If ever there was a car for little boys and girls to fall in love with, it’s the Ferrari. There’s something romantic about the red, the design and the sheer Italian-ness of it all. Now, the UAE might be one of the only places where you can see Ferrari’s cruising the streets regularly, but for some that doesn’t make them any less attractive – only more impressive close up.
For those of us who are still crawling around the city in our hatchbacks and saloons, the only place to get a real feel of the cars is at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi on Yas Island. The building itself is an architectural marvel – the red dome is visible from the Sheikh Khalifa Highway – and once you’re inside it’s even more impressive. The huge structure is centred on a web-like tower that houses rides, cafés, restaurants, and yes, Ferraris.
There are old models, new models and lots of displays about the history of the manufacturer, so you’ll know more about the firm than ever before by the time you leave. It’s all presented smartly and staff are great, especially with little ones. However, you’re reading an ‘adventure guide’, so our guess is you’re not really here for the information – you’re here for the rides. And boy, does the theme park deliver.
Here you’ll find the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa. The ride is modelled on a real Ferrari F1 car so you’re tightly packed in and well-secured. Goggles are a must as the car accelerates from 0-240kph in just 4.9 seconds. Once you’re off, the ride takes you up a steep climb before shooting back down and around chicanes, twists and turns – all inspired by real race tracks. The ride doesn’t’ take long, but there really is nothing else like it for the adrenalin rush.
The other rides for thrill-seekers can’t compare for sheer excitement, but they are all excellent. The Fiorano GT Challenge features two Ferrari F430 Spiders drag racing against each other, reaching 95kph as they twist around each other. That might seem relatively tame by the standards of Formula Rosso, but it certainly isn’t. The Scuderia Challenge is a simulator like no other; using a system similar to that used by F1 drivers when training, it pits your driving skills against other people on a virtual Yas Marina Circuit. This is no computer game, it’s scarily close to the real thing. You need to book for this ride, so make it a priority when you get to the park.
Other rides include karting and motion-based simulators that take you on journeys across Italy and racetracks. With even more rides due to open, including Flying Aces (the world’s steepest roller coaster), Ferrari World is set to become a bigger tourist attraction. Our advice is to get there early and get the big rides done before the queues start forming. Buckle up, you’re in for an exhilarating ride.
From Dhs250 (adults), Dhs205 (children). Open daily 11am-8pm. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com (02 496 8000).Ferrari World