We drove the car that Ferrari is counting on for its future (RACE, FCAU)

Ferrari Race 2015Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

In 2014, my son, James, and I drove up to Watkins Glen International, a storied racetrack, to watch a Ferrari race. We did not, however, make the drive in a Ferrari.

Last year, Ferrari kindly lent us a California T, the company’s “entry-level” car — its base price is $198,000 — to make a sort of return visit. The Cali T is now an important vehicle for the prancing stallion now that it’s a public company and needs to grow beyond its current 7,000-cars-a-year in sales.

At the New York Stock Exchange in 2015, when Ferrari — ticker symbol RACE — began trading, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO and Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne said that many of the 9,000 cars the Italian sports-car maker will sell in 2019 will be Cali Ts.

Ferrari shares have endured a slide since the IPO, down 30% since last October.

But of course there is Ferrari the stock and Ferrari the cars. So what is the California T like to drive?

When James and I went to the Glen in 2014, we watched a Ferrari Challenge race in which the contestants run in Ferrari 458s. In 2015, we attended the Six Hours of the Glen, an endurance race featuring teams from a variety of automakers — Porches, BMW, Aston Martin, Mazda, and Corvette — alongside Ferrari.

It was an interesting weekend with a long drive in a cool car and a race that was heavily affected by the weather. Mixed in was a jaunt around the original Watkins Glen road course, where after World War II racers battled it out and before the now famous raceway was built.

We had a lot of fun — check it out.

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