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Anyone want to explain just how hard it is?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by TeenwhoneedsaFerrari, Jan 7, 2004.

  1. TeenwhoneedsaFerrari

    Dec 23, 2003
    90
    Greensboro, NC
    Full Name:
    Blair Salter
    Want to know if anybody here can tell me just how much harder driving a Ferrari is than driving a 911, new one. I can drive the 911 pretty well, but i am sure the Ferrari is harder. No specific model, just in general. thanks
     
  2. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Jerry
    I had a Boxster before the 328. Nothing majorly different - Just takes getting used to the gated shifter of the Ferrari. The 328 also doesn't have power steering, so it takes a bit more cranking on the wheel at slow speeds. I also need to avoid 2nd gear until the oil temp warms up. I guess my older Ferrari just feels more like a race car than the Boxster did.
     
  3. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jan 11, 2001
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    What's the basis for your question? The driving part isn't hard at all IMO -- quite the opposite. The hard part is not driving 2X the speed limit, seeing around SUVs, dealing with people who love to ride in your blind spot, etc..;)
     
  4. TeenwhoneedsaFerrari

    Dec 23, 2003
    90
    Greensboro, NC
    Full Name:
    Blair Salter
    Is it harder to make quick shifts with the gated shifting? Or should this be avoided.
     
  5. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Yep - A little more traveling time for the shifts.
     
  6. TeenwhoneedsaFerrari

    Dec 23, 2003
    90
    Greensboro, NC
    Full Name:
    Blair Salter
    I mean like clutch work and what not, how tricky is the clutch. i learned how to drive manual on a 911 and that was a tricky clutch. I would call it tempermental.

    How tempermental is the clutch in a Ferrari?
     
  7. AJS328

    AJS328 F1 Veteran
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    Apr 23, 2003
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    Augustine Staino
    I agree with the additional time and patience needed with the gated shifters, particularly while downshifting. Then again, I am still a novice compared with a lot of the guys on this site. I'm sure that in the hands of a few of the pros here, my car could drive circles around a modern Porsche. :)
     
  8. Chiaro_Slag

    Chiaro_Slag F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    I 2nd what Aug said!

    Oh yeah, another thing - The shift pattern was the trickiest part in the beginning - I was used to 1st gear being up and left, not Reverse!

    The clutch isn't too bad. My buddy's Pantera is much heavier to use, but a Z06 was light as a feather! It's not what I would call a tricky clutch - There just isn't much room where the pedals are.
     
  9. TeenwhoneedsaFerrari

    Dec 23, 2003
    90
    Greensboro, NC
    Full Name:
    Blair Salter
    Is there much distance from the clutch pedal to the floor? On the 911 there is a bit of space, that is what makes it hard at first, finding the right position in so much space.
     
  10. goyal99

    goyal99 Karting

    Mar 5, 2002
    185
    Upstate NY - USA
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    V K
    Both new Porsche and Ferrari cars are EASY to drive on the street....We're talking about brand new 996/Boxter cars and say a new 550 or 360 cars...Gone are the days of Porsche been tail-happy (see 930 Turbo) or Ferrari's lousy gear shifter (see 3xx series).

    If anything Porsche has OVER-ENGINEERED the 996 to the point that my grandmother can drive it to the grocery store with ease.....I use to own a 84 Euro Carrera and that ***** was HARD to drive (no power steering) and the shifter was very notchy (with a pre-G50 trany). But it was loads of fun but required plenty of concentration and sounded mean!! God, I still miss that car.....

    As for the newer Ferraris, I have read (not actually rich enough to drive one), that they are very civilized and quite muted in sound compared to the thunder of F40, TRs and such beasts....Unless of course you install an aftermarket Tubi exhaust...

    So in my opinion newer Ferraris are not any more difficult to drive down the street that newer Porsche cars....Those horror stories trying of "tame" a Ferrari at speed belong to the past.

    But take them on the race track and that's a different story all together.....

    Later - VK
     
  11. TeenwhoneedsaFerrari

    Dec 23, 2003
    90
    Greensboro, NC
    Full Name:
    Blair Salter
    Thanks VK,
    Makes me hopeful that when i drive a Ferrari for the first time i will not kill the car, and i will not embarass myself. I suppose that is your 348 in the avatar, nice car! My dad almost bought one, but went back to corvette instead...o well. Thanks again for the info.
     
  12. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    6,334
    for street driving the hardness factor is pretty close to zilch.

    The gated shifter simply prevents the kind of shifts that damage transmission linkages, and brakes the shift into an upward motion, a latteral motion, and another upward motion. If you use the flexibility in your wrist you can get to the point you don't even notice the gate. I have always shifted in this manner* and don't find the gated shifter to even register as a driving issue or on the track.

