24 Heaven
evo Singapore|Vol 74 - February 2017

No ferries, said Ferrari, or racetracks, and no more than 480 kilometres. And 24 hours maximum. So, what to do with a 780hp F12tdf for the day?

Colin Goodwin

TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, 480 KILOMETRES. That’s how long we can keep, and how far we are allowed to drive, this Ferrari F12tdf. What to do with it? Track use is off limits and the small print says that we must not cross the channel. There’s a brief thought of putting it on a trailer and taking it to the Scottish Highlands, but that would be a right faff and would leave us with about ten minutes at the wheel. So we’ll simply go for a nice drive in the country and pop in to see some friends for tea. Car minded sort of friends.

There’s some good history in slough, apart from being the location for Ricky gervais’s The Office. Ford Advanced Vehicles’ workshop was on the slough Trading Estate (in a building that was later the home of Jw Automotive, of gulf GT 40 and 917 fame) and so was Team Surtees before it moved to Kent. In the mid-60's Lola was in premises on Yeovil Road, which is just around the corner from Ferrari’s main office. You go to the showroom at the old Maranello Concessionaires in Egham to buy your Ferrari but test cars are collected from a nondescript building in slough.

If i was Ferrari I’d get the council to re-lay the road outside its office. It’s bumpy as hell and even with the tdf’s suspension in the softest, ‘Bumpy Road’ setting, it’s not doing my back much good. I might not be able to walk by the end of today. Thankfully, when we reach a better bit of blacktop the ride becomes acceptable. Stiff, but no need for the osteopath yet.

What an engine. The tdf’s 6.3-litre V12 produces 780hp at 8500rpm. It is the most powerful naturally aspirated engine I’ve ever experienced, and that includes the 8.2-litre Chevy in a McLaren M8F Can-Am car. But it’s not just the power output that’s staggering, it’s how refined those 12 cylinders are. Barely above tickover with the seven-speed dual clutch ’box already in fifth along Slough’s Bath Road and today’s electronics act like an IV drip of Strepsils to prevent any coughing or hesitation. Twenty years ago an engine producing this amount of power per litre would have been cammy and agitated in traffic. Forty years ago it wouldn’t have ticked over under 2000rpm and would have oiled its plugs at the first set of traffic lights unless you sat there with the throttles wide open.

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