Drive Day


My time had arrived to go on the Ferrari drive day provided by Prancing Horse.

The starting point is the Prancing Horse base in Marrackville Sydney. When you arrive you are greeted by the following site:


Our mounts for the day (from R to L, 328, 355, 360, 430)

Four shiny Ferrari's (328GTS, 355, 360 and a 430). Best of all they seem to be in need of some drivers!


I think I'll take the one on the left first  (from R to L, 360, 430)

After overcoming my shyness I whip out my camera and start taking shots. Soon the other drivers for the day also rock up and we all introduce ourselves. The guys from Prancing Horse now shepherd us inside and read the riot act. No not really, but they do make sure we understand the value of these machines and that we are responsible for them. Most importantly we are cautioned against doing anything stupid while driving as these cars are like nothing else most people have even driven!

We sign a few documents, take a breath analyser and then get take back outside for a briefing on each car. That over we now draw lots for our vehicles and co-drivers. With 4 cars and 8 drivers we will each take turns at driving and being a passenger in each car.

I draw the most powerful car of the lot, the 430, to start with. I slide behind the drivers wheel and listen intently to the instructions on how to make the car go vrooom. Before we head off for our trip we take a bit of a drive up the street and back to get a 'feel' for our rides. I can feel how powerful the 430 is but it is surprisingly easy to drive.

We head off through the Sydney morning heading south. As we start clearing the city I start to give the 430 a bit of boot and am blown away with how quick it is (not to mention the noise from the engine). I get the opportunity to test the 430's acceleration by dashing away from the lights but ensure that I reign it in before reaching the speed limit as nothing says you are going quick than a red Ferrari.

We head south and turn off towards the Royal National Park and our first stop Audley Weir. I reluctantly dismount the vehicle and part take in some morning tea. Every is almost babbling with excitement now.



The smoking 328GTS
.

 

The big boy of the bunch. The 430

Looks good from any angle

Push the red button on the left of the steering wheel to make it start.

An experience inside or outside.

It's soon time to head off and no one is complaining as we once again slide into the cockpit (it's my turn to ride shotgun in the 430). However, as we go to head off the 328GTS decides to blow off some smoke from somewhere under the dashboard and won't start. Oh no, does this mean our day is over before it has really started? Luckily not. Fortunately one of the principals of Prancing Horse has his own Ferrari 328GTS that he can lend us. What a nice man. Problem is that it'll take him a little while to arrive but everyone agrees that we should continue.

We spend a pleasant morning further ogling the cars and smiling at other people's reactions when they see four bright red Ferrari's in one car park.






The replacement 328GTS arrived and we were off again, this time with me as a passenger in the 430. Now being a passenger is whole different ballgame, especially in a car like this. It did however give me the opportunity to take a number of short videos.


At the next changeover point over looking the ocean, I took control of the 328 GTS. This is a completely different beast to the 430 I had driven earlier. The first thing was that it was manual and secondly the hand brake is on the right hand side near the drivers door. The other thing about the hand brake was that it was the type that you pull up, press and release. Now, no matter what the state of the actual brake, on or off, the handle returns to the floor. Very deceptive as I was about to find out.

After only a very short distance I knew there was something wrong with the car. It took me a little while to actually discover that the hand brake was still engaged. Worse still I couldn't get it come off. We had to therefore radio for help from the boys from Prancing Horse in the lead car to circle back and assist.

Turns out that the hand brake on this vehicle 'tends' to get stuck (no kidding!) but after a quick jerk up and press in it was released. 

The 328GTS being a much older car is completely different to drive from all the cars. It is much heavier and you need a significant amount of strength to even depress the clutch, yet alone shift gears. It does take some getting used to. Having the hand brake on the opposite side also proved a little challenging when it came to hill starts. I again managed to get the hand break stuck on but luckily now I had seen the 'magic touch' I could get it off after a few tries.

We now hit the freeway heading south towards Kiama where we could open the taps a little and enjoy the 'symphony of horse power'.









All in a line

We pulled over at the end of the freeway to swap drivers again. It was now turn to ride shotgun for the trip around the back, through the hills and to downtown Kiama for our lunch break.

We all take a pit stop for lunch
We dawdled through town to our lunchtime stop, pulling up a 'U' shaped driveway in full view all the patrons. What a way to make an entrance. We then summarily enjoyed a fantastic lunch over looking the ocean.

As good as it was to take a break everybody couldn't wait to return to our steeds. I was really looking forward to this stint, as I would be behind the wheel of the 355. Although a more modern car than the 328GTS it still retains a lot of the its distinctive looks.

We headed back the way we came, through town, looping back around through the hill towards the freeway north. It was glorious to drive in the rural setting into the hills and be able to feel the power of the 355.



All too soon it was time to pull over again and change drivers. I reluctantly handed over control of the 355 and took my place in the passenger seat for the ride back up the freeway.



After the freeway run it was time for the final vehicle change and my final stint behind the wheel. My co-driver and I moved to the 360 for the return leg to Marrickville.











Unfortunately, as you can see it started to rain on when my co-driver took the wheel for this stint back to Sydney. The car was easily able to handle the condition but what I did learn is that those fold down roofs don't always line up. However, that still did not spoil the enjoyment as the sun set and we approached our end point.




After our return to the starting point in Sydney everybody had nothing but superlatives about the whole experience. Some of us whiled our time away in the workshop and grabbing a last caffeine hit before we returned to the reality of our own cars.

Was it worth it? Without doubt and I thank the guys from Prancing Horse who made it all happen. They do a fantastic job of enhancing the whole experience and probably have one of the most envied jobs judging by all the comments made by my fellow drivers.

My favourite drive for the day? For me it was the 355, however I was amazed at how easy all the modern models are to drive. Takeaways for me are firstly the noise. Nothing beats the sound of a Ferrari V8 and secondly the acceleration these things have. Wow! I'm still negotiating with my bank manager to allow me to own one. Some day, some day.