The Ferrari Wind Tunnel was designed by the architect Renzo Piano and made between 1996 and 1997.
It occupies an area of around 150.000 sq.mt and is part of the Formula Uomo (Formula Man) project which aims to improve working conditions, partly by creating an architecturally ideal environment. The first work to be built as part of this programme was, in fact, the new wind tunnel: an imposing structure for the aerodynamic development of the Formula 1 single-seater.
In the Ferrari Wind Tunnel, the entire aerodynamics department is housed in the building, which is always in use. It is an extraordinary blend of architecture, art and engineering. What makes this work particularly distinctive is the fact that instead of boxing everything up, Renzo Piano has intentionally brought the mechanism outside, recreating the shape of a car motor.
A wind tunnel is a chamber in which cars are subjected to a flow of air, while sensors collect data so that the aerodynamic resistance of the various parts of the two-seater to the force of the wind can be evaluated.
The large tube which comes directly out of the ground is the result of the union between high technology and aesthetics; this configuration was suggested by Piano himself, based on the idea of a car engine planted in a wheat field.
The tunnel has an air-conditioning system to control the temperature. On a tapis roulant synchronised with the speed of the airflow, the models can simulate any type of setup or movement. The wind is generated by a ventilator with a diameter of over 5mt. and an absorbed power of over 2000 kW. A sophisticated monitoring system indicates with the utmost precision the speed of the wind, its direction and turbulence. Thanks to a complex mechanism, any type of vehicle setup and movement can be simulated; it is possible to use scale models up to 65” of the real size, but also vehicles in 1:1 scale. An air conditioning system controls the temperature with 0.5°C precision.
How to get there:
By car: A1 Milan–Naples motorway, exit Modena Sud; follow SS623 for 1 km, then turn left and proceed along provincial highway SP16 for 15 km; turn right and proceed for 3 km; from Milan, exit Modena Nord; take the ring road direction Abetone–Sassuolo, then follow directions for Maranello–Formigine; turn left and follow provincial highway Giardini for 3 km.
By train: Modena FFS railway station
By air: Bologna "G. Marconi" airport
Public opening hours:
Visits must be booked in advance
Web site: http://www.galleria.ferrari.com/