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On track with a Ferrari 488GTB

13.04.2016

A few weeks ago my editor, Sean Nurse, got behind the wheel of the Ferrari 488GTB.

Unfortunately for him, he had to obey speed limits, to the best of his ability. I - on the other hand - got the opportunity to unleash the 488GTB on a racetrack. So, what's it like?

The looks

To best explain using appropriate words I will start from the beginning…Walking up to the car it's clear to see why it is such a desirable thing. The word gorgeous best describes the car’s appearance. It is also very simple in its design.

It's low, wide and even though it has all sorts of aerodynamic essentials they are neatly hidden so as to avoid distraction from the car’s smooth lines. Take the rear spoiler for instance, it's just a slight groove at the rear. If it wasn't pointed out to me I wouldn't have noticed it. The door handles have also been designed in such a way that they offer very little air resistance.

The 488GTB also makes use of very large ceramic brake disks and callipers; they are able to get the car from 200km/h to 0 in just 120 metres.

At the back, two exhaust pipes feature just above a purposeful diffuser. The prancing horse badge sits in the centre of the bumper.

The engine

Under the glass engine cover lies Ferrari’s second turbocharged engine; the first one was introduced to us in the California T. This eight-cylinder engine develops a mind-blowing 492kW and 760Nm of torque.

Getting into the car was a very special event as this was the first Ferrari that I got to drive. The saying 'fits like a glove' is appropriate. The seats are supportive and the steering wheel felt really good in my hands. It is littered with all sorts of dials and buttons but one that sticks out the most is undoubtedly the Start button. Push this and the car comes to life with a loud raw, before easing down.

The drive

It's time to flex my right foot. Driving out onto Red Star Raceway the butterflies in my stomach felt more like ostriches. The car was eager to show me what it can do.

After a warm-up lap I turned into the pit straight and planted my right foot to the floor. I remember some screaming and swearing and before I knew it I needed to slam on anchors. The 488GTB does 0-100km/h in just 3.0 seconds and 0-200km/h in just 8.2 seconds. Down the back straight I managed to kiss 220km/h before easing into the brakes.

Through the corners the car remains planted, accurate and poised. The steering is direct and responsive. Gear changes are also highly impressive, almost telepathic. The car will change gears in 0.03 seconds. However, it's the sound, that glorious sound, consumes all. 

Even though the car is twin-turbocharged you don't really hear them. Ferrari has gone out of its way to ensure that the 488GTB sounds and feels like a naturally aspirated car.

Verdict

After a few hot laps, my palms were sweating and my stomach turning. The car is engaging, fantastic to drive and sublime in appearance. The only issue is that it costs well over R6 million and you could buy a small car, with what it will cost to insure and maintain.

That said though, as far as driving a Ferrari goes, the 488GTB definitely blew my mind. It surpassed my expectations. It's an experience I will not forget!

Article written by Justin Jacobs
13.04.2016
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