Houston's Secret Ferrari Lab
Sep 15, 2014 | 4:06 pm
Risi Competizione — a Ferrari team based in Houston — is heading to Austin for a major race.
Photo by Kevin McCauley
As penniless teenager, I used to sometimes find myself (paradoxically) in the spotless showroom of Ferrari of Houston [http: /www.ferrariofhouston.com/], just to stare. All of my heroes from the magazines I studied — here they were. It was a serene place: You step softly around the showroom, more like a museum than a car dealership. If I had dragged anyone with me, we whispered instead of spoke. We treated it like a library of unobtanium. I’m not sure if we were trying to be respectful of the staff, since we definitely weren’t there to purchase a car, or to be respectful of the machines themselves, which I regarded as deities. I was in their temple. Ferrari of Houston sits on a large, gated piece of property off Route 59, and the showroom occupies just a tiny part of it. There was so much more, but the rest of it always eluded me. What else was beyond those closed doors? As you may have gathered from the opening image in this photo essay, the facility is also the site of Risi Compezione, a leading international racing operation, and the premier Ferrari racing team in North America. In advance of its home state race at Circuit of the Americas [http://www.autoblog.com/2014/09/12/mercedes-amg-gt-circuit-of-the-americas-video/]in Austin on Saturday, Risi let me bring in cameras to finally see what was beyond the closed doors.