The IOM Steam Packet Company helped raise the Island’s profile as a superb venue for car clubs to visit by shipping a Ferrari 458 Italia to Douglas for a road test by a leading motoring website.

MSN’s Cars Editor Ian Dickson visited the Island to put the Ferrari through its paces on Manx roads.

Ian explained: ‘With the TT festival and the Manx Rally, the Isle of Man is something of a mecca for motorsport enthusiasts and when deciding where to test a Ferrari for a story on MSN Cars, there was only one location that could do this car justice.

‘The stunning scenic backdrop, especially on the Mountain Road, was perfect for our photographer to produce a set of images which showed off the Ferrari 458 Italia vividly, while the roads were a perfect test of this £200,000 supercar. The Steam Packet Company was instrumental in setting this story up and were a great help in choosing accommodation that allowed us to maximise our time on the island. Without their help we would probably have stayed in England for this drive story.’

The Steam Packet Company carries out a lot of promotional activity each year to attract visitors to the Island. While many people come to visit friends and relatives or to take a short break or holiday, there are other groups for whom the Island has much to offer.

Working closely with Isle of Man Tourism, the Company has been highly successful in attracting an increasing number of car clubs who have now added the Isle of Man to their calendar of events. A number of the clubs are making return visits, having been impressed by the scenery and heritage on their first visit.

Taking advantage of special packages arranged through Steam Packet Holidays, 2010 saw visits by 18 car clubs, comprising around 800 people and 425 cars. Importantly for the tourism and accommodation sectors these visitors accounted for more than 2,500 bed nights during the year.

Visiting clubs include Model ‘T’ Ford, the Jaguar XK Register, Rolls Royce, VW camper, Lotus, TVR, Porsche and Mitsubishi.

Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘With its open roads and spectacular scenery, the Isle of Man has much to offer visiting motorists who can soak up the atmosphere at their own pace.

‘This is an area that we will be looking to develop further in coming years and we’ve already received a number of enquiries – and bookings – for 2011.’

Photo for PR186 IOM visit for Ferrari road test FINAL210111