We speak to the club's president, Tani Hanna, who is also a licensed race driver
A Ferrari traffic jam is entirely possible with the Italian carmaker's Owners Club UAE
For many years, there has been a long-standing joke that Dubai is the only place in the world where you might be likely to get stuck in a traffic jam of Ferraris.
But when the members of the Ferrari Owners Club UAE get on the road together for events, that is actually a very real possibility.
Indeed, one of the club’s 165 members or so members could create a tailback of his own, given than his personal garage contains more than 40 cars from the famed Italian marque.
In 2005, three years before the Owners Club was established, its current president, Tani Hanna, ignited his passion for the Prancing Horse when he accompanied a friend who owned an F430 to the brand’s spiritual home in Italy.
“He was going to Maranello for Corso Pilota, which Ferrari offer to their car owners – you go to Maranello and do a test on the Fiorano track or another track to improve your knowledge about what these cars can actually do,” he recalls. “A lot of people think that when you are in a Ferrari that you need a genius to drive the car. They let you build your confidence that this is a car like any other – although it’s a high-performance car and can be pushed a lot more. I went on the course with him out of curiosity.
“After three days, I felt very connected to the car and I felt in love, so I said my next car will be a Ferrari. That was the summer – by the end of 2005, I bought an F430. It became an addiction from there. Once you buy a Ferrari, you will always buy another one. I started building my collection one by one.”
The Lebanese businessman, 54, joined the Owners Club in 2008, after a chance encounter with its treasure at the time while in one of the showrooms of Al Tayer Motors, the official Dubai dealer for Ferrari. He was elected president six years later, two years after he had obtained his first racing licence. You probably don’t have to guess which brand of car he competes in: his most prestigious race entries are currently in the Asia Pacific and European legs of the Ferrari Challenge.
Hanna, who has lived in the UAE since 1995, says that the country is the “perfect place” to pilot a Ferrari – and he seems intent on proving that assertion. He jokes that he now owns “too many”, including a Testarossa 512 TR, an F355, a F430 Scuderia (with which he replaced his original F430), a 599 GTB, a 599 GTO, an F12tdf, two 458s (a Speciale and Speciale Aperta), a GTC4Lusso, a LaFerrari and a LaFerrari Aperta.
In his 13 years of collecting, the married father of two has only sold three of his Ferraris, and even then, one of them soon found its way back into his possession. “[I sold] the F430 and I didn’t connect with the California – I’m a bit spoiled, because I’m driving much faster cars. The 599GTB, I sold it, but I bought it back from the same owner.
“Every car has a purpose in my life. For example, the GTC4Lusso, I keep in Europe, because I come there usually with my family. If I want to be flashy around town, I take LaFerrari.
“We cannot also overlook the commercial factor of owning a Ferrari. When you collect art, cars, watches or jewellery, you always think about the value in the future.”
The Owners Club works closely with Ferrari and the UAE dealer on its year-round programme of events, from track drives and European summer tours through to gala dinners and family days. The events are almost as eclectic as the club’s membership, with more than 25 different nationalities.
“It has a flavour because you have people from different parts of the world, but we all melt together in the end,” Hanna says. “Italian, French, German, Austrian, Danish, Indian, Pakistani, Lebanese Jordanian, Russian, American…you name it. You’ll see the CEOs of companies, top-notch lawyers, top bankers, managers of companies who bought a second-hand car… but when we are together, we are all one team. The brand brings us together. Everybody is a club member, enjoying their car, chatting with each other and having a good time.”
One of the most impressive events, during the celebrations of the carmaker’s 70th anniversary last year, did indeed cause one of those hallowed Ferrari traffic jams. Club members were involved in driving 70 red Ferraris from Dubai to Yas Island, where the number 70 was spelt out by the cars at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi (shown in the video below).
“These aren’t just cars,” Hanna says. “No other car can give you the same lifestyle and emotion. It can’t be compared to anything else.”
For more information, visit www.ferrariownersclubuae.com.