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THE MAD RAVINGS OF A PISTA OWNER

Discussion in '458 Italia/488/F8' started by FordGTDriver, Jan 8, 2020.

  1. FordGTDriver

    FordGTDriver Karting
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    #1 FordGTDriver, Jan 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
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    Like many of you here, I’ve been fortunate to own a few different Ferraris. The Pista is now my fifth: I started with a lovely F430 (back when they were new), after that, I specced two 458s, a Speciale, and a 488 which was barely six months old when I pre-traded it for the Pista. I mention this as a framework for the following observations regarding my new Pista.

    THRUST-O-MATIC

    First, let’s talk about acceleration. The Pista is simply ferocious, and the thrust, even in 7th gear, is borderline frightening. I was on a lonely desert road in the Pista and came upon a wheezing old pickup truck, sauntering along ahead of me. I signaled, moved out to pass, and squeezed the throttle. A big, fat, hairy couple of seconds later the speedo was in the triple digits and I was left wondering how I got there. Mind you, I didn’t downshift; this was all in top gear. Verdict: the Pista will quite decidedly slap the soup out of every prior Ferrari I have owned, and it’s not even close. In fact, it may be one of the quickest cars I have ever owned, period.

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    YES, BUT HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE 488?

    Specifically in comparison with the 488, it’s not surprising that the Pista accelerates with so much more authority; take an already blindingly quick car like the 488, then increase the power and decrease the weight (including rotational mass inside the engine), and you’ve got a recipe for all sorts of swell fun, mister. The car really does feel super light on its feet. The tiniest nudge of the throttle has an immediate and delightful effect, and the combined improvements makes it feel like the torque of the engine has been at least doubled. For the first time ever in a turbo car, I can now honestly say that I cannot detect turbo lag. Not sure how Ferrari did it, but I love it.

    I’ve tried to come up with ways to describe the way the Pista feels in comparison to my other F cars, and the best thing I can come up with is this: when I was slogging through college, I worked in a cabinet shop. I marveled at the difference in function between a freshly sharpened tool vs. one that had become dull with use. The sharper tool was more accurate and required so much less effort to use and control. The same can be said of the Pista; It’s so perfectly responsive to driver input that even in city driving, it feels like wearing Tod’s loafers while everyone else is in goulashes. It’s quite remarkable what weight reduction and power amplification can do for a car. Simply stated, if you like your 488, you’ll be bonkers for the Pista. I know I am.

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    IS THE PISTA A RAW, NASTY, TRACK ONLY CAR?

    After reading various accounts of the Pista, I expected it to be raw and unrefined. Nope and Nope. My only remark is that the road noise is more prevalent, and the constant sound of rocks pinging off the ultra-expensive carbon body parts is irritating. The latter is certainly exacerbated by the gummy Michelin tires.

    Other than those two gripes, I really can’t say that the Pista is as uncouth as some have commented. It’s perfectly content on the highway. Put it on a twisty backroad and mama mia, it’s better than you-know-what.
    I have a favorite canyon drive that is about 70 miles long, and features one of the best sports car roads in the U.S. (For the curious, look at Highway 89 that connects Prescott, Arizona to the tiny town of Willhoit, then continues on to Peeple’s Valley, Yarnell, and then terminates at Congress Junction.) I have been driving this road for the past 25 years, and feel like it gives me a good baseline of comparison between cars. The road snakes along, perched on rock faces, heavily cambered and generally quite vacant. It’s got one remarkable section where the road plunges nearly 2000 feet to the desert floor on a one-way road, thus allowing one to cut the apexes like Monsieur Leclerc with no fear of oncoming traffic. In this environment, the Pista feels like it just might be worth the insane amount of money one must pay to have one. I’ve driven the road 5 times now in the Pista, and each time, as I pull the paddles and listen to the barking rev match on downshifts, I feel like it’s all so totally worth it. While the Pista may lack the transparent steering feel of my Porsche 993 or NSX, it’s still intoxicatingly communicative and so responsive and predictable that it makes me laugh out loud. I won’t be able to take the car to the track until the spring, but I can already predict that it will be stupendous in that environment.

    BUT HOW DOES IT SOUND?

    The engine noise as heard from inside the car is perfect in my opinion. I understand that there are those among our body that complain often and vociferously about a lack of noise produced by the 488. I thought the 488 sounded fine, and I think the Pista sounds even better; exactly like a half million-dollar, 700 horsepower car should; purposeful but not obnoxious. A couple of things I didn’t expect: First, I can hear the turbos spool more distinctly in the Pista, and the intake noise is significantly more pronounced than in the 488. Very cool.

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    WHAT ABOUT THE LOOKS?

    The Pista is an out-of-the-park home run. If it’s got a bad angle, I certainly can’t find it. I have to admit that this is completely subjective, but I think it’s the most dramatic and dynamic exterior styling of any car I’ve owned. In comparison to the 488, the S-duct, the pronounced duck tail, and the wider, more sculpted rockers transform the car. My only complaint is that the car sits too high in factory form. I plan to fix this; I specced the lift so that I could have Novitec springs installed to lower the car and not scrape all the time.

