Turns out that bedding in brake pads is a mind-numbing experience, as Tom finds out with the Ferrari 458 Speciale.
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I was really craving to properly drive the Ferrari again, excited like a kid prior to Christmas. However, with the brake pads changed as explained in the last Journal, I needed to bed these pads in first, so they can get accustomed to the ceramic discs. Compliant as ever, I resorted to the procedure that the dealer gave me. After finding a suitable deserted piece of road, off braking I went. To start it all off, one has to brake 16 times from 80kph to 20kph and let the brakes cool down. Followed by another 16 times, but now from 120kph to 20kph, still without using ABS. Let it cool down again. Then at least five times from 160kph to zero, middle-pedal-to-the-metal, then another cool-down. A rather mind-numbing exercise I must say, yet completely understandable why the dealer doesn’t do this for you. However, it does mean that the bite is back, ready for more fun and amazement for everybody who experiences those stoppers. Because they are, together with that screaming to 9,000rpm naturally aspirated engine, the race-car like handling and that incredible gearbox, one of the defining features of the car for me.
With the braking-in procedure sorted, it was time to hit the Fujeirah twisties again. With an awesome group of cars and friends (including another 458 Speciale) and my nephew as a very cool passenger, it was great to be back there, enjoying the car fully again. We discovered another amazing stretch of tarmac, brand-new, smooth-as-silk and winding-like-spaghetti and I once again was blown away by the Speciale’s sweet spot between high-speed composure and driver engagement. Composure without engagement is impressive yet dull whilst engagement without composure potentially is quite dangerous.
On a completely other note, the new 458 Speciale A has been unveiled. It could as good as the ‘normal Speciale’ with the added joy from not having a roof and hence more exposure to that amazing soundtrack, potentially adding to the driver engagement. But how much performance and weight will you sacrifice? The jury is still out… but with only 499 cars being produced, it’ll end up being a special one nonetheless!
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