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Inside Universo Ferrari at The WINX Stand

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The Australian Turf Club’s newest venue, The WINX Stand at Royal Randwick, wrapped up its first year in appropriate, opulent style at the end of November, hosting Universo Ferrari, a showcase of the iconic car brand that has never been held outside of Ferrari’s birthplace of Maranello, Italy.

The exhibition – which Ferrari executives pointed out was not intended as a look-but-don’t-touch museum situation – featured 18 cars, including Ferrari’s newest model, launched to the Australian market at the event, which, with four doors and a massive boot, is the closest Ferrari has ever come to a family car.

The Ferrari event aimed to give Ferrari owners, enthusiasts and Tifosi – a term for fans of Ferrari’s Formula 1 team – in Australia and New Zealand an up-close experience of the brand, an experience that was no doubt heightened by the border closures and travel restrictions of the pandemic.

“Not everybody can always travel to Maranello to see Ferrari – this is our way to bring Maranello to Sydney,” said Ferrari Australasia president Jan Hendrik Voss, who has been with the brand for nearly a decade and has recently joined the team in Australasia, moving to Australia a little over a year ago.

“The reason for doing Universo Ferrari was that I noticed very quickly once I landed on the shores of Australia that there’s a deep passion for Ferrari,” said Voss at a Q&A for the business events community at a special preview of the exhibition.

“People are very knowledgeable, very astute and there’s a strong motoring community and there’s a strong passion for the brand Ferrari.

“After the hiatus of what the world went through, I felt immediately there was a strong desire to re-engage the Ferrari family and the Ferrari community to be together and share our passions,” he says.

Inside Universo Ferrari at The WINX Stand
Ferrari Australasia president Jan Hendrik Voss (far right) and Ferrari’s regional marketing manager Andrew Yeung do a Q&A with ATC’s executive general manager of commercial Melinda Madigan at the business events showcase at Universe Ferrari | Credit: Oneill Photographics

Voss visited Royal Randwick during the Autumn Racing Carnival and immediately saw the synergies between the venue and his brand.

“I was thinking, how great would it be to do Universo Ferrari, for a brand that has a prancing horse in the logo…on this beautiful racetrack where the most successful horses compete.”

“The decision then, I think, was very quickly made to bring Universo Ferrari to Australia and here we are today and what better occasion to do this than the year that marks the 75th anniversary of the brand and the 70th anniversary of the first Ferrari ever arriving on the Australian shores.”

Ferrari’s regional marketing manager Andrew Yeung said the event had been 18 to 24 months in the making.

“It’s almost a pinch me moment now,” said Yeung of being able to bring the event to Australia, so far from Ferrari’s traditional home, particularly with all the logistics involved in bringing Ferraris from all over the world, including from the USA, Europe and all over Australia.

Yeung said Ferrari has been in discussions with the ATC for “the last couple of years”.

And with the WINX Stand only open for a year and nothing more than a patch of grass in late 2020, there was some serious trust – and artists impressions – involved in the process that led to the event being held at Royal Randwick.

“We had a tour of the facility when it was still in construction phase,” said Yeung.

“We trusted you and obviously [we’re] extremely happy with the result. We couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out the last couple of days,” he said at the business events showcase.

“The team itself – as you said, you’ve got world-class hospitality here… I know you were more than capable of delivering.

“On the commercial side, your team’s been fantastic, so there’s no complaints at all – it’s been a dream,” said Yeung.

Inside Universo Ferrari at The WINX Stand
The business event showcase event outside the Universo Ferrari exhibition | Image credit: Oneill Photographics

From an event organiser perspective, the versatility of the WINX Stand that the Ferrari event demonstrated was remarkable.

“If you’re familiar with Royal Randwick, which is a beautiful facility, it’s also so versatile – [it’s] almost unrecognisable, because it allows and accommodates for changing it to your liking,” said Voss of how the Ferrari event had reshaped the venue for its tenure.

“And so, you will have a whole new perspective, I think, on The WINX and there are some of the most stunning and sought after vehicles that even collectors have never seen before on display.”

Moving through the moody lighting and the gleaming cars of Universo Ferrari that evening, micenet can confirm that the space felt like an entirely different proposition from the opening event we attended a year ago.

The outdoor terrace which connects the two second floor spaces remains a standout element of The WINX Stand and for Universo Ferrari, it was also the stage for the new Ferrari Purosangue, the first four-door Ferrari model – with the blue sky and the Randwick racecourse laid out behind it and The WINX Stand letters reflected on its bonnet, it was quite a sight.

Inside Universo Ferrari at The WINX Stand
The new Ferrari Purosangue model on show on The WINX second floor outdoor terrace | Credit: Oneill Photographics

It’s been a strong first year for The WINX Stand, which has hosted 82 meetings and events and 55,000 attendees.

“In just 12 months, the WINX Stand at Royal Randwick has exceeded all expectations,” ATC’s executive general manager of commercial, Melinda Madigan, told the business events audience at the pre-event for Universo Ferrari.

“It has seen a phenomenal response that has seen it booked out, back-to-back every week for its first year, with many, many more bookings to come.”

The venue has hosted an impressive variety of events this year – business and consumer – from the Dally M Awards to the Mumbrella Awards, the Affordable Art Fair, Gin Palooza, the Australian British Chamber of Commerce Christmas party and a Telstra Vantage event which took over the whole of Royal Randwick.

“Every single one of these events has brilliantly demonstrated the versatility, the depth, the breadth and the uniqueness of ATC venues. Each event has also showcased the expertise, the passion, the dedication of ATC’s award-winning events and hospitality team,” said Madigan.

Universo Ferrari is the latest – and possibly greatest – of a run of automotive events to be held at ATC venues – both Royal Randwick and Rosehill Gardens – over recent years.

In September 2020, Bentley launched its new Bentayga at Royal Randwick, which saw ATC’s Clerk of the Course horse Aussie make a special appearance, dressed in a Bentley saddlecloth. In 2021, the launch of the Porsche Taycan saw attendees take the new model for a spin in the centre of the racetrack at Royal Randwick and earlier this year, Minis DownUnder celebrated 60 years of the brand in Australia at Rosehill Gardens, with 140 Minis onsite and a crowd of over 1,000 people.

It seems the ATC’s motto of “You dream it. We’ll host it.” is playing out in real life.

As Madigan pointed out at Universo Ferrari, “Ferrari dreamt it, we’re hosting it.”

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