Today I have the pleasure of driving two cars made by Italy’s best of rivals. I will be driving a Ferrari 360 Spider and a Lamborghini Gallardo Spider in what is set to be an amazing experience. I set off early as I’m off to Prestwold Hall in Leicestershire and as I live in Wiltshire it’s quite a trek. The cars and instructors are provided by Everyman Racing.
My companion for the trip is my friend Dave Young. Making our way to the purpose built 1.8 mile track we arrive in good time. Upon arrival we find parking easy and we make our way to register for the drive. We watch as an Ariel Atom is screaming around the track giving passenger rides, the driver is dressed as The Stig.
It’s then time to have a look at the cars they have to drive and there are various Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s and Audi’s on display.
More people arrive and the place begins to fill. Eventually my name is called out and several of us that are driving are ushered into a safety briefing. We are given a talk and watch a DVD. We are also informed that the whole place is rigged to a noise gate and that if we over do it, this will then trip the gate and shut everything down. Why build a track and have Supercars but then have a noise gate? I would imagine that this is to do with noise laws. I welcome anyone from Everyman Racing to comment. After the briefing we are taken around the track by a professional instructor in a Subaru Impreza. 4 laps later with big smiles all around, the instructors drop us off and then begins the wait for the cars.
David is poised with his camera and has a quick wander around the site before my car arrives.
The Ferrari is first up and today I have been allocated a blue 360. This car has a 3.6 litre V8 engine that produces 400 break horse power and a top speed of 180mph. The gearbox is a six speed manual transmission.
Getting in and getting comfy is easy enough but it is fairly cramped as you would expect. The dash is easy to understand and the view out of the windscreen is great.
The instructor comes to the driver door to make sure I’m in and ok. When I ask if I can start the car, I’m flatly denied. This was a first for me but they have a noise gate so I’m not overly bothered. The car is started and goes into a nice idle. The instructor then gets in the passenger side and plugs a memory stick in as today’s drives will be filmed.
The instructor then asks me to make my way out of the paddock onto the track. On the track the acceleration is amazing and the gearbox feels like I’m in a gym, it really is heavy on the clutch and gear stick. Once used to this the Ferrari becomes a very enjoyable car to drive. The grip in the corners is staggering and over the course of the four laps, I really do enjoy myself.
It’s time to hand the Ferrari over, I pull in to the paddock and wait until the Lamborghini is ready.
The Lamborghini Gallardo has a 5 litre V10 engine that produces 513 break horse power and a top speed of 199mph. The Gallardo has a six speed sequential e-Gear that is operated by using the paddles behind the steering wheel. To change up you pull the left paddle towards you, to change down its the right one. This makes gear changes easier on the driver as the cars computers do most of the work.
Getting into the Gallardo is easy and the seat is really comfy. The dash in the Gallardo is much more advanced than the 360 and the view out of the windscreen is great.
The instructor gets in and without asking, he hands me the keys but I’m told not to rev the engine hard. I start the car and it goes into a nice idle noise.
Moving off, you put your foot on the break select first gear and then accelerate. I make my way out of the paddock but initially we forget the memory stick. Once plugged I. I start off again and get onto the track.
Immediately the Gallardo is easier to drive due to the the gearbox, I find it easy to get on with. It feels quicker than the Ferrari while accelerating and more planted in the corners. This really is a great car to drive. I could easily imagine spending a great deal of time in this car, it feels effortless. With a big smile I enjoy my four laps in the Gallardo but all too soon it’s finished.
Today has been a great day and one I would repeat. It has been amazing to drive these two iconic cars.
However next time I would not go to Prestwold Hall. This has nothing to do with the staff as they are very friendly and knowledgeable. My issue is the noise gate that everyone was afraid of setting off.
Also if you want to compare cars to see which is best you need cars that are similar. While the 360 and the Gallardo were released close to one another, I feel that either both should have been manual gearboxes or both have a paddle gearbox. This then gives you a fair comparison as they would have the similar technology.
If I was to choose one of these to take home based on my drive it would have been the Lamborghini. It was a faster car there was more room and it was easier to drive. If the Ferrari had the equivalent gearbox, it may have been a different story.