Sometimes something’s in life just blow you away, like seeing your child being born, the first time you travel on a plane, cracking that riff on a guitar solo, all different things on different levels but all things that just make you realise how awesome life can be. To this list I’m going to add driving the Ferrari 488 Pista, ok riding shotgun in one but even so a combination of the Goodwood hill and a Ferrari 488 Pista will literally blow your mind!
Getting a phone call from Ferrari UK inviting you to any of their events is pretty special, being invited to Goodwood FoS and to jump in a Ferrari to go on track up the hill, well let’s say I’d have walked over broken glass to get there for that!
So it was, I got the phone call, booked my hotel sorted my Media Acceditation out and it was going to be a good trip, bring it on. Now I’m a massive petrolhead, I wouldn’t have started Enzari if I wasn’t, I don’t claim to be the most knowledgeable about cars, like everything in life you are constantly learning but I love cars, always have done – always will and none more so than Ferrari. It is the holy grail in the car world as far as I’m concerned, the brand that makes you salivate like Homer Simpson when you hear a new car is on the way, and fall in love when you see it. That goes for classics too, not just the 250GTO’s , 275’s and so on but the 400, 456 they are all special, creative objects penned by people who know what a car is and what it means. Don’t get me wrong I love other car brands too, yes mainly Italian, I am after all on my fourth Alfa Romeo and love them but this article is about Ferrari.
Arriving at Goodwood is an epic affair, as one question always comes to mind – What first? On this occasion it was simple, find Ferrari, I needed to get checked in and make sure everything was sorted. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Ferrari UK’s Regional Manager of Communications/PR a few times, everything goes through this guy, if it’s Ferrari and it’s going to happen then he’s the man, and he cannot be more helpful, he has followed Enzari almost since we started and his support is brilliant. So checking in with the Ferrari UK guys to make sure we are all ok for the drive is done, all boxes ticked and he informs me our run will be the last of the day, so enjoy Goodwood and he’ll catch me later.
I was just about to wander off to begin my day of networking and enjoy Goodwood when he add’s ‘oh you’ll be going up the hill in the Pista, is that ok?’ ‘Yes, yes brilliant’ I managed to burble out, actually what I wanted to say was, ‘yes that’s fine and I’ll drive it home later’ but somehow I didn’t find the courage, either that or didn’t want to act like a Muppet (you decide!)
Now I could go on and tell you about Goodwood, the awesome cars, the noises, the smell (“that my friend is the smell of motoring heaven”) but I won’t because you know what, if you haven’t been already then you should! So now back to the Ferrari…
Returning to the Supercar Paddock, to the Ferrari’s , on display could be seen the the special editions such as the P80/C, Ferrari FXK Evo and those deemed normal by a car maker steeped in such motoring fair, like the Portofino, 456GTC Lusso and what I’d been waiting for all day, the 488 Pista, in yellow, yes yellow not a Ferrari Red or Tour de France blue but Yellow, damn it looked good.
I was told my driver – or more pilot – for the run would be experienced driver James Pickford, a notherner like myself who had started his karting career some years earlier at the Three Sisters Race Circuit near Wigan, only a stones through from Enzari ‘HQ’. James had lots of experienced including racing in the Ferrari Challenge series and as tempting as it was to say he could go and grab a coffee, I’ve got this, I figured maybe he might just edge me in getting the max from the Pista?!
So the waiting began while we sat and discussed cars, racing and how pretty cool Goodwood was, then the call came, grab your helmet, belt up it was time to go. Sat in the passenger seat alongside James I have to admit a touch of envy that he was the guy to take this stunning car up the hill, but I was alongside and was going to enjoy this moment, for it would be a moment, the sprint up the hill would be over before I knew it but it was promised to be a hell of a ride. So without waiting any longer we got flagged to go…
WOW! That Ferrari can shift, I mean as we flew past the grandstands it was a blur, the sound of that turbo V8 just behind my head was glorious, the prancing horse did not prance in fact it was more like a horse flat racing, galloping directly between two points, James handled the Pista magnificently taking it round the corners carrying so much speed and yet composure that despite wondering if he would actually realise the Ferrari came with brakes it skirted the edges of the track like a Winter Olympian doing the Skeleton, only this wasn’t a tea tray on a ice but a beautiful Ferrari taken to the max. From a spectators point of view it looks good, the Pista blasting past and taking the corners like it’s on rails with ease, from inside the cockpit it is simply awesome! Catching a look across to James he certainly seemed to have it all comfortably under control and no expletives came through the radio system suggesting he had misjudged any part of the drive. Everything flashed past so fast then boom it was all over…
As we came to a gentle stop at the top of the hill, parking up with the other Supercars that had also made the run, James asked ‘enjoy that?’ ‘hell ye let’s go again was my response’ it was like Disney’s Space Mountain only 100 times better, taking the twists and turns hurtling towards the top, you could be forgiven for thinking you might just go into hyper space such was the acceleration of the Pista.
After the run up the hill it was a gentle drive parade style back down to the Supercar Paddock, it was in effect all over, I felt a mixture of emotions, elation of what we had just done with disappointment it was finished and wanting to do it all over again. I thanked the guys at Ferrari UK for the brilliant experience and their hospitality
If I was left in any doubt whether the Pista really was a special Ferrari over the ‘standard 488’ it was completely eradicated there and then, it is amazing, truly truly stunning. I cannot think of any other car right now I would take over the Pista, I might not use it everyday, but when you do drive it, every time will be an occasion – every single time… ‘It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up’