Croatia 2017

 

 

3000+ miles

Munich - Austria - Dubrovnik

route files here

 

What has surprised me about the F12 is its huge breadth of its ability. It will almost be any car that you want it to be. When you pull away in that spacious, opulent low slung cabin you feel confident that you could drive all the way to Istanbul and back in one hit. One day I did Split to Strasbourg in 13 hours, all 800 miles with plenty of cruising at 150+ mph on the stretch between Munich and Karlsruhe. It felt like a doddle. The thing is though, like a true Jeckyll and Hyde machine you can sometimes find yourself drifting off on such long distances and forgetting that you are actually in a 730bhp supercar. In the next instant, when you take it by the scruff of the neck, use some gears and give it the beans, it's suddenly electrifying and exhilirating in a way that something like a caterham R500 is. The bottomless V12 shove no matter what the gear, the Bruce Lee kick in the back on upchanges, the squirming and waywardness under load, it's so ferocious, so completely savage and unhinged.

In a sense though, despite the monumental levels of performance, I reckon that it only ever feels 100% natural that it has the amount of power that it does. The chassis is so adept that every single last horse feels like it should be there. And then there's the noise. No matter how many times you read a review that tells you how good it sounds, nothing can really prepare you for the real experience when you actually drive one in full anger. As it reaches 7000 rpm it is loud, intense and deeply harmonious and oozes class and a sense of pedigree. Past 7000 though and it takes on this kind of angry feral quality which can be genuiely scary the first few times you encounter it.

In Bavaria, leaving Vorderriss on the 307, with a 458 Speciale behind me urging me on (the car that came 2nd on my shortlist), I got to sample my first twisty route. I didn't really know what I would discover and had no idea if the F12 even does back roads, but suffice to say that after 5 miles of that amazing river road my mind was completely blown and all my nerve endings were frazzled. Shergar with a rocket planted up his backside and me holding on for dear life, trying to gather the reins and understand how any car can devour a road with that kind of pace and savagery.

A couple of hours later we hit the Grossglockner and this time with the Speciale leading and much to my delight, I soon realised that the F12 can do tighter mountain runs with hairpins as well and it had oodles of torque to spare over it's V8 cousin. Ignore the GT moniker or the size and weight of the beast; the F12 is a precision sportscar when you need it to be. Agile, accurate and incredibly coherent and balanced. On the faster stuff though, the advantages of its size shine through; a big car means a wide track, a lovely long wheelbase, the security of high mass and overall a feeling of incredible stability and high speed confidence.

Finally of course, there's the way the car makes you feel, the gawps and stares it gets, the smiles and conversations it elicits, the huge road presence it has. Even the German border Police at Salzburg ignored the fact that I was wearing no front plate and simply told me to carry on with the command "and now, we hear some noise" !

To me it's a very special car, a very unique recipe too. This one is going to stick around a bit methinks. One day I might find a road out there that's truly big enough for it as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Jackals Racetrack http://www.jackals-forge.com/lotus 1998 Richard Morris