The Cavallino has reserved for us a place in the course reserved for customers who own a red: after the ride with the instructor, the study of telemetry with Marc Gené and then the rides with the 1000 horsepower standard hypercar, whose electronics help every driver. Chronicle and emotions of an unforgettable day
Driving a Ferrari on the track is the dream of any motor enthusiast. Doing it in Fiorano, the home circuit of the Cavallino, represents a more unique than rare opportunity. The track is busy for test drivers’ tests and trials almost every day of the year, but an exception had to be made to show the qualities of the SF90 Stradale. And so here we are in this magical place, ready to experience a truly special day together with the instructors of the Ferrari Pilot Course and the most powerful series-production hypercar ever built by the Maranello-based company, with its 1000 horsepower.
The program includes three sessions, each of a few laps, to become familiar with the curves and then with the car, prepared with the special Assetto Fiorano package. To gradually get used to the speed and performance, a soft start is first planned with the younger sister F8 Tributo, which still has 720 horsepower and mind-boggling thrust. Seated to the right of the instructor, you have to hold your breath, while he explains the trajectories, braking points and gears to be used, going well over 200 km / h in all fluency, despite the fact that it is a short and tortuous circuit.
We warm up on the F8 Tributo
When it’s my turn, I start cautiously. Also because Fiorano has some difficult sections to interpret, such as the passage on the bridge that ends with a blind braking downhill, and I risk making a mistake. I want to have fun and possibly do no damage, avoiding foolishness. The instructor by my side seems to trust me. But who knows what he may be thinking… In reality the fears disappear soon, because the F8 Tributo has an excellent insertion in the hairpin bends and brakes hard, transmitting safety. An excellent school car (so to speak!).
On telemetry with Marc Gené
Once I get off the carousel, it’s time to thoroughly analyze my laps to understand how to improve. Marc Gene ‘, former F1 driver linked to the Cavallino and appreciated commentator of Sky Sport Italia, helps me, using the telemetry data. Ferrari makes available to aspiring drivers its own data analysis systems, similar to those used in the GPs by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, allowing them to evaluate speed, use of the accelerator and brake, steering angle in curves and other parameters in every point of the circuit. “Your problem is that you brake hard at first – Gene ‘points out to me -. Instead, you are determined to accelerate out of corners. The curve of the graph is almost similar to that of the instructor, but his was a demonstration lap… ”.
On the track with the SF90 Stradale
The next step is to jump aboard the beast. The SF90 Stradale has stratospheric power and spaceship speed. Impossible not to be in awe. Yet, once behind the wheel, one is surprised. The electronics of this monster are so refined and sophisticated as to make it seem an easy car, within the reach of even the average driver or the common driver, immediately inviting them to push in search of the limit, which is very far to reach. A factor that increases the fun. The old belief that real drivers have to switch off the driving controls to set the best lap times is now out of date. “The electronics we have developed are not invasive. If the driver does not make a mistake, the controls do not intervene, they only act if the driver exceeds the limit – explains the head of the test drivers, Raffaele De Simone -. It means obtaining an ideal result, in terms of performance, without penalizing driving skills ”.
Final exam … and smiles
The Ferrari Driver Course is reserved only for customers who own Maranello cars and among them there are those who then decide to participate in track competitions, including the Ferrari Challenge. I therefore feel privileged. After the practice and the lessons, there is the final exam. A series of laps on the SF90 Stradale following a twin car driven by De Simone, who knows the reds and the Fiorano track like the back of his hand. I can be more daring, in complete safety, and unloading the 1000 horsepower coming out of the hairpin bends on the ground becomes a real pleasure, while I ask the “master” to suggest me via radio the right gears to use. When I return to the pits, walking along the building that the Formula 1 team uses for the single-seater tests, I have a smile like this under the balaclava. Mission accomplished.
July 26, 2021 (change July 26, 2021 | 08:52)
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