The V12 howls as the odometer needle hurtles upwards, and we begin the climb. Power from the 6262cc unit is almost unforgiving, throwing us back into the leather with enthusiasm, and though the peak power doesn’t come in until a staggering 8250rpm, the distance between corners at first means I can’t utilise it. Blind turns mean I’m completely dependent on the front end sticking, and the steering –which through town has been light and assisted – is now hefty and full of response. The rear end, rather remarkably, begins to twitch on the loooong left handers, and I’m reminded that 730hp – capable of chucking me into the mountainside without a moment’s hesitation – is being pummelled through the rear tyres. There’s that white-hair adrenaline I was missing this morning.
I stamp on the brakes hard for a tight hairpin, my shoulder taking the brunt of the impact as a camera bag flies off the parcel shelf. The stopping power is immense. Rip your face off immense, and I find myself leaning on the power much later than I’d anticipated, leaning on the instant gear changes to get the nose pointed straight quickly so that I can get on the power earlier. Again, the back end twitches but the front end stays routed to the ground, the grip from the tyres almost beyond belief.
All this and we’re still ‘only’ in Sport. A rotary dial on the steering wheel gives me the option to select ‘Race’ – which (somehow) makes the Ferrari more responsive by tightening the suspension, remapping the engine for more ferocious throttle and adjusting the gear ratios for faster shifts – or turn the traction and stability controls off completely. I’m wide-eyed. So far we’ve been hitting, let’s say, ambitious speeds, and the F12 has already tried to kick, albeit in a ‘just want to make sure you’re awake’ kind of way. The thought of maxing the GT defies belief, and I curse the fact that I’m not yet good enough to demonstrate that.
Not much longer we find an ideal stretch of road for the glamour shots you see above. Only the V12 ticking over cuts the silence, and the view stretches for kilometres across the ravines below us. It may not have been the most direct approach – we’ve got just enough plus 40km in our pocket to get back to Dubai – but Arun had certainly been right about ‘our road’.
And the car? It’s difficult to look objectively upon my first proper drive in a Ferrari. Yes there are certain traits that will take you a while to get used to and weekends away that require more than a spare shirt and a toothbrush may have to be rethought. But at the same time the F12 is comfortable, characterful, and utterly magnificent, from the looks to the sound to the demonic power being thrown at you from the V12. If you think I’m getting carried away, I suggest you try it on a stretch of road such as this.
But not this one obviously. It can be a bit tricky to find.
|Engine:||V12 / 6262cc|
|Power:||730bhp @ 8250rpm|
|Torque:||509lb ft @ 6000rpm|
|Transmission:||F1 seven-speed dual-clutch transmission / rear-wheel drive|
|Front suspension:||Double wishbones / coil springs / adaptive dampers / anti-roll bar|
|Rear suspension:||Multi-link / coil springs / adaptive dampers / anti-roll bar|
|Brakes:||Ventilated carbon-ceramic discs / 398mm (front) / 360mm (rear) / ABS / EBD|
|Wheels:||9.5 x 20in front / 11.5 x 20in rear|
|Tyres:||255/35 ZR 20 (front) / 315/35 ZR 20 (rear)|
|Weight (kerb):||1630 kg|