Impressive debut of the Ferrari Daytona SP3

There are two kinds of people who don’t look at price tags: those rich enough not to care, and those trying to avoid a nasty scare.

It’s fair to say that not knowing that the Ferrari Daytona SP3 I flew to Le Mans in France to drive cost around $2.57 million until I returned it in a precious piece was an act of calculated cowardice.

Sure, I did my research on this incredibly rare collector’s item – only 599 will be made and it’s part of the Ferrari Icona series, with this particular model representing the company’s incredible racing successes in the ’60s and ’70s (if you’re into the movie ford vs ferrarithis car is for you), but I was very careful not to look at the price.

Even driving it with an imaginary price tag (I guessed it had to be more than a million, maybe as high as US$1 million) was intimidating.

And then I saw the Daytona in the flesh and realized that when chief designer Flavio Manzoni declared that he was trying to create an automotive work of art, “a true sculpture, visually sensuous and also dynamic,” he was not. exaggerating.

unique and unforgettable

Ferrari Daytona SP3 pic1

This visually intense Ferrari has already won awards for its design, taking the 2022 Most Beautiful Supercar Grand Prix at the Paris International Motor Show, but you really have to see it in its crazy, muscular coolness to appreciate just how unique and unforgettable it is. appearance.

Manzoni’s goal was to create a vehicle that someone will look at 30 years from now, give a low whistle of appreciation, and truly declare it one of the iconic cars of the 2020s.

In many ways, it may also be the last of its kind because the Daytona is powered by a 6.5-litre V12 engine, a dinosaur in terms of car evolution, but one that comes out with a glorious, unbridled roar.

In yet another sure sign of how special this car is, the V12 turns out to be the most powerful naturally aspirated engine Ferrari has ever put on the streets.

It generates 618 kilowatts at an almost unimaginably deafening speed of 9250 rotations per minute and 697 Newton meters. It can reach 100 kilometers per hour in just 2.85 seconds, or 200 kilometers per hour in just 7.4, with a top speed of 340 kilometers per hour.

It’s fast, it’s loud, and it’s also absolutely cutting-edge in its technology, with a full carbon fiber chassis – the company’s first since its La Ferrari hypercar – and various parts, including barge-board-like aerodynamic features and carbon parts around. the exhaust, and even on the engine, which are lifted directly from their F1 cars.

Modern and classic design.

Ferrari Daytona SP3 photo 2

All those parts you can’t see are amazing, but it’s the design you keep coming back to.

In a nod to the pop-up headlights of the past, the Daytona does indeed have eyelids, or eyelashes, that slide seductively open as night falls, meaning that during the day it appears as if it really has no headlights.

It also has outside rearview mirrors that help make a very wide vehicle even wider, so much so that there’s a button to stow them, in case you’re worried they’ll be knocked off by an oncoming vehicle.

And it has beautiful horizontal strokes, particularly on its staggeringly modern yet classic rear end, which are a nod to Ferraris of the past, like the Testarossa, but somehow manage to look even cooler.

Honestly, the idea that you’ll be allowed to drive something as artistic as the Daytona feels almost as intimidating as the price tag.

It already feels like a museum piece, like you’ve been asked to sit down at the table at The Last Supper and take it for a spin.

And yet, as one Ferrari test driver put it: “If we were building this car just to put it in a museum, we wouldn’t have bothered to develop tires specifically for it; it’s meant to be driven.”

unlimited acceleration

Ferrari Daytona SP3 photo 3

Almost above that, it’s meant to be heard and felt, because a V12 that can rev past 9,000 rotations per minute is truly a moving thing.

“It’s something very special, you can’t describe it, you can only feel it,” added the test pilot. He then went on to try to describe it anyway, as an “endless crescendo giving a sense of unlimited acceleration”.

Climbing into the Daytona’s cockpit isn’t easy: the seats are just colored foam pieces attached to the chassis, so no adjustments are necessary; instead, you move the pedal box to fit your feet.

Vision out of the car is also limited: you can’t see anything to your side or over your shoulders, and the windshield is small and wraparound, like a Le Mans racer, which is what this car effectively is.

It’s also where Ferrari chose to launch the Daytona, at the legendary Le Mans circuit, which sounded exciting at first: the track has a six-kilometer straight that looks like a good place to explore the rare air above 300 kilometers per hour. .

However, we were told that the cars were too valuable for us to attack a track with, so we just took photos.

Sensory overload driving

After that, unbelievably, we were sent out on public roads to risk it all for a few hours of unforgettable, sensory-overloaded driving.

At first, on rough, broken roads, the Daytona SP3 felt like a race car struggling to come to terms with how awful, harsh, and uneven the real world can be.

Setting foot on a bumpy surface was a leap of faith, as the car bounced, rattled and skidded, and my heart rate reached a level best described as cardiac arrest.

But then we hit some stretches of perfect, smooth tarmac and the Daytona delivered everything you’d expect from a $2.57 million Ferrari.

Engineers say its carbon chassis is designed to give you a “pure, unfiltered feel of the road surface, to allow you to better control the car,” and it’s certainly unfiltered.

Rocks rattle against the undercarriage and there seems to be no sound dampening at all. The car is rigid and immovable but also nailed to the road.

And that lack of filter between you and that amazing stratospheric V12 engine is a great gift.

Weave your way through the gears, rev each one as high and hard as you dare, and you’ll be rewarded with a metallic opera sounding experience that’s simply unmatched.

an exciting journey

After a while I forgot how expensive this Ferrari obviously was and kept stomping my foot on the ground (well almost the ground, I was on public roads) because my ears were enjoying the experience too much and I knew I never would. come again.

The Daytona is firm but fair, providing fantastic feedback through both the steering wheel and the seat of your pants. You really feel connected to the road and capable of great feats of speed and cornering.

But it feels wide, especially on French roads, and wild too. I can’t say I ever got to the point where I felt relaxed driving the Daytona, but I certainly felt absolutely thrillingly alive.

Somewhere out there are 599 very happy customers who have spent their millions to own one of these ridiculous rare cars; yes, they are all already sold.

I wonder if they looked at the price tag or if they just saw a picture of the Ferrari Daytona SP3 and thought, “I must have one of those.” I get it, I really do.

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