Only In Monaco Can You Stumble Upon A Game Of Ferrari Tetris
Photography by Romuald Clariond
I’ve always wanted to enter a rally or another motorsport event with my dad. After all, he and my mom were the ones aiming me in the right direction when I was a kid just getting interested in cars and what they could do.
Before I was born, my dad was entering hill climbs and auto-crosses and gymkhanas, and if I look at a few of the trophies I could find at my parents place from when I was a kid, he was not unskilled. “Oh yeah, that was way before me!” Ken Block once told me as I was showing him some of my dad’s early gymkhana pictures. He had been racing with an NSU Prinz among some other cars, so, a few years ago, wanting to drive with him and wanting to celebrate his 60th birthday, I was able to offer him another NSU Prinz. That was a bad move: he and my mom never drove this car. No belts, too low, too soft on the road for the back pains my dad has from riding motocross and ski-doos back in the days when, as he explains, the shock absorbers were pretty much your spine.
There were plenty of reasons they didn’t drive it, and only me and my then-girlfriend had a couple of rides in that NSU when we visited the parental authorities. The Prinz was sold; I love and respect cars like that way too much to let one sit in a garage untouched. This meant no Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique with my dad then, or any other event for that matter. But still, this idea remains in a corner of my head as one of the coolest and most enjoyable things I could do. We’ll see.
All of this came back to my mind when I was invited, on the third shiny weekend of October, to visit the Raduno Padre-Figlio. It was an event passing near my neighborhood in Monaco, it was still feeling like summer on the Côte d’Azur, and a few Ferraris in the sun never makes for a bad view.
The regularity rally is unique in that’s to be enjoyed between a father and son team in a Ferrari, hence the Italian name Padre-Figlio, “Father-Son”. The parc-fermé before the start was in the Monte-Carlo Beach Club parking area, where I’d been hosting Cars & Coffee Monaco before we moved to Opéra de Monte-Carlo. After the unofficial parking lot show, the group of cars went down a few hundred kilometers of the Rallye Monte-Carlo playground for a couple of days; not a bad way to spend time, I would assume. Rarely have I seen such an attention to detail on a road rally. For example, the flag of the country the team comes from is represented on each car’s stripe on the hood. Little but memorable things.
At the finish, a few kilometers away from Monaco, in Eze, there is a hotel called Cap Estel that not many know of because it’s just about fully hidden unless you know where to turn. One of the prettiest on the French Riviera, there’s always room for aesthetic improvement if you don’t have a courtyard full of some of Ferrari’s best classic and modern road cars.
Watching cars like this play Tetris afforded a few opportunities to shoot some photos of the cars in the queue, and outside of a factory event I can’t imagine where you would find a lineup like this one, and being driven for hundreds of kilometers no less; 288 GTO (the rally winner last year), F40, F50, LaFerrari, 599 GTB, F430 Spider, 488 GTB, 328 GTB, 365 GTB/4 Competizione, 575M, 250 GT Lusso, 348 Spider, F12 TdF, 330 GT 2+2, 458 Speciale, 488 Pista, 330 GTC, 246 GT (L), 599 GTO, BB512, F12 Berlinetta, F430 F1, 512 TR, California T, 458 Spider, Portofino, 250 GT California, 308 GTS, 458 Italia, F355 Berlinetta, 488 Spider. Only one copy of each model can be entered to allow a line-up as wide and, if not colorful, as unique as possible in all the other ways that Ferraris can be.
A special mention goes out to the dad wearing a “CO-PILOTE” T-shirt along with his son who was barely 10 years old wearing “PILOTE” T-shirt in their 288 GTO; and mine didn’t drive the NSU!
Also to the winners of course, a Swiss father and son in their LaFerrari. The cabin was pretty packed when they left with the big trophy, but they were all smiles despite the extra luggage. After feeling like I was on set at an overstuffed Ralph Lauren campaign, I went home to enjoy the rest of my Sunday back in reality.