    I was lucky to get to see the F8 and the Pista side-by-side at Pebble Beach. My immediate conclusion was that if the F8 is a Stormtrooper, then the Pista is Darth Vader. Don’t get me wrong, the F8 is a very striking car, but it looks fine-boned and almost delicate in comparison to the gnarly Pista.

    YES, BUT WILL IT GO 200 MPH?

    Well, I’m gonna find out. There’s a little place called the Space Shuttle Landing Facility at Cape Canaveral where my friend Johnny Bohmer provides the perfect place to do high speed aerodynamic testing. (In other words, see how fast your car will go in a straight line). I’m schedule to be there in the Pista on Jan. 18. It’s 2.7 miles at wide open throttle, and I’m curious to see what my top speed will be. My record is 230 mph, (370 kph) and while I’m under no illusion that the Pista can touch that speed, I’m hoping for 200 plus. Watch this space for further details…
     

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  2. Alcav5

    Alcav5 Formula 3
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    Great write up, you must be a journalist...

    Thanks for sharing.

    Btw I like your interior, it is unique. Is that alcantara?, what color?
     
  3. Dadr

    Dadr Formula Junior

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    Great read and I agree 100%


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. 4_Eff_Sake

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    Thanks for a great write up! Can’t wait to drive it!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  5. uhn2000

    uhn2000 Formula 3

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    Amazing, can’t wait for mine!
     
  6. dustman

    dustman F1 Rookie

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    Exceptional prose!

    Please keep us up to date esp the high speed run. And ping me offline here to discuss that further as perhaps we bring a few hypercars.
     
  7. #7 ipsedixit, Jan 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
    I see you forgot to mention how practical the cupholders are in the Pista. :D

    [​IMG]
     
    TheMayor, ScottS, Sav35 and 7 others like this.
  8. Rory breaker

    Rory breaker Karting

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    Cool write up and beautiful car, love the interior, post more shots.
     
  9. Shack

    Shack Formula 3
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    awesome write up and cant wait to try one
     
  10. Nsd991

    Nsd991 Karting
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    Beautiful elevated angles on your photos. Enjoyed the read.
     
  11. wthensler

    wthensler Formula Junior
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    According to Ferrari's Chief Technical Officer, Michael Leiters, reducing the rotational mass was one of the biggest goals of the Pista redesign.

    As an engineer, I understand why this adds value to the already high performance machine.

    Thanks for posting such an informative article.
     
  12. sampelligrino

    sampelligrino Formula Junior

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    Brilliant review, congrats!! The gold wheels are a very nice touch
     
  13. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula Junior
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    I'd love to be in a position to write such a review. Alas, I'm just a poor gated 360 owner and will likely never even sit in a Pista.
     
    Mark Eaves likes this.
  14. wrs

    wrs F1 Rookie
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    Great review and lovely car!
     
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  15. bball16

    bball16 F1 Rookie
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  16. spyder625

    spyder625 Formula Junior
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    WOW STUNNING... that interior looks so comfortable
     
  17. Snewton94024

    Snewton94024 Formula Junior
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    Thoroughly enjoyed your writing.
    I hope you continue sharing your experiences.
    Though I doubt you need a day job it would be great if you wrote a regular article for publishing.
     
  18. Caeruleus11

    Caeruleus11 F1 Veteran
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    Fabulous review! I agree with just about everything you said! The Pista engine allows them much more precise control over the turbos. I think a lot of the Pista formula is actually in improved sensors + further improved and refined software. Interesting of course but what really matters is how you feel when you're driving it. It is properly hypercar fast. Its so good to drive that every time Im behind the wheel I can't believe humans actually produced the Pista! Its phenomenal! As is your writeup! Thank you for sharing :)
     
    of2worlds likes this.
  19. racerdj

    racerdj F1 Veteran
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    What an excellent read! Very professional!
     
  20. Surfah

    Surfah F1 Rookie

    Dec 20, 2011
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    Sweet interior. Big congrats on your new Pista
     
  21. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax F1 Rookie

    Jun 10, 2016
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    An excellent review w pics on what is truly an exceptional car indeed! Could not agree more with you on the looks of the car too. Truly stunning! Without any doubt a worthy bench mark for the Ferrari brand! Have enjoyed every mile in mine and am always looking forward to the next opportunity with great enthusiasm. We are truly blessed.
     
  22. Jo Sta7

    Jo Sta7 Formula 3
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    Excellent review. Thrilled for you!
     
  23. buddyg

    buddyg Formula 3
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    Great write up and I love your color/spec. What car did you do 230 mph in?
     
  24. FordGTDriver

    FordGTDriver Karting
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    #24 FordGTDriver, Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
    Thanks for all the kind words! For those who asked, the interior is Alcantara Cioccolato with Cioccolato inserts (instead of the standard black inserts).
     
  25. FordGTDriver

    FordGTDriver Karting
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    Mark Eaves, root, kingp0820 and 4 others like this.

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