazy’ – in a good way though. It really was a dream come true for him.

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In total, Andrie drove 12,021km (7,469mi) in his Ferrari between eight circuits and the public roads of six European countries. Not only did he make so many memories along the way, he also made many new friends, some of whom have already visited Andrie at his home in California.

That’s the great thing about the automotive hobby – even if we can’t speak each other’s languages, there’s always the international language of cars. As an automotive photographer, I really do feel like I have the best job in the world. And hopefully I’ll get to do this all over again with Andrie again soon, because he recently purchased an Alfa Romeo 4C, and has plans to bring it on another European trip in the near future.

Ivan Caravona
Instagram: ivancaravona

Additional Track Photos by: Marc Rodriguez (Aragona), Pol Ricart (Barcelona), Martin StollenwerkFlorian SchmitzAndreas ReichertUlrike Bierlein (Nürburgring)

More IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER posts

How To join the IATS program: We have always welcomed readers to contact us with examples of their work and believe that the best Speedhunter is always the person closest to the culture itself, right there on the street or local parking lot. If you think you have what it takes and would like to share your work with us then you should apply to become part of the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. Read how to get involved here.

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