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  1. It’s 1947. In the small Italian town of Maranello,
    Enzo Ferrari steps back and beams as the very first Ferrari 125 S rolls off the
    production line bearing what would soon become one of the most enduring symbols
    of excellence in the world of motorsport. The prancing horse - a truly iconic
    logo, synonymous with exclusivity, luxury and premium engineering, obtainable
    by only the world’s most privileged engine enthusiasts.

    Fast-forward 63 years, hop on a plane to Abu
    Dhabi, capital city of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates and, under a scarlet
    red roof the width of seven football pitches, a similar scene is occurring.
    Only this time it’s sub-minimum wage Ferrari World employee Ahmed with a
    delighted grin on his face, as he admires the very same logo shining back at
    him from the faux-leather jacket of a 4ft plush camel. Which is also wearing

  2. Like it or not, Ferrari World is here. But is the Italian superbrand’s desert-based foray into the theme park business as potentially tacky as its premise? Or a huge Italian angled-fist-over-forearm to the doubters? We went along to try out the big attractions, giving each a rating based on fun and legacy-denting wrongness.

  3. Formula Rossa

    Formula Rossa

    As the fastest roller coaster on the face
    of Earth, a ride on Ferrari World’s main attraction offers the majority of
    visitors the chance to smash their own personal land-speed record. There’s no
    dropping from ridiculous heights or spinning upside down until your breakfast
    comes through your nose - this is about one thing and one thing only: speed,
    and lots of it. 149mph of the stuff to be precise, which you’ll reach in just
    under five seconds, causing F1-grade G-force to make your face look like it’s travelling
    through time. Some viciously banked corners add a little bit of variety to the
    2km track, but as you step back onto terra firma, the verdict from your
    co-riders is unanimous, with regional variations on ‘bloody hell that was fast’ ringing out
    all around.

    Fun rating: 5/5
    Cheese rating: 2/5

  4. Fiorano GT Challenge

    The park’s second-billed act is built
    around a nifty little gimmick that sees two F430 Spider-shaped cars tearing
    along parallel tracks. The twin coasters cross paths at several points during
    the ride, which - aside from an excellent opportunity to treat co-riders to your
    best middle-fingered gesture - doesn’t really add that much to the overall
    experience. The sensation of bone-juddering speed never really kicks in and,
    with no loops or tall drops to speak of, GT Challenge is a far tamer beast than
    we’d hoped for. Still, the bored expression on your post-ride photograph could
    be worth picking up for comedy value alone. 

    Fun rating: 3/5
    Cheese rating: 2/5

  5. Ferrari Store

    There’s no chance you’ll miss out on this
    garish cathedral of tat, since its cunning location means you’ll be shepherded
    through its gaudy aisles before you’re actually allowed to leave Ferrari World.
    As well as the aforementioned shade-wearing camels, this is also your
    opportunity to stock up on everything from over-priced designer loafers to
    overpriced glittery key-rings, all haphazardly branded with the prancing horse.
    Which, by this point, we’d imagine is just about ready to hand itself over to
    the glue factory.

    Fun rating: 0/5
    Cheese rating: 5/5

  6. Scuderia Challenge

    A state-of-the-art racing simulator
    offering six-man races around a virtual Yas Marina Circuit, this is sort of
    like one of your Saturday nights in with Forza 3, with the addition of
    skeleton-rattling force-feedback and minus the multi-pack of Doritos. As well
    as 180-degree screens and a steering wheel intent on snapping your wrists, the
    little pods also feature hydraulic supports which react to what happens on the
    screen, giving you a satisfying jolt as you shift up through the gears and inflicting
    minor whiplash as you totally misjudge yet another breaking point and bury
    yourself in a tyre wall. There’s also a larger F1 simulator, said to be based
    on the same technology used to train Felipe and Fernando. Genuinely great fun,
    especially if you’re visiting with competitive friends.

