While this year’s Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix was cancelled, Ferrari nevertheless decided to bring the ‘prancing horse’ to the streets of Monte Carlo.
On 24 May, the date the Monaco F1 GP would have been held, Ferrari held a special publicity event in collaboration with Claude Lelouche, director of the iconic French short film C'était Un Rendez-Vous.
On paper, it doesn’t sound like much of a film: less than nine minutes long, with no actors, no music and no dialogue. Nevertheless, C'était Un Rendez-Vous has become one of the greatest “car films” of all time.
Known simply as Rendezvous, Lelouche’s 1976 film consisted of little more than a driver’s-eye view of an early morning, high-speed blast through the streets of Paris. The only soundtrack is the roar of a Ferrari V12 engine and the squeal of tyres as the driver brakes all too infrequently on his way from the Porte Dauphine, through central Paris, to meet a pretty girl – his rendezvous - on the steps of the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in Montmartre.
Blasting down the Champs-Élysées and passing Parisian landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe, Louvre museum and Opera Garnier, the identity of the car and the driver is unrevealed throughout, leading to dozens of myths after the film’s release and years of speculation.
The engine note led many to deduce the car was a Ferrari 275 GTB, while the driver was thought to be an F1 ace given the speed and level of car control.
It was only in 2006 that Lelouche revealed he was the driver and the car was actually his own Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9, with the engine noises from a 275 GTB dubbed in.
Technically, its not a “Ferrari film,” but Rendezvous has nonetheless come to be eternally associated with the brand, so when Lelouche decided to shoot a new film this year, Ferrari wanted to provide more than just the soundtrack.
Titled ‘Le Grand Rendez-Vous,’ Lelouche’s new film features a Ferrari SF90 Stradale, with Lelouche handing over the driving duties to Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. The location changed, too, from Paris to Leclerc’s native Monte Carlo.
Ferrari said their involvement in this film (claimed to be the first shot in France post-COVID lockdown), was driven by a desire to demonstrate support for the tifosi, their clients and supporters in what’s been a dark start to 2020, and also provide something to look forward to in the future, including a planned resumption of F1 racing in July.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began to seriously affect Italy, Ferrari responded by manufacturing respiratory conversion valves at their Maranello factory. They also distributed healthcare equipment to hospitals and held fundraisers. Most recently, Ferrari completed the design of a new pulmonary ventilator, the FI5, and made it available for open source production at a global level.
For Le Grand Rendez-Vous, Leclerc ran the SF90 Stradale around the Monte Carlo F1 street circuit. Shot at dawn like the original, Leclerc hit speeds of up 240km/h en route to his “mystery date” at the end of the lap.
Easing of lockdown restrictions meant there was a small crowd on hand to witness the filming under controlled conditions. Ferrari Chairman John Elkann and various minor European nobility were amongst the spectators, while Prince Albert of Monaco makes a brief appearance in the film.
With its 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 engine supplemented with three electric motors, the hybrid SF90 Stradale produces a combined 735kW and 800Nm, sending power through an eight-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels. While the SF90 Stradale can sprint from 0-100km/h in 2.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 340km/h, electric-only range is a mere 25km before the V8 has to kick in.
Ferrari described their participation in Lelouche’s new film event as a sign of optimism and the “first step towards the return of motorsport, film and social life as we endeavour to put the pandemic behind us.”
Le Grand Rendez-Vous was released on 13 June.
SF90 Stradale wins design award
At the 2020 Red Dot Design Awards, Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale received a ‘Best of the Best’ award in the Product Design category.
Founded in 1955, the Red Dot awards recognise excellence and innovation in design and are considered the most prestigious in the industry. A Best of the Best is the highest accolade available within the Red Dot award system.
With the Roma and F8 Tributo also receiving minor awards this year, it brings to 17 the number of Red Dot awards received by Ferrari since 2015.
Ferrari says the latest accolades pay tribute to the work done by the Ferrari Styling Centre, led by Flavio Manzoni, in creating distinctive designs for the brand’s sports and super cars.
Past Ferrari winners of the premium Red Dot: Best of the Best award include the FXX-K, J50, 488 GTB, Portofino and Monza SP1.