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The Ferrari hunter

We meet Josh Cartu: collector, race car driver, and, above all, Ferrari fan

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The Ferrari hunter

The LaFerrari Aperta pulls up to the Arcimboldi Villa: a medieval hunting lodge that sits, somewhat incongruously, in the grounds of Pirelli’s ultra-modern headquarters in Milan. It's hard not to be left in awe by the beauty of this car – or indeed the 15th Century architecture that now surrounds it. The fierceness of the Ferrari’s design is balanced by the subtlety of its interior. Josh Cartu – more about him later – poses for a few photos, then fires it up and drives a few meters with the engine purring. The Canadian race car driver can’t help but smile while gently moving forward.

Cartu is a person in his element. In addition to being a race car driver, he is also a car collector and a Ferrari Club President . "I'm an entrepreneur with several businesses,” he explains. “I have diverse interests and I try to pursue them all. From cars to high tech, I'm passionate about all sorts of different things and I've been able to achieve my dreams through a lot of hard work, passion but most importantly… consistency". 

Born and raised in a small town of 130,000 inhabitants in southern Ontario Canada, Cartu has been obsessed with the world of cars since he was a little boy. "I come from a typical middle-class Canadian family, so I grew up with certain values,” he points out. “When I was a teenager I did odd jobs: from delivering newspapers, making pizzas, to washing cars. But it was my father who really lit the fire inside me for cars. He used to own a dealership that sold Mazda’s. However, he also owned a business called Pace Car which was shipping and importing / exporting exotic cars like Ferrari and Porsche from time to time. Those were the ones I was really captivated by."

He’s a restless individual, and today Cartu's life has moved to the Hungarian capital of Budapest, where he lives and keeps his cars: including the LaFerrari Aperta, a unique model designed by the prancing horse with only 208 of its kind made in the world. "It’s truly an incredible, one-of-a-kind car,” he enthuses. “It's actually quite hard to describe what you feel when you drive it. I’d say it's a blend of adrenaline and excitement, with a bit of fear and reverence thrown in". Although he is an experienced racing driver with several races under his belt, Cartu prefers control over pure speed: "I'm very careful when I drive this car,” he says. “Speed on its own doesn't particularly thrill me. What really gets me going is the thrill of the challenge, not just with my competitors, but also with myself. Like when you need to drive on difficult, demanding roads and show that you’re the best".

With a seemingly unquenchable thirst for new challenges, it was more or less inevitable that the Canadian's world would collide with those of Ferrari and Pirelli. "I’ve got a special relationship and huge respect for both of those two famous brands," he points out – but it’s eyes that really do the talking. His passion for Italian tailor-made products stems from his Italian roots, (his stepmother and sister are Sicilian), and he has a special place in his heart for Italy and la dolce vita. "I've visited Italy a lot and I've always liked it,” he says. “My favourite circuit is still Imola: definitely a complicated track, but also extremely exciting and rewarding at the same time. I also like Mugello, Monza, Valencia and Budapest, but I've got a special bond with Imola".

He’s a restless individual, and today Cartu's life has moved to the Hungarian capital of Budapest, where he lives and keeps his cars: including the LaFerrari Aperta, a unique model designed by the prancing horse with only 208 of its kind made in the world. "It’s truly an incredible, one-of-a-kind car,” he enthuses. “It's actually quite hard to describe what you feel when you drive it. I’d say it's a blend of adrenaline and excitement, with a bit of fear and reverence thrown in". Although he is an experienced racing driver with several races under his belt, Cartu prefers control over pure speed: "I'm very careful when I drive this car,” he says. “Speed on its own doesn't particularly thrill me. What really gets me going is the thrill of the challenge, not just with my competitors, but also with myself. Like when you need to drive on difficult, demanding roads and show that you’re the best".
With a seemingly unquenchable thirst for new challenges, it was more or less inevitable that the Canadian's world would collide with those of Ferrari and Pirelli. "I’ve got a special relationship and huge respect for both of those two famous brands," he points out – but it’s eyes that really do the talking. His passion for Italian tailor-made products stems from his Italian roots, (his stepmother and sister are Sicilian), and he has a special place in his heart for Italy and la dolce vita. "I've visited Italy a lot and I've always liked it,” he says. “My favourite circuit is still Imola: definitely a complicated track, but also extremely exciting and rewarding at the same time. I also like Mugello, Monza, Valencia and Budapest, but I've got a special bond with Imola".

They say that you never forget your first car. That also holds true for Cartu. Despite the fact that he now drives around Milan in a veritable gem, the memory of his very first Ferrari always prevails. If Cartu wasn’t such a nice guy, you’d probably hate him.

 "It was an incredible feeling to buy my first Ferrari,” he says. “I’d been waiting my whole life for that moment and finally I was able to get it. I come from a reasonably normal family; my parents weren't billionaires. So I was only able to achieve my dreams thanks to a lot of hard work and effort, which definitely makes me feel proud. The things you’re able to attain for yourself with sacrifice are special and unforgettable moments;  I’ll never forget that moment".

It’s an important lesson for life. More than the accumulation of things, one the most significant moments to have happened to Cartu in his life so far include meeting people that make up the history of Ferrari. Most kids growing up struggle for recognition.. to be taken seriously by people they deeply respect. "When you happen to be in a room, or sitting at the table with living legends like of Lapo and John Elkann, Enrico Galliera, Raphael De Simone and Sergio Marchionne, it’s something utterly unique and indescribable,” he says. “Having a discussion with these people – giants of the automotive world – is really special. “Since I was a child I dreamed of being able to meet the people who are the heart and soul of Ferrari. To speak with these guys and to know that when they ask my opinion, they listen and take it seriously is an indescribable honor and a privilege that I cherish more than any material thing I’ve achieved so far. For me, this is priceless and probably the most beautiful feeling that anyone can experience. I remember the first time I called one of my friends and I said to him: 'Is it all real, or am I dreaming'?".

It’s real all right. But the rest of us can share Cartu’s world too. His social media profiles have become an important communication tool for telling his own story to the outside world. Almost without realizing it, he’s become a brand, after our interview, Josh Cartu poses for the last few photos with his LaFerrari Aperta. No wonder he’s got a smile on his face.

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