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My driving impressions of the 575M

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by jakermc, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
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    Jan 17, 2004
    1,778
    Palm Beach, FL
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    Rob
    Quick background on the car: 2003 model with 17,400 miles on the odometer before starting a 1,200 mile trip. Does NOT have FHP. Does have 19" wheels with new Bridgestone RE-11 tires.

    The Trip: Dallas to Eureka Springs, Arkansas and back. Includes several hundred miles of mountain driving on the Talimeda Trail and Pig Trail.

    The Pace: Aggressive! I drove most of the miles as 8/10 - 9/10ths. I describe 10/10ths as tires screaming and counter steering required to control a sliding back end. I would only do that on a race track, so I drove about as hard as I could do safely on public roads.

    The Driver: Experienced club racer, though in Porsches not the Ferrari. Total of about 6 years on the track with the last 3 years running a full competition schedule in NASA and some PCA. Not a superstar, but I do find the podium about half the time.

    My purpose of this thread is to give my personal impressions of the car and in particular, discuss the importance of FHP. I'll do this review in multiple parts over the next few days ...
     
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  3. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
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    Jan 17, 2004
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    Great feel on the highway at cruising speeds. Comfortable without being twitchy. Rock solid at high, staightline speeds. When I say high, I saw an indicated 145mph on the speedometer on more than one occasion. :)

    In the twistys, I did find it a bit light and numb. Mid-speed sweepers where a little difficult to lock in the proper steering input. Hairpins never gave me complete confidence knowing the amount of tire scrub the front end was experiencing.

    Conclusion: I suspect the steering wheel ECU upgrade that comes with FHP is a worthwile upgrade if you don't have it. It's something I will look into before my next major outing that's on par with the one I just had.
     
  4. Franc308

    Franc308 F1 Rookie

    Sep 23, 2006
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    Keep those notes coming!
    Real interesting to read considering your experience!
     
  5. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
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    #4 jakermc, Sep 14, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
    One the first day of hard driving while on the Talimeda trail, I attacked the mountain curves like I would on a race track. Threshold braking just before ABS engagement and trail braking in the tight switchbacks to rotate the car. I am not surprised by the result, race track braking and street pads do not mix on a 3,800 lb car. I got a soft pedal at the very end after a series of hairpins that came in succession. The brakes simply had no time to cool down.

    The rest of the trip I used more moderate braking and had no problem at all. I had to manage the situation and adjust my driving style a bit, but thats fair considering I was asking the brake pads to do some things they really weren't designed to do. All pads have an operating temperature band they are designed to work in and a street pad is not designed to work in a race like environment. To be very clear, this was nothing more than the brake pads overheating, not poor caliper or disc size.

    So are the FHP pads necessary? It depends. If I spent MOST of my time driving like I did, then yes, I would use a race pad like the Pagid Orange pad that Ferrari used with FHP. But for street driving I would not, I'd continue to use an ordinary street pad. So you need to pick the pad that is right for you.

    I will continue to use street pads for the time being. When it comes time for a change, I might consider a more aggressive street pad like the Porterfield R4S but I will not put in race pads full time. If I tracked the car I would put in some race pads just for the track and then switch back. If I drove the mountains again I would just modify my style for the equipment at hand. It didn't make the experience any less pleasurable.

    As with all my comments, YMMV ....
     
  6. henryr

    henryr F1 World Champ
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    i've had FHP in mine for about two weeks. wouldnt go back.
     
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  8. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
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    I'll discuss these items together as a suspension should be an integrated system. The individual parts are meaningless, its how they work together.

    For the most part, I would not change a thing. I had read that some found the suspension too soft, experienced porpoising under braking, etc but I just didn't see any of that. The car handled beautifully in the twistys, with the suspension in Sport mode giving wonderful control. On the highway, Comfort gave just the right amount of bounce to be comfortable for a 6 hour drive without giving up its sports car personality.

