Tour of Europe 2012

Maranello – Goodwood

17 June – 9 July 2012

The long awaited and much discussed European tour is finally taking shape. I spent much of June travelling the back roads of Europe seeking out interesting drives, spectacular scenery and fun places to visit. I ran into more than a few challenges, not the least being the rather unique Italian method of mapping back roads. However, I am very pleased with the results and believe that I have put together a tour that will provide great memories for years to come.

The concept of the tour was to hit as many of the motoring icons as we could in one trip while still allowing time for side trips, shopping, fine dining and the odd day to chill out and rest. In no particular order this tour visits; Ferrari, Siena, The Schlumph Collection, Goodwood, Portofino, The Mennen Gate, Monaco, Spa, Col de Turini, Bastogne, Nuburgring – Nordschleife, Route Napoleon, The Pistenklause, Cinque Terra,  Stelvio Pass (twice), St Bernard Pass (both), Furka Pass, St Moritz and so many special little places that you will have to come along to find.

The schedule is:

Sunday 17 June 2012

Meet in Maranello. Our base will be the Hotel Planet which is directly across the road from the main gate to the Ferrari factory, The Cavallino Ristorante is in the car-park and most rooms look at the Competition Department. The morning I was there, I was woken by a F1 engine screaming it’s way around the Fiorana circuit. This is Ferrari Country. If the stars align we will be able to have dinner while watching the US Grand Prix in the town square on the big screen with the Ferrari factory workers and the rest of the population.

Monday 18 June

Visit the Ferrari Museum. This is just around the corner from the hotel and is a must see for any enthusiast. I am also working on organizing a tour of the Pagani factory and the Maserati Museum which is in Modena. Modena is also the sight of the yet to be opened museum dedicated to Enzo Ferrari.

Tuesday 19 June – Maranello – Borgo Scopito – 230 Km

Take to the mountains on a brilliant drive into Tuscany. We will use an old Ferrari test route through Polinago. This is a wonderful introduction to Italian back roads. We wind our way through plenty of mountain villages before we drop down into Tuscany on our way towards Siena. Our accommodation is the beautiful Realis Borgo Scopito. A converted winery, parts of which are over 1,000 years old. It famously stared as a country estate in the movie Letters to Juliet.

Wednesday 20 June – Rest Day.

The Borgo Scopito is too good a place for just one night, so take the day to adjust the body clock or head out to explore the medieval walled towns of Siena or San Gimignano.

Thursday 21 June – Borgo Scopito – Portofino – 315 Km

Back on the road through the Tuscan countryside. The route winds a little more than necessary thanks to the rather unique Italian mapping system but we do manage to drive around the walls of San Gimignano. There is then some brilliant driver’s roads before hitting the Autostrada around Pisa. Next stop is the brilliant stretch of coast that is the Cinque Terra before continuing onto the Hotel Splendido in Portofino. If you are going to spoil yourself. This is the place.

Friday 22 June – Portofino – Monaco – 215 Km

A nice short day. There is plenty of time to soak up the Hotel Splendido or wander around Portofino village. Then blast up the Autostrada through the 160 tunnels to Monaco.

Saturday 23 June – Rest Day.

Explore Monaco, do a little shopping OR take a drive on some famous Monte stage roads, up the Col de Castallino and Col de Turini in the mountains behind the Principality.

Sunday 24 June – Monaco – Grenoble – 330 Km.

This is one of the world’s great drives, The Route Napoleon to Grenoble is so named because Napoleon marched this route on his way to Paris, after his escape from Elba in 1815. He may not have appreciated it at the time but this is a rollercoaster of wide sweeping corners. It is lightly trafficked, has brilliant scenery and is more fun than should be allowed. The only problem is talking yourself into stopping to take pics and soak in the scenery.

Monday 25 June – Grenoble – Martigny – 300 Km

Into the Alps at last. The day starts with a run up the heavily Policed Autobahn to Albertville before taking to the alps along a very scenic drive through Beaufort. We drive both St Bernard Passes, Petit then Grande, on the way to Martigny. Remember the Muira at the start of the original Italian Job? Well, this is the road.

Tuesday 26 June – Martigny – St Moritz – 315 Km

The day starts with an easy run down a stunning glacial valley. Mountains loom on either side sprinkled with castles and ancient battlements, you are not at home now. Highlight of the day is the mighty Furkapass, followed up by the Oberalppass on our way to St. Mortitz.

Wednesday 27 June – St Mortiz – Bormio – 230 Km

This is THE day, if there is a hint of petrol in your blood, this is the day you will talk about for years. Leaving St Moritz we warm up on the 2,315 metre Albulapass. Next stop is Davos, where we pick up the road that Top Gear made famous. The Fluelapass climbs to 2,383 metres, Ofen Pass takes you 2,149 metres but they are just warm ups for the 2,757 metre Stelvio, and yes it is everything they say it is. Just below the Stelvio is the Ski Resort of Bormio where we will recover for the night.

