Fascination Ferrari : 2021 Esperienza Ferrari
Singapore - After serving up Ferrari clients a tasty slice of Maranello in its showroom (click HERE to read about Ital Auto's recent 'Private Viewing - Full Range' event), Ital Auto charges ahead with 'Esperienza Ferrari', an exclusive test-drive programme at the sprawling Changi Exhibition Centre facility for local Ferrari customers and prospects.
After all, the road isn't the best (or most legal) place to properly test-drive anything with more than 550hp on-tap, especially since sportscars have that sort of output AND the dynamic abilities to exploit it.
The Portofino M, Roma and hybrid petrol-electric SF90 Stradale we'll drive during 'Esperienza Ferrari' easily bust the 550hp figure, not least because the SF90 tops out at 1000hp!
Ferrari is one of those sportscar brands that knows what its clients expect. The drive experience is an emotional one that engages the senses of both the discerning petrolhead, as well as the casual car enthusiast... and that's a tough job to handle.
This is also why the technical course during the Esperienza Ferrari is meant to challenge both the driver, as well as the dynamic limits of the test-cars in a safe and controlled environment.
As far as Singapore is concerned, this is probably the next best thing to driving the cars at Ferrari's Fiorano Circuit!
Ferrari GT models like the Roma and Portofino M are no slouches
Naturally, to get the most from these sportscars, we're not just released on the 'track' to flail around wildly. Instructors sit beside you and give pointers over the ten or so laps we had with each car, including an orientation pre-amble and an ending 'hot lap' to demonstrate what the car is capable of.
It isn't driver coaching per se - this would require a dedicated session - but the instructors assess your driving over a few laps to give you quick pointers on how to better enjoy the cars through the course.
There are two schools of thought with respect to such driving activities: make a beeline for the most powerful car first, or our preferred, start from the lowest and work your way up.
Why? Well, when you start from the most powerful, it pretty much spoils you for the lesser cars and you'll have nothing to look forward to, but this is the slightly more spurious reason.
The main point is, the relatively low-powered models let you learn the track so you won't waste time in the high-powered one figuring out the lines when you get in, so you can hit the ground running the moment you're strapped in.
The 600+hp of the Roma (click HERE to read our Drive Review of the Ferrari Roma) and Portofino M means they're no slouches around the tight and technical circuit, but the 1000hp of the SF90 Stradale puts it on a whole different level.
The performance of Ferrari's mid-engined super-hybrid is nothing short of mind-bending, with a tractability to the chassis that lets one instinctively pilot it at a fast and furious pace with both the V8 and the electric motor delivering the full 1000hp in 'Qualifying' mode.
The SF90 isn't just a straight-line grand-standing boulavardier for posing in. The 1.6-tonne kerbweight sportscar is an entertainingly agile handler when things get squiggly, although this shouldn't surprise anyone given Ferrari's stellar offerings so far.
Mr. Jeremy Gaw, General Manager of Ital Auto Pte. Ltd. tells us, "We wanted to create our own mini Fiorano Test Track to provide a safe and controlled environment for our prospects and waitlist customers to experience the performance and different handling characteristics of the Roma, Portofino M and SF90 Stradale, which cannot be replicated on a normal road test drive. As always, we continuously try to create experiences that bring a taste of Maranello to Singapore."
As we wound down from the drive session by taking a breather in the hospitality lounge, our reverie was broken by the strident call of a 812 Superfast's (click HERE to read our drive review of the 812 Superfast) thrilling nat-asp V12 receding into the distance as an owner took his leave.
With a diverse sportscar portfolio that spans turbocharged, naturally-aspirated and petrol-electric hybrid, it's never difficult to understand the fascination with the Ferrari brand...