Open to Question – Claus Frimand
With the opening of Ferrari World at the end of 2010, the attractions industry has been provided with one of the most spectacular and innovative indoor theme parks anywhere in the world.
Based on the iconic Italian sports car brand and developed in close association with the famous manufacturing company created by Enzo Ferrari, the venue offers a stunning visitor experience under the cover of what can only be described as one of the most spectacular roofs in the business!
Our ‘petrolhead’ editor Andrew Mellor is in his element as he finds our more from Ferrari World general manager Claus Frimand…
InterPark: When did you get involved in the theme park/attractions industry and in what capacity?
Claus Frimand: I have worked in the tourism and leisure industry for more than 25 years. I started out in the theme park industry in 1991 when I joined the team responsible for the launch of Disneyland Paris and became general manager of Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in 2007.
IP: How did you become general manager at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi?
CF: I was approached to head up Farah Leisure Parks Management, the company responsible for launching an ambitious new project – the world’s first Ferrari theme park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
IP: Who owns Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and which company is operating it?
CF: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has been developed by Aldar Properties PJSC, Abu Dhabi’s leading property development, management and investment company. The park is managed by Farah Leisure Parks Management, a joint venture between Aldar Properties PJSC and ProFun Management Group, an international leisure facilities management and operating company.
IP: What have been some of the main challenges in creating what is the world largest indoor theme park?
CF: One of the key challenges is turning one of the world’s most iconic and exclusive brands into an accessible, family friendly experience. Every aspect of the park must live up to Ferrari’s exceptionally high standards from the building design to the detailing on the rides and attractions. For example, the roof has been painted in the exact same Ferrari red pantone as the Ferrari F1 vehicles.
IP: Ferrari is a very glamorous, world renowned brand. How has this benefited the park’s development?
CF: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi allows fans and families of all ages to share in the passion and rich history of Ferrari. The Ferrari legend has inspired the entire concept of the park and is reflected in all the rides and attractions. For example, Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, which reaches speeds of 240 km/h in under five seconds, is a celebration of the speed and technical innovation associated with Ferrari, while Bell’Italia, a detailed miniature recreation of Italy’s most famous sites, is a tribute to Ferrari’s Italian heritage. Galleria Ferrari, the world’s largest Ferrari gallery outside of Maranello, will showcase the evolution of Ferrari into one of the world’s most iconic brands.
IP: What are your headline attractions and what makes them so special?
CF: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi provides unforgettable experiences for everybody, with more than 20 state of the art rides and attractions. Those who wish to start their Ferrari World Abu Dhabi experience in top gear will get their adrenaline fix at the G-Force blasting through the red roof, before being dropped from a hair-raising height of 62m. Guests, after a truly turbo charged Ferrari experience, cannot go past Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster with a lightning bolt top speed of 240km/h. Dare devils can also indulge their competitive streak on the Fiorano GT Challenge, where two F430 Spider-styled roller coaster carriages will battle for dominance on the track. Scuderia Challenge also pits eight guests against each other in an advanced simulator, racing on the Yas Marina Circuit, while (as already mentioned) Galleria Ferrari is the largest display of Ferrai’s outside the factory in Maranello, Italy.
IP: Working with such a strong and historic brand must have created all sorts of ideas for attractions and facilities. Are there any that you would have liked to see incorporated into the park that haven’t been done?
CF: The current range of more than 20 attractions pretty much completes my wish list. However, like Ferrari, we are always looking for ways to improve our offering. We have developed the park in such a way that allows for future expansion and additions when the time is right.
IP: What is your target market for Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and how many visitors are you expecting in the first year of operation?
CF: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi features a host of rides and attractions that appeal to and attract a diverse international audience of fans and families. The park fills a considerable need in the Middle East for family friendly leisure attractions which can be enjoyed all year round, and we expect a big turn out from the GCC accordingly. We are putting a huge focus on creating a highly memorable and enjoyable experience which will keep guests coming back again and again.