DETROIT – Ferrari SpA, the Italian sports-car maker known for its bold style and technological extravagance, announces plans to celebrate its 60th year in operation in grand style – with a rally race around the world.

Outlined against the backdrop of the auto maker’s racing and road cars on display at the North American International Auto Show here, the Ferrari 60 Relay event will bring together Ferrari clients and their cars representing every model and era, Vice General Manager Amedeo Felisa says.

Beginning Jan. 28 in Abu Dhabi, where a Ferrari theme park is set to be built in the near future, the symbolic race will cover ground in about 50 countries and conclude at a special event to be held June 21-24 at the auto maker’s home base in Maranello, Italy.

Throughout the event, rally participants will carry and pass a baton specially created for the occasion, with embossed symbols of the 60 greatest moments in Ferrari’s history.

Along the way, Felisa says, each country will dedicate to Ferrari an object of local cultural importance that will be exhibited and auctioned off for charity once the event has concluded.

The planned route for the tour begins in the Middle East and travels throughout the Asia/Pacific region before traversing through the North, South and Latin Americas. The relay then embarks on an extensive tour of Europe before ending in Italy for the final celebration.

Included in the festivities is Ferrari’s first concours d’elegance, a series of track events in and around Maranello and a collection of 60 of the auto maker’s most important technical innovations; from special aluminum pliers for brake discs to the modern-day F1 gearbox and electronic differential.

Sixty symbols will be created for the event by six different creative teams, tracing the history of the legendary race and sports car maker, from its first victory at the Rome Grand Prix in 1947 to the present-day FXX supercar development program.

The images are to be made into a series of collectible posters for Ferrari enthusiasts.

The Ferrari 60 Relay, although much more significant in terms of importance and scale, is the most recent of such events put on by the auto maker.

Ferrari symbolized its push into the Chinese market in 2005 by taking two of its 612 Scaglietti grand tourers on a 15,000-mile (24,140-km) trek across the country.

And recently, a pair of 620-hp 599 GTB coupes completed a 20,000-mile (32,187-km) journey from the tip of South America to New York City to showcase the durability and practicality of Ferrari’s latest models.

Unlike these unique events, which were driven in stages by various international journalists, the Ferrari 60 Relay represents the first customer-oriented rally for the auto maker, Felisa says, noting the auto maker would not be as successful as it is today without its dedicated fan base of clients.

msutton@wardsauto.com