In his childhood, Enzo Ferrari saw a picture of a Packard Twin-Six at Indianapolis in 1914. In 1924, he saw  -and heard- a Delage Type 2 LCV win the Grand Prix de Lyon, France, with its 2 litre V12. So when he had the chance to conceive his car, with his name written on the bonnet, back in 1946, him and engineer Gioacchino Colombo chose the V12 to power it. A long story began with this 1,5 liter engine. It was improved from 1,5 liters to 3,3 liters, and was replaced by Aurelio Lampredi’s  3 liter V12 on the legendary 250GT. As its predecessor,  this engine was later improved to finish at 4,4 liters and 352 horsepower, as fitted on the 365 GTB/4 Daytona back in 1968. The Daytona was replaced in 1973 by the 365BB, which had a rear mounted flat 12 boxer engine, which ended the famed series of the front V12 Ferraris. In 1996 though, Ferrari unveiled the 550 Maranello, a 2 seater with a 5,5 litre V12 placed… Under the front bonnet ! Then came the 575 Maranello, and, in 2006, the 599 GTB Fiorano. So what have we got here ? A two-seater front-engined Ferrari, of course. It’s rear-wheel drive, with an F1 Superfast six speed gearbox mounted in the middle, and a classic shape styled by Pininfarina.

Text & Medias : Bertrand D. ©

Ferrari 599 GTB 2

Veni, Vidi :

This car is big : 4,65 meters length, 1,962 m width and 1,336 m height. But it is perfectly proportioned : Pininfarina couldn’t have drawn a better modern interpretation of the 1966 275 GTB/4. The rear arches are designed to provide down force at high speeds, so practicality meets styling here ! Then you get inside the car, seating in the « Daytona Style » seats. You’re surrounded by leather and carbon fiber, but not in an aggressive and competition way, you really are in a luxurious car. Moreover, it offers one of the best views you’ll ever see : have a look in the rearview mirror and admire the curves of the rear wing, it is absolutely beautiful. And then, you see the red button marked « Start » on the steering wheel. How could anyone resist ?

Vici :

The car I tested has been updated by Novitec, and has –thanks to a new exhaust and electronic modifications- 680hp instead of 620. Letting the engine warming up you can choose the position of the Manettino : Ice, Wet/Comfort, Sport, Race or CST Off. It changes the whole car : in Ice or Comfort the suspension is soft, the gear changes are not very fast, and you can drive all day wisely.

In Sport mode, the car is getting much sportier off course. And in Race mode, it changes its mind like a complete schizophrenic ! The suspension is ferm, the gears change in 100ms, the throttle response is immediate, and the engine revs very fast to 7’000 rpm.

The power and the torque of the engine are crazy : from 1500 rpm to the red line,  the acceleration keeps you stuck in the Daytona Seat, and the electronics and pieces of software don’t allow you to lose control while playing and oversteering. But they don’t annihilate the feeling of the car, the steering is great, you really feel the road and, for a front-engined car, it takes corners brilliantly with just a bit of oversteer. The gearbox is sensational, it’s not a double clutch system, so changing gears at 6 000 or more rpm gives you a slap in the head, you really feel like you’re mastering the car, like a 680 horses rodeo, but always under control !

Ferrari 599 GTB 1

Conclusion :

This car is great. It is an excellent GT car : you can drive on the highway with the Manettino in Comfort mode, the Gearbox in Automatic, and then go on side roads and have a lot of fun with it.

I can see one drawback, however : you have to be very careful with this car. If you’re not on CST Off mode, you’ll never lose control, but you can arrive very fast to very high speeds, accelerating to 0 to 270 kph (170 mph) is easy, so staying focus on your drive is very important, as is checking the speedometer.