Ferrari 296 GTB
The opportunities to slide into the drivers’ seat of a new Ferrari are rare and always cherished. The last Ferrari I spent quality time with was the 488, on that occasion I spent a week living with the car in day-to-day circumstances plus a few drives of some of my favourite roads. Today though I have a teasingly short time – two times past the pits – in which to start to get a feel for why the Ferrari 296 GTB is being heralded as one of the Italian marques greats, many are already considering it a classic and even some of the privileged few at Goodwood rushed off post drive to work out if they could possible afford the finances on the 296.
So, what of my time with the car? Goodwood is unforgiving, the car is not my own and it’s just started to rain. Less than ideal circumstances to attempt to tap in to the 819bhp on offer from Ferrari’s 2992cc, six-cylinder, twin-turbo engine with 165bhp of that total output coming from an additional electric motor that will also allow a EV-only range of around 25kms.
Inside the cabin is familiar but up-to-date feel. There’s a minimalism about it, especially when the car is turned off and all the displays go black. I press the star button and we flick the manettino to sport so the car fires up in to life. I ease out of the pitlane on to the track and round Madgwick before getting the car straight and getting my first feel of just how fast the Ferrari accelerates. The key takeaway from few laps is just how light the car feels, the turn is delicious and the brakes performance is far beyond my nerves around a greasy Goodwood. The only car I can even slightly compare the 296GTB to is the 765LT and the Ferrari is at a whole different level. I would love to spend 20 laps around Silverstone really getting to know the cars characteristics safe in the knowledge that if I spin it isn’t going to be a really expensive day out.
We were penned in to drive the car way back at its original launch date. Things were delayed and McLaren decide to hold back and make the car perfect before globally revealing it. Where the 296 GTB needs a track to really stretch its legs the Artura feels like a car that is aching to be pointed at your favourite driving road. There’s a familiarity there that you get with any McLaren but at the same time it is clear to see that things have been moved on.
Like the Ferrari, the Artura is powered by a 3-litre twin-turbo engine with an additional electric motor, combined power is 671bhp. On track the Artura feels fast, but not overwhelming, there’s a more refined feel to the cabin that makes you want to plan a Europe drive that encompasses some of your favourite driving roads. There is of course lots of fun to be had on track, but out of the box, it feels like it will be a great road car and I am sure there will be some more track-focused models further along the line to sharpen everything up for track days.
Aston Martin DBX707
The 707 is now the company’s most popular model with the order books crammed. When the DBX was first released I was lucky enough to drive one across the UK and it certainly impressed, even with its off-roading capabilities in the Scottish Highlands. But a DBX on track? It seems madness. Yes, we see them most weekends chasing the Formula 1 grid around, but that’s just for marketing right?
Wrong, my three laps of Goodwood in the DBX707 are surreal, on the one hand I am enjoying the best view of Chichester cathedral I have ever seen from the track, on the other I am lapping the circuit in a SUV, but it doesn’t feel like a SUV, I feel like I am in a supercar with a crazy ride height. There’s no rush of weight under hard braking, there’s no funny face to pull as you try to get the DBX707 around a corner, it just goes, perfectly, there’s no fuss, the speed comes off, the speed quickly goes back on, and cornering feels as light as it would in a sportscar. The DBX707 is the biggest surprise of the day, it is so capable, I go off for a cup of tea and try to get my head round what has just happened.
Photography by Jo Harding / inmotionimages