Xtreme Xperience with a Ferrari F430


IMG_0002 (Medium)  The best way to describe it is as taking someone else’s car for a single autocross run on a course you don’t know.


You want to go fast, the car is fast, but you hold back a bit.  Why?  It boils down to confidence.  You have almost zero time to get comfortable with the car other than getting your seat in the correct position.  I literally touched the brake pedal twice (at walking pace) before heading out on track for some hot laps.  Add to that the weather.  It was raining absolute buckets of water right up to the point we pulled up to the track.  In the classroom section, we were instructed that part of the lap would be on the dry line, part would be on the wet line, and part would be on a line away from puddles and water running on the track.  My last excuse is that I hadn’t been at the track in about 5 years, and since then it had been reconfigured and repaved.  There were a lot of unknowns, which caused me not too push the car very hard.


All that said, even driving at 7/10ths was a good time and experience.  For those who might think this is “driving a fast car slow”, I would say you are mostly wrong.  If you drive these kinds of cars all the time on tracks, then yes you will be disappointed.  However, anything less than that you should have a good time.  You can use the paddle shift if you would like; the traction control is on but is left in Sport or Performance mode.  Traction control never interfered with my drive, even on a wet track.


As for the car itself… the sound and feel of the F430 at WOT is awesome.  The entire car feels very sharp.  The brake pedal is instant, the throttle is heavy, the steering is very precise.


I certainly would recommend doing it once, but I’m not sure it’s something I keep doing.  My biggest complaint was the lack of time in the car.  If you want more time in the car, or on a race track, there are probably better ways to accomplish that.