Following our report of the first day of the GTspirit Tour d’Italia, we return with a very special report for day two! We started the second day at our hotel just outside Modena, at that point still unaware of the adventurous that would await us.
Our first stop of the day was at Pagani Automobili, the manufacturer of some of the most desirable cars in the world. There we were greeted by Pagani’s chief test driver Davide Testi, our local photographer Matteo and Luca. Together with the Audi R8 and the Pagani Huayra we head into the hills South of San Cesario sul Panaro to explore the stunning landscape and the super- and hypercar at our disposal. One of our editors already reviewed the Pagani Huayra last year but this time we take the wheel of the Huayra for a special feature that you can read at GTspirit very soon!
From the Pagani factory we head high into the Italian hills to the town of Montese. Located near the highest mountain in this part of the Apennines; Mount Cimone, it offers a spectacular backdrop for a few photos. Montese also has a medieval castle that would make a great location for a few photos but sadly neither the Audi R8 nor the Pagani Huayra could climb the steep roads to the castle. In the center of the village we stopped for petrol, soon a crowd gathered around the two cars! Among the bystanders was the major of Montese who found it a great honor we came to his town with the two impressive machines.
The red Audi R8 was not only in Montese but all along the route getting plenty of looks and attention. Only when people looked closer and noticed the loud red car was an Audi and not a thoroughbred Italian sportscar the Italians shows their patriotic side and expressed their preference for something ‘made in Italy’.
This part of the Apennines, on the border between the Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany province, is very quiet so we had plenty of opportunity to stop and drive both cars on some of the best stretches of roads. In direct comparison with the Audi, it surprises how comfortable the Huayra is. The Pagani is actually more comfortable than the Audi. That this level of comfort is in no way a compromise shows in the corners; the Huayra on Pirelli P Zero Corsa tires corners as if its on rails.
One of the best and most unique features of the Pagani Huayra is the whooshing and sizzling of the turbochargers. As low as 2,000 RPM the turbos start winding and gradually provide more torque and power, put your foot down towards the floor and you are treated with a sensational and brutal acceleration that is certainly frightening for people not used to it. Another dimension to this experience was added when we drove off with the windows open, the sound generated by the air inlets right behind the side windows blew us away and kept us accelerating over and over again to experience it over and over. If you ever find yourself in an Huayra make sure to open the windows!
Somewhere near Zocca we found a helicopter landing platform that was perfect for a photo shoot with the Pagani Huayra. With all the doors and bonnets opened up it has a transformers look to it unlike any other car. Add blue sky with some clouds and a stunning view over the hills and valleys and you have the perfect picture!
After a wonderful morning in the Italian hills we had to return back to Modena for a special surprise arranged by Pagani. On the way back to the factory we had the opportunity to see how the Audi R8 V10 Plus compares to the Huayra on the Italian highway. As expected the Pagani shows the difference between supercar and hypercar very clearly. The ease with which the Huayra pulls away from the R8 is something that gives us a dejavu feeling later on.
The first surprise Pagani arranged for us was for our photographer Philipp in particular, as a birthday present Davide Testi took him out in the Pagani Huayra for a rather special ride. I believe he fully enjoyed it, as over 24 hours later he is still smiling from ear to ear. After a small chat with Davide we once again hit the road with the R8 and Huayra to the surprise. Half an hour later we arrived at the brand new circuit of Autodromo di Modena. One of the most modern race facilities in Italy and frequently used for testing by the manufacturers in the area like Ferrari, Maserati and Pagani. Before we arrived a motorcycle event took place but now the track was all ours!
We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening driving and shooting on the race track. With just over 2 kilometers in length fast cars lap it in around 1 minute 15 seconds. Having the track to ourselves meant that we could stop, turn and park as we liked, a unique opportunity especially with the Huayra and red R8 V10 Plus. At some point we even used the Huayra as the worlds most exclusive camera car to take photos of the R8!
By the time we wrapped up our shooting at the race track the sun was long gone and all of us were hungry! That meant an escort to an Italian restaurant in Modena, lead by the owner of the race track, followed by the Pagani Huayra, the Audi R8 and our photographer Matteo in his Mercedes. A great sight seeing the Huayra glide through the darkness ahead of us. Just like the last day we go for a pizza and recap the incredible day, from driving the Huayra in the Italian hills, Philipp’s ride with Davide and our private session at the Autodromo di Modena.
Our dinner only shortly disrupted by the sound of a starting V10, it can’t be our R8 can it? Despite the key on the table in front of us, we head outside only to find a Porsche Carrera GT that leaves the restaurant parking lot.. Turns out we are not the only one with a V10 in town today! We decided to head back to Munich tonight but desperately needed fuel. We receive another escort to the motorway by the very kind owner of the Autodromo di Modena and there wave the Huayra good bye after an incredible day.
Just before we pass the toll station at Modena Nord we spot a partly covered Ferrari LaFerrari in front of us. We grab a ticket and accelerate onto the highway, the Audi R8 V10 Plus is quick but no match for the LaFerrari that is clearly on a mission. Even if we would have managed to keep up with him we wouldn’t last long because our remaining range dropped to a worrying 10 kilometers. We pull in to the first petrol station and fill up the R8 with another tank of Super Plus, Italy must have the most expensive fuel in Europe now as we paid over 2 Euro per liter.
Very happy with the complete day we head off in the darkness on the way to Munich. Cruising in the direction of Germany we suddenly see the headlights of what looks like a Ferrari 458 Italia behind us. Our jaws drop when it turns out its not a Ferrari 458 Italia overtaking us but two Ferrari LaFerraris. One with a slightly disguised rear, the other completely undisguised. Philipp has its camera ready and films as we catch up and cruise along with the two LaFerraris. After a few minutes the thing happens that we had been hoping for since we set up on our Tour d’Italia; the two LaFerraris shift down and put their foot down to the bottom.
We drop a gear or two too and try to keep up, but the 550hp V10 in the R8 V10 Plus is no match for the 963hp Hybrid V12 in the Ferrari. All we can do is watch and smile as the LaFerraris race off in the distance. A few miles down the road the Ferraris pull into the services for a coffee break and we decide to follow them. Both test drivers are, as you can imagine, not very pleased with attention and photos. But Ferrari will probably understand that we couldn’t resist this opportunity.
After the introduction of the LaFerrari at the Geneva Motor Show 2013 it is good to see the undisguised car on the road and see what it is capable off. The acceleration was so rapid we have no doubt it will be a serious contender in the hypercar battle that is unfolding this year.
The two LaFerraris are factory duration test cars, both had fire extinguishers installed on the passenger seat as part of the safety procedure and they had over 15,000 kilometers on the clock. Not that much in comparison to the Huayra we drove which has over 80,000 kilometers on the clock.
The special encounter with the LaFerraris on the way home was definitely the cherry on the cake of one of our most memorable days ever. The rest of the journey we took it easy and finally arrived back in Munich at 3.30am, 16 hours and a million incredible impressions after we set of at our hotel in Modena.