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Ride in 360GT #33

Discussion in '360/430' started by ryalex, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Aug 6, 2003
    21,487
    Las Vegas, NV
    Full Name:
    Ryan Alexander
    While DES got to ride in a collection of cars that I would call a 'street performance package,' I opted for a 'track package' of rides that went for the raw racing experience. Right after getting the crap beat out of me courtesy of a few hard and fast laps in a 360 Challenge car with former F1 and LeMans driver Eric Van der Poele, I was eating lunch with the team owner of #33, the 2002 Can-Am Champion car featuring Girard-Perrageaux watches (I was unaware of this at the time). Describing to him my time in the 360C, he says, "Well, if you think that was something you should come out with me in the GT."
    "Yeah, I'll take you up on that."
    "I need to do a dozen warmup laps, but look for me when I come in to the pits."
    So after lunch he took of in the GT and I sat there watching... when he pulled in he opened up and his team helped me strap in as he refueled. "Just don't touch that big red button unless you want to be covered in Halon." Check.

    That thing is insane.

    The car roared to life and we gurgled to the track entrance lane. When he mashed the pedal the car screamed and shook like some Hawaiian volcano god was erupting from the engine bay. We flew down the straightaway overtaking the 'regular' Modena 360's like they were Mazda 323's. I struggled to find the speedometer on the digital readout (it wasn't set to display it), but I guessed that Doc Brown would be screaming, "2.42 jigawatts of power!!"

    I gripped the rollbar along the thin carbon-fiber seat to brace myself through turns best described as "wrenching," at least until I was settled in enough to tighten the 5-point harness (which I thought was tight to begin with). The GT pulls more G's than a Jim Carrey movie contract, and tears out of turns like a shard of ruby being hurled from a divine sling. You have to remind yourself to keep breathing as you realize you left your equilibrium behind on that last straightaway.

    The shaking feels like the engine rests on the back of your seat. The sound is a euphoric orchestra hit dueling a shrill robotic tenor. Louder than a Challenge car, which a few minutes earlier had been the loudest thing I'd ever been in, given my limited experience. So loud, that not only did I have a persistent ringing in my ears that night, but quite literally I laid in bed at 1am and heard it screaming through all the gears, the raging cavallino sending jumping sheep to other dreamers.

    Lap after lap we went. Oh, there went RL's F-40LM. Excuse me, Mr. 550. Later, lady driven 355. Yes, Sir Challenge Car, that was a "Faster Car Approaching - Move for pass" flag being waived at you. I didn't want it to end. I don't recall how many laps we did - I'm guessing 10 - but I knew that when I lost count after 6, everytime we swung around the last turn and faced the pit area I had feelings of desperation, like how children look at the Tilt-a-Whirl operator at the county fair and beg for one last spin.

    The extreme forces had melded a smile to my face and I by the end I had used up all of my brain's adrenal capacity. Cue the endorphins! I concluded that if religious service had a vow of chastity, and if racing Ferraris were a practice of the cloth, I could consider forgoing all other earthly pleasures.

    Luckily, my wife says just get a Ferrari. But with only 15 360GT's out there, my choices are somewhat limited. Oh well, I'll just have to settle for an Enzo.
     
  2. Willis360

    Willis360 F1 Rookie

    Aug 4, 2001
    3,928
    Redmond, WA
    Full Name:
    Willis H
    That 360GT was the Grand-Am GT cham last year. It (the new car) will be again tomorrow if it complete one lap with both of the drivers in the last race.

    I think the Ferrari of Washington 360GTs will be a collector's items when they finish racing.
     
  3. Santini

    Santini Formula Junior

    Oct 1, 2003
    480
    North Carolina
    I was fortunate to see the Challenge Series races last year at Virginia Int'l Raceway, including that particular car. Got a lot of the race and many closeups of the beautiful vintage Ferraris (and Alfas) on my camcorder. I'm glad I got to watch the tape at least once when I got home because my oldest daughter decided to record over that particular tape! :mad:

    Sounds like a thrilling ride!
     
  4. ljsaia

    ljsaia Rookie

    Mar 25, 2003
    34
    Houma, Louisiana
    Full Name:
    Lyndon Saia
    It was nice meeting you at the event. You were really lucky to get a ride in one of the race cars but to ride in several and to ride for more than three laps in the GT is mind numming. (Literally & Figuratively) I rode with Eric last year in a 360 Challenge for 3 laps and had whiplash for 2 months. Hope to see you next year. ;)

    Lyndon
     
  5. cuore_rosso

    cuore_rosso Rookie

    Aug 8, 2003
    35
    nice story ryalex! Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. cohiba_man

    cohiba_man Formula Junior

    Jan 23, 2003
    937
    Canada
    Full Name:
    John
  7. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Aug 6, 2003
    21,487
    Las Vegas, NV
    Full Name:
    Ryan Alexander
    Hey Lyndon! Hope everything went well for you at the rally and making it home - I got an offer to drive a 355 after the event, and couldn't fit because the adjustment bracket on the seat had popped out - next year I guess!

    Oh yeah, I'm going to do everything in my power to go back next year. As Dave was saying, put $20 in the cookiejar every week to save up.
     
  8. ljsaia

    ljsaia Rookie

    Mar 25, 2003
    34
    Houma, Louisiana
    Full Name:
    Lyndon Saia
    Next year bring your wife! When she meets the gang and goes to the parties, she'll have a different view of owning a Ferrari. ;)

    Lyndon
     
  9. CVBJr

    CVBJr Rookie

    Oct 15, 2003
    31
  10. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Consultant

    Aug 6, 2003
    21,487
    Las Vegas, NV
    Full Name:
    Ryan Alexander
    I just read Cort Wagner won the 2003 GT class in the car today.
     

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