FERRARI F8 TRIBUTO, HOW DOES IT FEEL ON TRACK?
Let me tell you a story about my weekend.
Thursdays in the Middle East signify the weekend. Friday and Saturday is the official weekend. At 10:30 pm on a Thursday night, I am in the midst of my first malt beverage, and I get a call from Amit Benjamin. The editor of Motormoutharabia.com. He says, ‘Mate, what are you doing tomorrow morning?’ I respond by saying nothing. He then goes onto say, ‘I was supposed to be driving the new F8 Tributo on track tomorrow morning, and I have been rear-ended by some idiot. My license is with the cops. Would you mind filling in me for me?’ Now, which fool is going to say no to such an opportunity? He says, ‘okay, I am going to ask the PR head from Ferrari to call you. He needs to vet you.’
It is 11:30 pm. I am on my way home after abandoning a night out with my friends and my malt beverages waiting with bated breath for a call from Ferrari. I have half given in and message Amit ‘no call yet’. The second I type this, my phone rings. After a quick interview, I have been instructed to report at 8:30 am sharp tomorrow morning at the Dubai Autodrome.
Now I am all hyped. I am thinking to myself. I will be driving the new Ferrari on track tomorrow morning! This is a new first for me. I get home and prepare my camera gear and wait until the morning.
6:15: I am wide awake and alert. I could barely sleep all night due to my excitement. I get to the track on time. It takes me a second to realize that “Yes, I am actually here. I will be driving one of these beautiful cars on track today!”
For it is. I did not think much of it when I saw the press photos, but when I look at it in person, it is a beautiful car. Very rarely, can I say this about new vehicles, but this one is quite pretty.
I stand there and absorb the finer details of the way the car is sculpted. The front end is shaped around the giant s-duct designed for better airflow and downforce. The headlights are smaller, sharper, and have an L shaped design. The windows are made bigger for better visibility on the race track. The sides are dominated by giant scoops on the flanks almost to the rear of the car, reminding you that this is the successor of the 488 GTB. The front of the F8 reminds me of the 458 and the Pininfarina Battista. The sides remind me of the 488. The rear, however, is where the most significant changes lie. With a new Lexan engine cover to make the car lighter, it also has integrated louvres to help with engine cooling. This has been taken from the F40. The new rear spoiler is nicely integrated into the shape of the car; however, it is the taillights that have me confused. Apparently they go way back to the 308 GTB or in recent memory the F430; however, to me, they look a bit like Lotus.
All the above changes have only one goal that is to make the car as light and aerodynamic as possible. The F8 Tributo is now 40kgs lighter than and 10% more aerodynamically efficient than the 488 GTB.
It goes. It does! And I get the silver F8 with beautiful tan brown suede leather interiors. Everything feels sublimely well put together. The entire car feels high quality, and it does feel pretty solid.
As I adjust my self in the car down and low, I realize how excellent the visibility in this car is, and it also has a dead pedal for your left foot. I remember not having a dead pedal in the 458 and that one small thing made the car quite uncomfortable to drive long distances.
The steering wheel is smaller and thinner. Making it easier to grip and turn. This helps in making your response times faster.
The engine in this car produces 720 Hp and is mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It is the fastest and most powerful Ferrari V8 ever produced. This engine has won multiple awards, including the Engine of the Year award. Not only once but in three consecutive years.
What Ferrari has done in this car has taken all the data it could from the 488 GTB, Pista, and Challenge series and applied that information to make the F8 more dynamic, faster, and better overall performer.
From changing the way air flows into the engine to redesigning specific components, 50% of the parts have been altered in this engine over its previous version.
It is time for me to unleash those 720 horses. This car does 0-100 in 2.9 seconds. It comes equipped with Ferrari’s new launch control system.
While all of this information is there in my head, I actually cannot process it because as soon I floor the throttle, the car is off the line like a cheetah on a chase. All my attention is now on trying to remember the course, the turns, the breaking points, and the turn in angles.
This car is so quick that every time I leave one turn, I am at the next one, still trying to figure out the previous one.
At the back straight of the Dubai Autodrome, I was trying to achieve a straight line top speed. I look down at the speedometer, and I am at 268 KPH. I look, and I realize I have overshot the braking marker by 50 feet. Now I am terrified and stomp the brakes as hard as possible. At this moment, all I can think about is slowing down enough to make the turn. Everything worked as advertised at this moment. The F8 came down to a 50kph speed with no drama at all. I could turn in easily and continue flooring the pedal to the floor.
It never feels like a turbocharged car. There is absolutely no turbo lag and performance is available in every gear every time. Every time I floor the throttle, the car is accelerating to 8000 RPM relentlessly. It refuses to slow down, and the power delivery is linear and seamless.
It handles so sublimely. Taking this car around bends is effortless, and the brilliant Ferrari traction control helps you make sure of that. The steering is light in a typical Ferrari manner and extremely accurate. The traction control 6.1 lets you play around, but at the same time it has your back. You know it is working around your inputs so that you can have fun while driving this car.
At the same time, the F8 is so civilized. It is a car you can drive every day, and the suspension is superb. Yes, you can feel a few bumps here and there, but you would not expect such refinement from a car like this.
It also sounds much more civilized. The sound of the car is deep and resonant but a bit more muffled to meet the new noise pollution norms which are getting implemented the world over.
This is a car you can fall in love with over and over again. You desire it and at the same time, love it. You can never get enough of it. The fact that it is so useable everyday makes it even more appealing to me. I cannot wait to drive this thing on the road!