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, 1,962m width and 1,336m 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 fibre, but not in an agressive 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. Check out the amazing sound of the 599 passing by :

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 softwares don’t allow you to loose controle 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 little bit of oversteer. The gearbox is sensationnal, 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 sideroads 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 controle, but you can arrive very fast to very high speeds, accelerating to 0 to 270km/H (170 mph) is easy, so staying focus on your drive is very important, as is checking the speedometer.