    FHP also provides for a larger rear anti-roll bar. The effect this has on a car is to shift the balance away from understeer and towards oversteer. In hairpins, I did have to trail brake deep to rotate and slide the rear and I see how a bigger rear bar could help here. Not a huge deal though, and not sure if changing just the one component would be a good idea. Given that I like the shock and spring set up, I would probably leave it alone.

    One of the guys I drove with, another experienced club racer, spent many hours behind me on the trip and commented how effortlessly the 575 appeared to handle the tough mountain roads. The car appeared fast, planted, and in control with neutral handling - confirming what I felt. The key to driving this car hard is balance. It's a heavy car and while its forgiving with regards to driver error, you need to be smooth to manage the car's weight. Do this well and don't over drive the car and you will be rewarded. I saw no need to rush out and change the suspension.

    One final thought here. The car really plants itself well under throttle. Creating the perfect balance through a corner required both sensitive application of the brake and generous use of the throttle. Coasting made the car feel soft and unstable, giving the impression of a soft suspension. Putting the hammer down solved this, so getting corner entry speed correct and early application of the throttle was important. Get it right and you can explode out of corners!
     
  9. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 19, 2008
    33,584
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    Terry H Phillips
    Rob- With FHP you do not have to worry about creating balance by loading the chassis with brakes and power, it is already there. You really should try one and see the difference. Getting the car to rotate with power alone is no problem, and easily controlled. FHP also better controls roll and weight shift.

    Incidentally, my FHP pads cause no problems and have not caused any abnormal rotor wear, either. You would not have had any pad fade with the Pagid 4-4s on your trip. Mine never had the anti-squeal treatment, either, but rarely squeal. Those that complained about excessive squealing never properly bedded the pads, which causes a shift in their chemistry when their green compounds are cured. If you do not do that or add anti-squeal treatment to the back of the pads, they will squeal irritatingly early in their lives.

    I even picked up an extra set of FHP pad take-offs from Continental. They were replaced by other owners because they squealed, as they should have when not properly bedded. The brakes feel as good as those on my C6 Z06 Corvettes, which had much bigger brakes stopping a car 700 or so pounds lighter.

    I enjoyed your comments on the handling of your non-FHP 575M, which pretty much poo-poos all the complaints from inexperienced drivers, most of whom do not have your on-track experience. Quite a bit of making a car work is being able to feel what the car is telling you, and I have nowhere near your track experience, either, so FHP makes a pretty good band-aid for me, sharpening the feel and making it less work for me. Crud, even Phil Hill was known to add an anti-roll bar here or there.

    Taz
    Terry Phillips
     
  10. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
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    I am very happy with the Bridgestone RE-11s!

    They are a new model and replace the RE-50. Very grippy, exceeding its limits on a public street would be careless. I only made them scream a couple of times. Sidewall is stiff, making the tire responsive but I was running normal street tire pressures of 32psi cold, I could not help but think an extra couple of pounds of pressure would have been even better for the mountain passages.

    There was a light drizzle/rain the entire 6 hour drive home and again the tires were fantastic. I actually maintained triple digit speeds comfortably for part of the return trip despite the conditions.

    Only one downside relative to the Pirellis that came off the car the week before and that is braking seemed to take a little longer than before. Can't really say if this is the tire or not as I was on unfamiliar pavement and the tires were brand new, so they may not have been broken in completely yet. Time will tell.

    Same for tire wear. If these hold up, I think we have a real winner for our cars. You'll certainly be hard pressed to find better grip but the wear rating is only 180, so there is some risk they wear out quicker than most.
     
  11. henryr

    henryr F1 World Champ
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    seems to me that the non FHP 575 driven at 5/10's display the squashy handling that everyone seems to dislike. driven hard and under power the car shrinks around you and really squats down and grips.

    my wife has the RF050 on her 5 series sport. very grippy tires and i think the car handles great.

    does bridgestone make a non run flat version ?

    all of my z06 buddies have long since replaced the GT with non run flat versions and love the diff.
     
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  13. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
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    I agree with everything you posted here, especially the quote above.

