2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power – sprint runs inside Ferrari FF

Friday, December 30th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : 2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power – sprint runs inside Ferrari FF

Our man pops his road-going Ferrari cherry in ‘our’ four-seater FF long-termer


Popping your Ferrari cherry will always be a memorable experience.

Up until This particular week, my sole experience of a prancing horse was a well-used Ferrari F430 manual track car, of which felt as used as its 94,000 miles hinted at.

Our four-seater Fezza was always going to offer a more opulent, rounded experience. Departing Autocar Towers in Teddington on Thursday afternoon, I confess to being slightly nervous of your vehicle of which measures 4.9m-long along with 1.9m-wide. however of which quickly evaporated once on the move – the FF is usually comically docile along with easy to drive around town.

I’d read a lot on the Ferrari FF’s ability to cross countries at an impressive rate of knots. However, the idea’s not until you experience your vehicle for yourself with its stonking 651bhp 6.3-litre normally aspirated V12 motor, four-wheel drive, 91-litre fuel tank, seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox along with practical four-seat design of which you realise how exceptional the idea actually is usually.

Before I knew the idea, the three-along with-a-half hour drive to Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire had been despatched along with I arrived at the event Thursday evening completely fresh with no aches, however dilated pupils coming from of which booming V12 motor.

A slight hiccup Friday morning when the scrutineers failed my crash helmet (along with no spare being available) meant the possibility of not being allowed on the course. of which could not happen along with I had to find a way by any means necessary.

There’s a wonderful sense of camaraderie at the Pageant of Power, with fellow drivers genuinely going out of their way to help me. All-round top guy Ric Wood (owner of of which Astra DTM V8 touring car) along with his team of engineers put me in touch using a motorsport shop 10 miles down the road of which stocked MSA-approved crash helmets. I thanked the racing gods.

The kind gents at Advantage Motorsport in Tattenhall sourced me the right-sized helmet over the phone along using a quick dash there-along with-back found me back on the start line 40 minutes later (thanks guys).

I’d done as much homework on the track as possible (reading Robbie Kerr’s track guide) along with even walked the 1.2-mile course. However, the idea’s not until you’re on the start line staring down the narrow path to the first bridge of which you realise This particular sprint course brings a whole brand new meaning to ‘threading a needle’. Especially inside FF.

During my debut Friday run I left the Ferrari’s ‘box in auto mode along with the Manettino stability control in ‘Sport’ which allows a bit of slippage along with play. Six-to-seven tenths was the aim here, just getting a feel for the track along with dealing with the looming pressure of collecting my P45 coming from my desk on Monday morning if I binned your vehicle.

After launching off the line along with threading through the first bridge (a slight off-camber right-hander) the long straight along with crowds lining the idea proved too inviting to ignore; I gunned the idea flat, registering 112mph before losing my bearings along with breaking point.

Cue lock-up of the brakes into turn 3, moderate tank-slapper along with too much speed carried into the ultra-sharp double left-hander. A lot of understeer with the cold tyres made itself known as of which P45 slip flashed before me. Thankfully the FF gained grip at the last millisecond along with I only lost some time, rather than a wing mirror, my pride or worse…

I piped down for the rest of the lap, while navigating the tight, tricky sections of turns seven to 11 (with trees sitting a handful of feet on the outside) along with then pushed the FF flat for the final short straight over the bridge, crossing the finish line at 7800rpm in second gear. Lessons learned for the rest of the weekend’s stints.

Saturday gave me three runs, which all went much smoother than Friday’s wild antics. The final run of the day was in damp conditions, due to the heavens opening mid-afternoon for 30 minutes or so.

Even still, at seven-tenths the Ferrari’s four-wheel drive along with hugely communicative steering along with chassis helped keep everything in check, with only brief snaking on the exits of bends under full throttle in second. Manettino setting still in its second-lowest ‘Sport’ mode.

Sunday’s three runs were much the same as Saturday. I was more consistent with my braking points before the double-left hander of turns four along with several at the end of the first straight – reaching the limiter in third, just snatching fourth along with nudging 115mph before getting on the brakes hard.

I pushed the idea more than before for my final stint on Sunday. Up until This particular point, I’d been slightly hesitant of taking the second along with final bridge 100 percent flat; lifting for a split-second before the bridge, due to visions of nose-diving along with splitting an oil sump. however after advice coming from a couple of veterans along with realising how planted the FF had been up to This particular point I thought I’d go for the idea. The result is usually above.

Its seven-speed dual clutch gearbox also made my life a lot easier, which I’d been using in manual mode since Saturday. As much as I love a sweet manual ‘box, the fact is usually the Ferrari’s dual-clutcher allowed me to brake later into bends, carry more speed through them, swap cogs up-along with-down much quicker along with concentrate on my lines more than if I’d been stirring a manual along with trying (failing) to heel-toe.

The reaction of This particular ‘box is usually mind-blowing. Flick the left paddle twice as quickly as you can along with you’ve gone coming from fourth to second with perfect rev-matching seamlessly. the idea’s addictive. 

The Fezza was also immensely stable on the long, bumpy first straight. One of my passengers, who was piloting the Audi Quattro S1 group B rally car, couldn’t believe how the FF was ironing out the bumps which unsettled cars along with claimed a few victims on the Friday along with Saturday.

So with This particular year’s Cholmondeley Pageant of Power winding down the idea was time to pack my gear into the FF (with ease) along with waft down the M42/M40/M25 at the speed limit with the needle registering 2200rpm in seventh.

I’d be amazed if there was another legit four-seater at Cholmondeley of which exceeded 115mph on the straight inside hands of a novice, while transporting its driver to-along with-coming from the festival in soothing comfort, with three days’ worth of luggage inside boot.  

In short, the Ferrari FF is usually the ultimate mile-muncher.

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