The day arrived that I would finally and with tightly crossed fingers that I would finally get to drive a Ferrari. An early drive meant that I was walking to the beach front at 9am. I was early and at the same time eager. I had a morning coffee on the beach front on a damp and overcast morning, not exactly awe inspiring.
As I waited for the car to arrive, I wondered about the whereabouts of my travelling friend. He had not yet arrived. I took some time to reflect on my trip so far. I had gone through so many cities. Seen so many sights, as if trying to fill every moment to capacity. I was becoming tired of travel and living out of a backpack. I was happy to know that I had only lost two pairs of thongs (flip flops). I had enjoyed travelling but maybe the time had come to head to London.
Inward reflection out of the way I looked at my watch and realised that there was only 5 mins to our drive and it was then that my compatriot arrived. Nearly out of breath, with a grin across his face. Obviously excited, I soon learned something else. His disappointment at not getting to drive in Monaco led him to a late night on the drink. He already mentioned to me that his licence in Ausralia was suspended, I started to wonder if he was going to be able to drive at all.
A Ferrari 360 Modena arrived at the Raoul Casino. After a round of scissors, paper, rock I settled for taking the second drive. And yes the thought that the car wouldn’t return certainly entered my mind. I was happy to the car’s safe return after the first drive.
Although the style of Ferrari’s have moved on quite a bit since the release of the 360, this one had all the soul you expect from a Ferrari. You can tell that the interior is had crafted with hints of subtle imperfections. It wasn’t exactly built for my 6″2′ body, but I was comfortable enough once I got in, but getting in wasn’t exactly graceful. The machine finished gear slots and dials make you feel that you are getting into car that was built to excite the racing soul, not to pamper.
The pedals are snugly placed to the left of the foot well, quite close together, mind you being in France, the steering wheel is on the left. Is this a good time to mention that I had not driven a left hand drive car before? The group of on lookers with their cameras out added to the experience. They were not disappointed when I turned the key and the engine awoke with a rumble. A quick stab on the accelerator started my heart racing.
As I took off I could tell that the car had a racing clutch, very little room for play. a lapse in concentration would certainly make for an embarrassing stall. I put the car into first and started to take off. I cautiously waited for the traffic to pass before taking off. The all encompassing sound of the 3.6 litre V8 was like a symphony playing behind me… As you can probably tell I was completely taken by the car. So much so that I ran a red light and nearly veered into the lane beside me.
I continued cautiously until the drive instructor said “You know, this is a Ferrari, its made to be driven.” I needed no more encouragement than that. I dropped the car into second gear and felt the immediate push and roar of the engine. The tail end of the car stepped out slightly. My grin was obvious proof of the thrill I got. I allowed the tail to come back tipped into third and all of a sudden I was certain I was going much faster than I should be on a public road.. In a foreign country… on the wrong side of the road… in a car that was originally priced at $180,ooo. I reigned in my speed and just enjoyed the rest of the drive along the Nice beach front.
This would be an experience that I would never forget. It was also the experience that made for a wonderful conclusion to an amazing journey that took me through Europe.
For the Ferrari Drive Experience, Visit drivingexperience.livenup.fr.