    Quick story. I was tracking a C5 Corvette at racing school and feeling pretty good about myself, being the second fastest in the group. An instructor hops in the car with me and I begin to complain about being unable to turn off the traction control, saying its too invasive and cutting power on me. I think TC does not belong on a race car and its holding back my times. We switch seats and the instructor takes the wheel and puts down faster lap times without a single hint of the TC intervening.

    In the debrief the instructor explains I was driving the Vette like my 911 and not listening to the different characteristics of THIS car. I was over-driving and creating wheel spin, and thus the TC was coming on. He was much smoother, balancing the car perfectly and therefore much faster with no TC interference.

    It was a great lesson and the rest of the day I thought of the TC as a nun sitting in the car with me. If I made a mistake and was not smooth the TC would kick in, like a nun slapping my wrist with a ruler to correct me. I concentrated on not engaging the TC and counted how many times per lap it came on. Pretty soon I could get around much quicker and it was not engaging at all.

    Had I been able to turn off the TC I might have been more stubborn and continued to over the drive the car. I would not have learned. Throwing parts at a car is a similar thing, it can cover up driving errors and slow the learning process. I have no doubt that things like FHP can make the average driver go faster, but it will not make them a better driver. I guess its up to each of us an individuals to decide what we want - a better car or better skills? I like skill building first, then modify the car and take full advantage of the new capabilities!

    BTW, I ran Pagid Orange in my 911 race car for about 4 years (now use PFC 97) and still run them in my Spec Boxster race car. Also used them for track work in my F355. It is a good pad, I just don't like how they feel before they heat up and for normal street driving they never really hit their ideal operating temps. Excellent at resisting hi-temp fade though, and that's why I still use them in the Spec Boxster race car.
     
  14. jakermc

    jakermc Formula 3
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    I like how you put this. Sounds pretty accurate.

    Bridgestone does not make a performance run flat tire yet, though I had heard rumors than one is coming.

    My wife also has the RE050 on her Porsche 996 and good experiences there led me to the RE-11.
     
  15. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    +1

    Wait till you take your Shark to TWS. T1/T2 are an absolute hoot. T3 not so much.

    Dale

    PS You're right about the brakes. This car has way more motor than brakes. :)
     
  16. ketel

    ketel Formula 3
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    Aug 6, 2007
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    Agreed. Perhaps this is a reason that I enjoyed learning to drive on the older Fcars. Fewer places to hide and less technology to cover up mistakes. Best example I can think of was with a Boxer. That car felt like a wild animal. Brutal. Get it right, and it was a near-religious experience driving that thing; get it wrong, and you had a ton of iron coming around on you to remind you of your error.

    Excellent story. I recall in racing school having a similar moment with an instructor. You realize quickly that it is rarely the car; it's usually the driver.

    Skill building is the way I like to do it also. I kept my 911 dead stock for years on the track while I learned how to drive it at 9/10ths and 10/10ths without soiling my shorts or ending up in the weeds. A lot of my friends went hog-wild adding this mod or that while not paying as much attention to acquiring better driving skills. I added a few things only when I felt I took the car to its limits and it could really benefit from the added refinement. The advantage (for me, anyway) was I got that immediate boost from the new modification because everything else was already at the limit. That way, I could tell easily what mods were worth doing and what just covered up my sloppy driving.

    Great posts. Keep 'em coming.

    ketel
     
  17. Ferrarista3

    Ferrarista3 F1 Rookie

    Oct 30, 2007
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    #14 Ferrarista3, Sep 15, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2009
    For what it's worth, before we got the 599 I had the opportunity to drive a non-FHP 575 for maybe 15 minutes on some twisty country roads in Italy.

    The car felt VERY soft even at moderate speeds. It made me feel very uncomfortable. The weight transfer during quick direction changes was awkward to say the least. Also, the nose lifted under acceleration and then fell to the floor when braking.

    I couldn't believe that I was disappointed by the first Ferrari I had ever driven! I'm sure that if it had the FHP package my reactions would have been different.

    You're obviously a much better/more experienced driver than myself, but I can't imagine that you'd be disappointed by retro-fitting the FHP pack.
     

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