    Fun rating: 4/5
    Cheese rating: 1/5

  7. Speed of Magic

    Speed of Magic

    What at first looks like a slightly lame
    roller coaster turns out to be a stomach-churner of a very different kind. It’s
    one of those 3D-movies-on-rails efforts, in which you pursue an irritating
    insectoid creature across a variety of different exotic locales, climaxing in a
    high-speed chase through a futuristic cityscape. Some of the effects are
    impressive, but anyone who’s been to Universal Studios or Disney World would
    agree that it’s pretty underwhelming. And we’re not just being stuffy old
    killjoys - the 10-year-old kid behind us thought it was a bit rubbish.

    Fun rating: 2/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

  8. G-Force

    This is one of those truly evil ‘spaceshot’
    towers that we’re still convinced were inspired by WW2 human experiments. It’s
    located in a small, funnel-shaped opening in the centre of the park where,
    having been thrust 62 metres into the air, you’ve just a couple of seconds
    to admire the sea of red surrounding you before you’re dropped back to Earth at
    a speed of 12 metres per second. At only half the height of the world’s tallest
    spaceshot ride, it’s unlikely this’ll faze hardened adrenaline junkies. Still,
    variations in speed and timing ought to at least mix things up a bit.

    Fun rating: 3/5
    Cheese rating: 3/5

  9. V12

    Perhaps the most disappointing ride of them
    all, this boat-based affair is billed as a ‘journey into the heart of a
    12-cylinder Ferrari 599 engine’. As it turns out, this involves lots of
    floating through darkness and the occasional flashing cardboard disc that’s
    presumably supposed to resemble a hyperactive piston. Lame visual effects
    aside, the white-knuckle factor is also, quite frankly, pathetic. You’ll be
    handed a fetching yellow mac to don while you queue, but with drops no bigger
    than four metres (Thorpe Park’s Loggers Leap, by comparison, boasts a 16-metre drop) you’ll
    be left looking like a disappointed, PVC-clad idiot. Rubbish.

    Fun rating: 2/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

  10. The Pit Wall

    A half-hourly quiz on F1 racing strategy,
    featuring big-screen cinematic interludes and moron-friendly multiple choice
    questions, which you answer with buttons attached to your seat. Posers centred
    around enforcing coded team orders and blatantly violating the sport’s rules
    are curiously omitted, in favour of simple questions about tyre choice and pit
    stops. It’s presented by a live host with all the charisma of a cheese and
    tomato sandwich, which makes for a rather excruciating experience when you’re
    the only person in the audience, as we were. All in all, it’s like the world’s
    worst pub quiz, minus the saving grace of drink. You’re in Abu Dhabi, remember.

    Fun rating: 1/5
    Cheese rating: 3/5

  11. Bell'Italia

    At last! The opportunity to take a 4mph
    cruise through a naff landscape of crudely constructed miniature Italian
    landmarks has arrived! OK, so this one’s aimed at the kids. Still, if you can
    show us a 10-year-old who’s impressed by a three-foot papier-mâché rendering
    of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, we’ll show you a child who’s destined to grow up
    into a mediocre actuary. The scaled-down 1958 250 Californias are admittedly
    quite cool - we just wish they’d move a bit faster. Preferably directly at the
    head of the person responsible for wasting five minutes of our life with this
    depressing yawn-fest.

    Fun rating: 1/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

  12. Made in Maranello

    A fist-bitingly bad virtual tour through the
    historic Maranello factory, with all the depth and insight of a glamour
    model’s Facebook page. As you trundle through various rooms in your
    little upholstered car, images of wind tunnels and production lines are
    projected onto the walls, complete with informative captions like ‘wind
    tunnel’ and ‘production line’. ‘This is like something out of an episode
    of The Simpsons,’ we heard a co-rider sob. But as this is the last
    page, now us cynical hacks have had our fun, let’s be fair. Ferrari
    World is well worth a visit. Overall, “fun” edges out “cheese”. You’ll
    enjoy it, TopGearers…  

    Fun rating: 1/5
    Cheese rating: 4/5

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