Yas Island recently hit the top of the office satnav’s ‘most recent locations’ list, and it’s not hard to see why. Not long ago we were thrashing around the Yas Marina Circuit in a Renault Clio Sport RS, an Aston Martin Vantage GT4, and of course, a two-seater Formula One car. More recently we took our Management Fleet Camaro SS to prove its worth at the Yas Drag Racing Centre.
And then of course, there was our time on-track with the Ferrari California, shortly before the debut of its revised counterpart in Geneva. Accordingly, such an occasion was very exclusive. But a few good-natured winks in the right direction wangled crankandpiston an invitation to the event. Excitement, tinged with a bit of apprehension, started to grow en-route to Abu Dhabi.
Let me explain. The temptation to jump in a Ferrari for some die-hard ‘look how talented I am’ laps at the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was immense, but thumping the front end of a $235,000-ish supercar into one of the perimeter walls would earn crankandpiston some considerable time in the Scuderia doghouse. And declaring the repair bills along with the weekend’s expenses on Sunday morning would be no cakewalk either. Clearly our genial Ferrari hosts felt the same way, and my time with the California began with Track Driving 101, administered by F1 Ferrari test driver Marc Gene no less.
Notes are taken and questions are answered, and soon I am helmeted up and seated at the wheel, head accordingly askew owing to the low-line roof. As I fumble to make the necessary adjustments, I take in the California’s not-too modest interior. Being a Ferrari, the exquisitely fashioned leather trim and sleek style of the instrument panel hardly came as a surprise, even if lashings of traditional Maranello red do.