Mother’s Day was upon me. Between juggling work, kids, pets and other various household duties, it would have been easy to accept the day of rest and put my feet up.
When you get a Ferrari offered to you, your priorities rapidly change. I didn’t need to be asked twice.
After a morning spent taking kids to sports, managing loads of washing (it was a beautiful driving/drying day!) and sorting out lunches, it was finally time to get the keys and leave reality for a few precious hours.
Before going anywhere, it was all about learning how to drive a Ferrari. Daunting doesn’t describe it…. Perhaps terrifying? I’m not a bad driver, but I would classify myself as a little careless with cars in general. In this car, I was aware that I would have to up my game and only complete and focused driving attention would be permitted.
My instructions started with “these buttons here….. don’t touch them”. I later found out they would have changed the driving style, so fair call. Otherwise the basic rundown was gone through pretty quickly and painlessly.
The Ferrari 360 is an automatic car, but with flappy paddles. Now, the flappy paddles on my daily drive are a joke. I love manual cars and had come to believe that flappy paddles are absolutely useless and more effort than they are worth. But I was encourgared to just give them a try in the Ferrari, I was promised they’d be different. I still made sure I knew how to flick it into auto, expecting the manual experience to be a serious disappointment.
My first solo 100 metres in the Ferrari were spent with a crowd of onlookers. Children, husband, neighbours. No pressure, right? I decided auto would be how it would start. Didn’t stop the bunny hops, but hoping no one noticed because DEAR GOD, it sounded freakin AWESOME when I put my foot down on the accelerator and the car just leaped forward…. like I was moving forward through time.
I drove around the corner to collect my fellow “mum-in-arms”, and we were off. For all of 50 metres, until we got to the first speed bump. Deciding it would be a good idea to not launch the car over like I would have ordinarily done, I slowed to a virtual stop and crawled over it.
Then about 2 minutes down the road, we hit traffic. Deciding to take back streets to avoid it was probably a good idea, unfortunately it meant a few extra speed bumps and vicious dips in the road.
I won’t bore you further with the adventures that ensued getting out of suburbia. Maybe around Heathcote – 45 minutes into the journey – was when we started to get clear roads. It was around here that I started to experiment with using the flappy paddles. I now understand the difference between a tiptronic gearbox and an F1. An F1 gearbox has some serious power and is as responsive as all Hell. The auto option was quickly forgotten and I started to enjoy experimenting with shifting gears.
The roads through Heathcote and leading into the National Park are great training gounds for the twists and turns to come. Not the fastest of roads, mainly 70 with the occasional 90. Important to stay within the speed limit in this area, lots of speed cameras to be aware of.
The Heathcote National Park was incredible. It was a beautiful drive with corners you can downshift into and accelerate out of. We got a great run, with not a single car in front of us until we reached the first lookout. After a brief stop to admire the view, we made our way down to Sea Cliff Bridge. With the massive cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other, it was a great section of road. Admitedly, in the Ferrari the bridge kind of just flew by!
By the time we reached Scarborough Hotel, I felt totally confident with the car. So much so that I did a u-turn and squeezed the Ferrari into (what felt like, but probably wasn’t!) a pretty tight car spot. Needless to say, I was very impressed with myself J
Lunch at the Scarborough was nice pub-fair with the most amazing views out over the ocean. The lawn area was packed with groups and families, so we very happily settled on the upstairs balcony and managed to score ourselves a table by the bannister. My fellow mum & I spent a lovely hour or so chatting and eating and taking photos. Time just flew by.
On the return trip, I chose to take the motorway instead of going back through the National Park. Really glad I did, because it was at this point that I was able to take the Ferrari up to 110km/hr. The acceleration happened so quickly, but it was incredible. Again, I was paranoid about speeding, so I was overtaken a few times, but my friend and I were having a blast. Traffic lights were our friend because we thrilled at the acceleration. I loved being able to take off so quickly . When I looked behind me from the mirrors, it appeared as if the other cars were standing still! I now understand how incredible 0 to 100km in 4.4sec actually is.
As expected, we hit a bit of traffic close to home. So it was back into auto and a really comfortable and seemingly quick drive back to base.
In the end, we were gone for just on 4.5 hours. It was so nice to take a break from reality with a fellow mum on the day before Mother’s Day. We left the the kids and husbands and cares behind, and recharged our batteries by doing something special and out of the ordinary. It’s a shame Mother’s Day isn’t celebrated every month. Sign me up for next year…. maybe a 24 hour trip will need to be organised.