    When considered with the (lack of) size of the transmission gears, and the racing synchros in the transmission, a Ferrari shifter is at least as fast at shifting as a Tremic 6-speed on a Vette, or Viper, if your wrist has suppleness in its motions.

    * I knew the gated shifters were an issue, and I knew I would own a Ferrari some day, and simply treated non-gated shifters as gated shifters for the 25 years of driving before I got my Ferrari.
     
  13. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    76
    The biggest difference that I've noticed between the 308 and 911's of the same vintage is the steering effort at low speeds. Neither have power steering, but the 308 is much harder to turn at low speeds - takes a lot more effort.

    Another difference is shifting when cold. The 911 can be shifted into second when cold if the box is in good shape and adjusted correctly. All the 308s that I have driven need to be warmed up first before going into second semi-easily.

    Both cars have kind of unique shifting. The Porsche 915 box can be vague sometimes, but that can usually be fixed by careful adjustment. The 308 seems to require a lot more physical effort.

    Clutches seem about the same to me, except the 911 seems to have a little longer travel.
     
  14. Ken

    Ken F1 World Champ

    Oct 19, 2001
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    Kenneth
    I've never driven a 911, but from what I understand, the 911 is a LOT harder to drive at the edge, at least in turns. A 911 is REAR engined and thus would tend to oversteer. Great drivers can use this to really fly through corners, but a novice will do a snap spin. Cars like a 308 and my Europa are very forgiving at the limit being MID engined.

    In my car, you really have to be an idiot to snap spin at speed because as you approach the limit of adhesion, you get tight. The car will drift wide and you let off the gas just a tad and the weight moves forward. This gives the front tires more adhesion and you get just a little loose. You catch the back end with more throttle and you're through the turn.

    In a 911, again from what I've read, you really have to have this technique down because it will get really loose really fast. I imagine a 308 is like my car and will give you some gentle warning as you get to the limit.

    Ken
     
  15. Mike328

    Mike328 F1 Rookie

    Oct 19, 2002
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    TeenwhoneedsaFerrari, come on. You've got nothing to worry about. If you're driving 911s and Ferraris, then you're a car guy and motivated to learn how to drive it right. If you've driven a manual transmission, you can learn to drive these cars.

    Granted, there is a lot of difference between the "minimum you need to know" to drive a manual transmission and "what you need to know" to drive a Ferrari like it was meant to be driven.

    Only time will teach you the intricacies of manual transmissions. Studying the engine <--> clutch <--> layshaft <--> gearbox <--> wheels relationship will teach you a lot about what's really going on. In time you'll learn to double clutch and heel-toe as you like, and only time and practice gives you the confidence and finess to really "own" the manual transmission if you know what a I mean.

    "Ability" to drive it is the least of your concerns. Affording it, maintaining it, taking care of it, being humble, not street racing (well not too often!! :) ), and paying for / attending a professional driving school is what you need to focus on...

    Not to mention school/college!

    --Mike
     
  16. Mike328

    Mike328 F1 Rookie

    Oct 19, 2002
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    Also--Ken's comments above are right on. 308s (not necessarily all Ferraris) are fundamentally "slightly" understeering cars--better for novice drivers. 911s are well-known to do the opposite--oversteer--and can be very difficult to anticipate and control at the limit. In other words, take two beginning drivers with too much testosterone and put one in a 911, the other in a 308... Take them to the track. The guy in the 911's gonna get his ass end around into a wall much faster than the 308 will :).
     
  17. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 20, 2003
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    Dirty Harry
    911 - several aspects make it a good driver's car - the driver needs to be proactive, rather than reactive. Only way I can DEScribe it is - if you brake, clutch, gas, steer a little sooner than you would other rides - you'll have a good time. Literally and figuratively.
     
  18. Sophia

    Sophia Formula Junior

    Aug 17, 2003
    298
    Dash Point/Federal W
    Full Name:
    Peter Barbin
    I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household as a kid, and to present, surrounded by various Euro cars...Renaults, SAABS, Rover, VW's, Audi's and Porsches...They shifted on the column, on the floor, some had syncromesh tranny's, some didn't. My SAAB 96 had a free-wheeling planetary 4-speed that could be selected to perform as either a normal trans, or a free-wheeling coast mode that let the engine idle when ya let off the gas...

    The hardest gearbox I ever had to shift was my '72 914-4. Virtually no-one but me or other Porsche folks could even attempt to drive the thing. Years later I acquired another 914, this time with the updated side-shifter...with new bushings, it shifts handsomely.

    The first Ferrari I ever drove is the one I test drove and purchased a year ago. The gate shifter never posed a problem, not even from the start. I sh*t you not, I felt as if I had owned the car for years. I suppose part of the reason is that everything is in proper adjustment.

