Tying emotion into driving a car is not difficult – but the exhilarating feeling of driving down the Bahrain International Circuit’s main straight in a Ferrari at high speed immediately explains why these cars are so highly prized and coveted. Sunk low into the immaculately upholstered leather driver’s seat of the Ferrari, I am tense, my mouth is incredibly dry and I wish I had a spare hand to drink water with, but driving one of these incredible cars on a race track is a ‘hands on the wheel’ full time job and not for the faint-hearted – there is no time for tea when you are behind the steering wheel of a high performance car like this.
Ferrari calls its professional drivers ‘Pilotas’ (Pilots), and they don’t do that for nothing. The Ferrari we drove, the California, is legendary and oozes with quality and power. In a sports car bristling with the best of everything and, sitting in the driver’s seat with all this power waiting to be unleashed, momentarily makes a giant of anyone, and I feel like a champion already. Max, the Ferrari driver, has gently introduced me to the car on a practice lap and carefully demonstrated to me how to navigate the twists and turns in the track and how to use gear changes to maximum effect – Max is safe, serious and funny simultaneously, but he is on the ball and his eyes are everywhere, watching what I am doing, but also watching the other drivers and their actions as well as observing the track, his hand held radio keeping him in contact with all the drivers.
As we race around the last corner and into the main straight, just for a moment I cannot hear Max the Ferrari ‘Pilota’ guiding me in the handling of this exquisite machine. All I can hear are the fans roaring as I cross the imaginary finish line, the same feelings, I am sure, experienced by anyone who has ever driven on an F1 Grand Prix circuit and hurtled down the track, braking hard into the corners and accelerating out as fast as possible, fingers gripping the steering wheel tightly, body tensed and enduring a combination of nervous pain and pleasure.
The Ferrari so many of us saw in Magnum PI, the legendary TV series, is a living reminder of the passion the manufacturer has for excitement, quality, style and, of course – speed.
This is a real thrill, a great experience – and I understand in a flash why these cars are so desirable. Driving a Ferrari is something everyone should do at least once in a lifetime.
Watching the Ferrari cars tear down the F1 Circuit’s main straight, past the pits where, just days before, Ferrari won the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, the unmistakable sound the Ferraris make as they pass at high speed sounds like exaggerated static electricity crackling, filling the air with tense, nervous excitement – it’s quite scary to drive a serious machine like a Ferrari, so carefully crafted and finely tuned to maximum performance limits, but I feel extremely safe and secure and almost invincible inside the ‘cockpit’ of this legendary high performance sports car.
The Ferrari Passione event was hosted at the Bahrain International Circuit by the local Ferrari agent, Euro Motors, and the management team of David, Roger and willing others ensured that the highest standards of safety and presentation were upheld at all times. A detailed safety briefing was provided beforehand, and the stunning hangar interior, snacks, refreshments and catering were more than enough to make the event organisers proud and certainly complemented the high quality and standards that Ferrari commands in everything it does.
Brilliant cars, fantastic location, superb signs and boarding have come together in unison to provide an excellent afternoon of fun, sport and thrills.
Looking at the unmistakable Ferrari brand signage and boards inside the pit hangar, I was clearly reminded that it pays to advertise and “tell what you sell”, even when you have one of the best brands in the world!