Italy

Italy

Audi’s auto racing influence is felt in a number of racing series all over the world. And while they don’t count themselves as part of the Formula One grid, the German automaker’s presence in the touring car series is unmistakable.

For the 2012 season, Audi is bringing a pretty snazzy race-tuned sports car to Italy’s version of touring car racing, called the Superstars Series. Similar to the UK’s British Touring Car Championship, the Superstars Series is made up of a grid that features a plethora of automakers, Audi being one of them.

Looking to return to past glory that saw them cop the 2007 Driver’s title and the 2008 Drivers and Constructors titles, Audi will be bringing a race-tuned model of the Audi RS5 back to the series. This model has been carefully fitted with an aggressive aerodynamic body - the intimidating grilles are a sight to behold - and a V8-powered engine that produces a mighty 450 horsepower.

All in all, three RS5 models will comprise the 2012 Superstars Series grid, including one from German tuner MTM, one from Audi Sport Italia, and one from Swedish team KMS.

The annual Vinitaly event in Italy is considered one of the most prestigious and most important exhibition of wines and spirits in the world. And as we all know in the industry, events like this are the perfect opportunity for collaborative projects.

This year, that opportunity was seized by Land Rover when they struck a partnership with the Aznom for a special and exclusive take on the popular Range Rover Evoque SUV that was dedicated to Champagne Bollinger.

The model, called the Evoque Bollinger, was dressed in a two-tone red-gold color scheme with a matching black roof that carries the famous "bubbles" logo of Bollinger. In addition, the front seat headrests inside the SUV were imprinted with "Evoque Bollinger" while the trunk was fitted with two specially-designed air-conditioned rooms that can carry a total of 12 bottles of - what else? - Champagne Bollinger.

The Evoque Bollinger Edition doesn’t appear to be an SUV for sale so those interested will have to hold on to their wallets. Chances are, though, the special edition SUV will be headed to an auction so we’ll be on the look-out for that.

Supercars are a luxury that only a few people in the world can afford. But the flip side to enjoying these exotics is the astronomical amount of taxes you have to pay to afford such fine things in life.

Over in Italy, the country’s official tax police, the Guardia di Finanza, is beginning to crack down on tax evaders, particularly individuals that own super cars but fail to pay the requisite tax dollars commensurate to the price of their lavish vehicles.

In a report filed by Bloomberg, the Guardia di Finanza began the sting operation late last year at the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort, where the agency managed to flog 251 super cars, including Ferraris and Lamborghinis , to check whether the owners declared their proper income and were paying due taxes for the kind of posh lifestyle they were living.

Since the first sting operation was done late last year, the Guardia di Finanza has done similar check-ups in a number of other Italian towns, including Rome, Milan, Portofino, and Florence. This crack-down has forced a lot of super car owners who may be guilty of tax evasion to sell their exotics at bargain bin prices in hopes of not getting caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.

Italian officials have pegged an amount of €120 billion being lost as a result of tax evasion - that’s $160 billion in our currency! - prompting the government to step in and reign in all the guilty parties who enjoy the spoils of their fortune without paying the requisite taxes that come along with it.

Let’s face it: if you’re somebody who claims to make, say, €40,000 a year, yet you drive a Ferrari that costs five to six times that amount, then there’s a very big discrepancy there. The lesson, as always, is that if you want to enjoy the luxury of owning a supercar, you better be on the up-and-up when it comes to facing the tax police.

Let us know what you think of the Guardia di Finanza’s sting operation in the comments section below. Will that kind of thing fly over in the States?

Source: Bloomberg

It took a lot longer than we all expected, but finally, one of the most famous names in the history of the auto industry now has a museum to call its own.

Enzo Ferrari, the founding father of the brand that we have come to know as Ferrari , has his own museum called the "Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari." The museum was built in Modena, Italy - the town where Enzo Ferrari himself was born - and cost a ridiculous sum of €18 million - $23.6 million based on current exchange rates - that was mostly funded by local leaders in Modena in an effort to drive up tourism in the area.

Spearheading the building of the museum was renowned architect, Jan Kaplicky, who began the project in 2003. Unfortunately, Kaplicky passed on in 2009, leaving the project in the hands of Andrea Morgante, a former colleague in the design firm, Future Systems.

The building covers 54,000 square feet of floor space and will feature plenty of exhibits, including a gallery of classic Ferraris, historical artifacts, and memorabilia. There will also be a significant amount of space allotted to Enzo Ferrari’s own personal belongings, as well as a variety of never-before-seen documents and drawings that encompass the rich and storied racing history of Modena, Italy.

Despite not being an officially licensed project by Ferrari itself, the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari is still expected to draw throngs of visitors. The museum is open every day with the only exception being Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The doors open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm depending on the calendar date.

Hit the jump for details on the Enzo Ferrari Museum’s first exhibit.

A gas station that’s situated near a race track is definitely smart for business. And then there are gas stations that are just plain lucky.

Located strategically beside the Monza race track, this particular gas station draws a special group of cars that you’d be hard-pressed to find converging anywhere else in the world at the same time.

During times where the Monza racetrack is open, the gas station’s business spikes up because of the droves and droves of Ferraris waiting for their turn to be filled up with track-burning fuel. At any point in time, you can even chance upon a line of some of the world’s most exotic Ferraris as they wait their turn to get fed.

And what do the drivers do during their wait? Anytime there’s a camera around - like in this particular time - the drivers waste little time in revving for the lenses, much to our delight.

Good for their business, great for our viewing pleasure.

Source: Marchettino

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is a very ambitious man. So ambitious, in fact, that he wants to trade in his Ferrari presidency for another of its kind, albeit on a much larger scale.

In an open letter he sent to Italiafutura, a liberal-centrist think-tank that he himself formed in 2009, Montezemolo finally pulled the cat out of the bag, declaring his intention to run for the highest seat in all of Italy in 2013.

In the letter, Montezemolo wrote: "Italiafutura, with its 40,000 members will be actively engaged in 2012 to try and change politics in Italy. The Second Republic has failed. When the Italian voters return to the polls, they must be offered a whole series of new ideas and new leaders in the elections, so that they can turn their backs on what has been a period of total failure in Italian politics."

It’s no secret that Italian politics have, in fact, been a complete mess in the past couple of years, punctuated by the blackest of black eyes when former president, Silvio Berlusconni, resigned amid growing accusations of being involved in numerous scandals that completely undermined his position as the Italian president.

We don’t know the schematics on the political climate in Italy, but considering that Montezemolo has made his intentions clear of seeking the highest seat in the land, we’d venture a guess that it’s a lot more complicated than what we think.

The question now is, will he win?


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