Thursday 28 June – Bormio – Igls – 202 Km

In case you didn’t get enough yesterday, we are straight back over the Stelvio before heading into Austria. There is a short cut but the scenic way is still only 200 Km and takes you through the German speaking province of Italy, over both the Jaufen and Brenner Passes. Igls is a lovely little village on the outskirts of Innsbruck. The Sport Hotel has a spa and relaxation centre so you can soak up a little luxury.

Friday 29 June – Rest Day 

Saturday 30 June – Igls – Bad Walsee – 230 Km

A bit of a tourist day today. We start with a brief Autostrada run before heading into the hills and a visit to the fairytale castles at Neuschwanstein in Bavaria before heading to a golf resort in Bad Waldsee, a quiet corner of Germany off the tourist trail. If you need a golfing fix, they are happy to cater for you.

Sunday 1 July – Bad Waldsee – Mulhouse – 240 Km

Today is a relatively short day so depending on your preferences you can take advantage of the Golf Course for a hit or take to the rolling countryside as we head into the Black Forest before crossing the border into France and into Mulhouse for a visit to the Schlumpf Collection. An amazing horde of Bugattis put together by brothers Fritz and Hans Schlumpf. There is also a fine array of 50’s and 60’s Grand Prix machines as well as plenty of other fascinating cars.

Monday 2 July – Mulhouse – Nurburg – 430 Km

An early start so we can be at the Nuburgring for lunch. The best way is to hit the unrestricted Autobahn for a bit of high-speed motoring. At the Nurburgring I have organized a very special program. We meet for lunch at our hotel (owned by the family of Sabina Schmitz) before taking a rally to sites around the Nordshleife, soaking up some of the history of the circuit and learning some of the tricks required to put together a safe lap. At 5pm the real fun begins with each car booked in for 4 unforgettable laps of the “Green Hell”. I have booked an instructor to accompany everyone on their first lap of the 20km circuit.

If you are a little concerned about taking your car on the circuit we can arrange for rental cars to be available. You have a choice between, Renault, Lotus, BMW or Porsche.

Tuesday 3 July – Nuburg – Stavelot – 200 Km

The only way to ease you down after the Nuburgring is to go to Spa. The plan is to head through the Ardenne Forest toward the historic WWII town of Bastogne, centre of the Battle of the Bulge. We then head towards Stavelot and the Spa Francochamps circuit. I am working on everyone doing hot laps of the circuit after 6pm but at the moment it may only be possible in Lotus rental race cars. Standby for further details.

Wednesday 4 July – Stavelot – Ypres – 280 Km

We trundle across Belgium to the rally town of Ypres, centre of a 24 hour rally. Most of Belgium does not make for memorable driving. However, as we get close to Ypres we leave the main road to try some of the narrow lanes through farming fields and past war cemeteries. Our hotel is in the centre of town and a short walk to the Mennen Gate where each night they still hold a ceremony to remember the war dead.

Thursday 5 July – Ypres – Chichester – 315 Km

A quick sprint to Calais and on to the train under the Channel to Folkstone, then a drive along the Channel Coast to Goodwood where we have secured the closest hotel to the venue.

Friday 6 July – Sunday 8 July

The Goodwood Festival of Speed. Simply the best, most amazing, Historic Car gathering on the planet. You have a double pass for the event.

More details as soon as they are finalised.


There are a couple of options in relation to what car to use. The easiest is to book a renter for the trip. On the reccee I used a Benz 220CDI manual from Avis which was brilliant. Rental cars have a few issues however. Check that you are allowed to take your rental into Italy, not all are allowed. Also check the charge to return your car to base. I chose to fly in and out of Frankfurt to avoid a Euro 1,000 charge.

An alternative is to buy a car in Europe, use it on the trip and then ship it back home. Financially this can be very attractive if you pick the right car. Sandro has recently entered into a commercial arrangement with a company in the UK who will carry out a pre-purchase inspection, arrange delivery and service the car before the tour, then ship it home afterwards. While every car will be different I recently did the costings for a Ferrari 550. The asking price was 45,000 Pound. Based on an exchange rate where the $AUD is worth 66p. The 550 would after all taxes and compliance charges cost about $120,000 on the road in Australia a saving of $50 – 60,000 on cars currently available in Australia.


I have purposely not got involved in flights. Most people have their preferred airline and I suspect there will be a number of variations on when to arrive in Europe and flights home. If you are intending use a car purchased in the UK for the tour, I can arrange for the car to be available for you in the UK, Milan or Maranello.


The tour, including 22 nights accommodation, a cooked breakfast each morning, the full Nurburgring experience including hot laps and instructor, a priority cross channel train pass, 3 day Goodwood Festival of Speed pass and a comprehensive road book detailing the entire route is priced at $9,000/person/twin share or $18,000 per car. This price is based on the current exchange rate with $AUD1.00 is worth 0.66 Euro. Every effort will be made to maintain the advertised pricing but any large movement with the exchange rate may require an adjustment.

As there are very limited places available, places on the tour will be allocated on a first in basis. To secure a place you will need to provide an initial non-refundable deposit of $6,000. Further payments of $6,000 will then be due on 1 January 2012 and 1 May 2012.


For any further information, please contact me at any time.
David Thomas
Driving Adventures P/L
6/399 Barrenjoey Road
Newport   NSW   2106
0418 473 916