1. November 2000, drove my brother's new P&J, a 328GTS, Muiderberg, Netherlands. My first time behind the wheel of a Ferrari. Unforgettable.
2. 7 May 2010. My 40th birthday. Second day of the first Mille Miglia Tribute, Italy, driving my 330GTC. Drove Imola circuit to wake up, then an amazing drive through Le Marche, up through San Marino, through snow in the Sibellini mountains. But that was not all yet, because close to Rieti, I shared around 1 hour of empty roads with a 275GTB. Both of us pushing our cars, V12s wailing, all the way to Rome in glorious sunshine. To round off my birthday, Luca di Montezemolo was very complimentary about my car, and my brother and I had a great dinner. It was an 18 hour, 600 mile, high.
3. The drive from Mallaigh to Fort William, Scotland, 3rd May 2012, 365BB. Having watched Vitalone drive my 365BB so well on the way in (see above), I decided to really test her mettle on the way back. So many things clicked on that drive, I had an epiphany on how to properly drive a 365BB. The car was barely under 6,000 rpms for the whole stretch of 30 miles or so, the noise was glorious. I took a good look at every corner, shifted down and dipped the brakes, unsettled the car and steered in. As the rear mass of the engine was on the edge of gaining momentum in the wrong direction, I was nearing the apex and applied power just before it. She would immediately settle down and rocket me out of the corner. In later sections with two bends following each other I could even use this inertia moment to gain me an advantage in the second corner, the weight in the back already being in the right place if I timed it well. It was a near religious experience to be so in tune with the car, using the weight but never close to breaking out the back. The BB is so compliant it you listen well. Don't use a strong hand, but use quick and light hands. The last memory I have was that the oil temp was on max as the 365BB is not built for such long periods of high revving. I gave her a good cooling down as a reward.
4. 9th of June, 2009. FLED2, Switzerland, first mountain pass in my new-to-me 330GTC (212export, cn you remember which pass it was?) on the way down. Having followed Boxer's well driven 360 Modena with ease up the mountain (surprising him but certainly myself, revealing new depths to classic Ferrari driving), on the way down things weren't going so well. I was running out brakes half way down. Thinking about slowing down, I realised that people like Mairesse, Gendebien, and Frere had pushed these cars (at least the sister car 275GTB and predecessor 250SWB) much harder than I was, back in the day. I was thinking: how did they do it? And suddenly it hit me: stop driving like a modern driver and stop using your brakes all the time. Trust the chassis to carry more speed through corners, anticipate the corner, predetermine the ideal gear to be in, use compression braking, only use the brakes once and hard just before the corner - minimising the time for the pads to warm up, maximising the time for them to cool down, use the friction of the tyres to help you get 'round the bend, accellerate before the apex to help the car squat down and wiggle its butt. All of a sudden my brakes came back, and I was going much faster with less pain. She and I started dancing, it was as if it was a different car. I was a better driver at the end of the day than I was at the start. Thank you, GTC.
5. August 2007. 550 Maranello, San Bernardino pass, Swiss side. My first drive into Italy in a Ferrari, but the drive up to the border was even mrore memorable. My first mountain pass where I pushed my Ferrari (would not do that now in Switzerland, the law is not flexible there). I did not take any risks or endanger anyone, but I did exploit the full 485bhp of that glorious V12. The butt wiggled a few times on open corners with a good view. There was hardly any traffic and it was a glorious sunny day. Just magic.
6. August 2007, Innsbrück Austria to Amsterdam, 550 Maranello. In 6 hours. Didn't break the speed limit but averaged over 100mph including two fuel fill ups. What the Maranello was made for - but I will never better that average, the roads are too busy now.
7. 12th May 2012, Hilversum, Netherlands. Drove my brand-spanking new 458 out of the showroom.
8. 16th May 2012, mountain pass north of Lucca, Italy. Pushed my 458 on a bumpy, hairpinny, road and really connected with it. Such a well balanced machine, she talked to me like the 330GTC and the 365BB, only she spoke much faster...
9. 11 June 2012, Spa Francorchamps circuit, 458 Italia. Felt nervous about driving Spa in my uninsured 458. And now it was raining! But I need not have worried. In RACE mode she is glorious, so communicative. I applied the same light touch - small corrections, trying to keep the car in balance, feeling around the limit but not applying brute force. I had a fantastic time, but the track was very greasy. It was tyring work, and I decided to skip the last session after the excellent but heavy lunch. Still think that was a wise decision.
10. All the drives (the vast majority) where it wasn't about pushing the car but being with my friends who share this passion. The wonderful drives with FerrariLifers on the epic FLEDs, the holidays in Italy visiting the Mille Miglia, the drives with Vitalone through Holland, the visits to Goodwood Revival. These 6 years of Ferrari ownership have been absolutely amazing, and far surpassed anything I had imagined beforehand.
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