    Now I have the '78 308 GTS and the '74 914-1.8. Both have the same shift pattern...in neutral, the shifter stands ready in the 2nd/3rd gear plane. So, if one simply flicks the wrist gently to the right AFTER the spring detents put the shift lever into it's "ready" position you can grab the 4th/5th gear plane. The first/reverse planes to the left don't matter since you should be nearly stopped/stopped for these gears.

    My 18 year old finally got his license, waiting for better insurance rates. He knows I'd make his future VERY UNCOMFORTABLE if he pulled a Ferris B's day off/Risky Business manuever. However, in getting him to learn how to drive a stick, I observed that one of his troubles in shifting was 'man-handling' the shifter...he couldn't FEEL what the shifter's design was telling him...he was determined to make the shifter move as the graphic depicted it.

    So hopefully, if one of my old mid-engined beasts goes out under his hand, at least he knows how to not grind up my gearboxes!

    Hold on to the dream, get an education and a nice home with a groovy garage to park the car in...that is unless you're one of those born with a big fat trust fund! Good Luck!
     
  19. TeenwhoneedsaFerrari

    Dec 23, 2003
    90
    Greensboro, NC
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    Blair Salter
    Thanks to everyone so far for all your input on this matter!! Keep them coming if you want, i enjoy hearing lots of different opinions. -Blair
     
  20. DBR328&330

    DBR328&330 Formula Junior

    May 31, 2001
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    Daniel Reese
    My 88 328 is MUCH easier to drive in all respects than my 02 M3.
     
  21. JSinNOLA

    JSinNOLA F1 World Champ
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    Mar 18, 2002
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    I have just read a few of you guys saying that the 911s tend to oversteer. I was wondering if the same holds for the turbo 911. Its obvious with so much power that snap oversteer is possible, but when watching Tiff Needle test drive the 911 turbo he complained of annoying understeer.

    Can anyone confirm?
     
  22. TeenwhoneedsaFerrari

    Dec 23, 2003
    90
    Greensboro, NC
    Full Name:
    Blair Salter
    i believe that is because a new turbo porsche is 4-wheel drive, it doesnt allow for the oversteer so much. that is what i think, you may ask someone who owns one though.
     
  23. JSinNOLA

    JSinNOLA F1 World Champ
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    That is the only thing I could come up with as well...
     
  24. 4Webers

    4Webers Formula Junior

    Nov 12, 2003
    276
    Texas
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    Darrell
    Since I have the extremely good fortune to currently own both an older 911 ('83) and a 308 ('79), I thought I would throw in my $0.02...

    GearHead's post was very accurate, as long as we are talking about the older cars. I would say that the clutch on my 308 is much stiffer, although the engagement 'feel' is better than the 911's. 911's have two clutch helper springs that love to break, so I'm sure that a lot of older 911's out there are running around with at least one of them broken, hence they seem just as stiff as the 308s'.

    My 911 actually tends to understeer when pushing it hard at the track, but my rear springs are shot so I have more weight on the rear than normal. The few times that the back end did get a little loose I was able to correct before anything nasty happened. The 308 is wonderfully neutral from what I have seen so far, although I haven't tracked it (yet!). The 308's steering and turn-in is excellent, while I would say that the 911's steering is almost 'twitchy'.

    The 308's ride is much smoother and more enjoyable. I do get a bit of cowl shake right around 70mph in the 308 though (GTS).

    The 911's brakes are vastly better than my 308's (and all of the other 308s' that I test drove). The 911's parking brake actually works too!

    Once you get used to cramped footwell, the 308's pedal layout is excellent. Heel-and-toe-ing in the 911 is damn near impossible with the stock layout, while it's almost second nature to do it in the 308.

    The 308's shifting action is better; I like the gated shifter (I don't care to admit how many times I have 'found' first instead of third in the 911 - I now make myself shift it sequentially, no skipping from 5th to 3rd), and I like the 308 shift pattern better than the 911's.

    Then there's the sound of those Webers opening up at 5000 rpm - no contest!

    Listen to Mike and Sophia - good advice from them. Do what it takes to make your dreams happen, be patient, then grab the opportunity when you have it!
     
  25. DGS

    DGS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    May 27, 2003
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    I don't find the gated shifter to be "slow", compared to, for example, the tight but slightly vague EVO shifter, or the long throw Alfa shifter, or the old Alfetta shifter that felt like a broomstick in a bathtub.

    One big difference I can think of between Ferraris and the new Porsches is "Stability Management". Ferraris have no traction control.

    They're well balanced, and easy to drive hard. What Ferraris (or most Italian cars) are not good at is being forgiving. These are not cars for zoning out, gabbing on the cell phone, or trying to crawl home from the pub. Like any high performance suspension, it will get away from you in a hurry if you push past its limits, and you're not watching. My 328 is very controllable at the limits, but you have to keep up with it.

    "Driving a Ferrari is like making love to a beautiful woman: If you don't pay attention to her, she will hurt you." ;)
     

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