IN THE 16 LONG YEARS I'VE been doing this job, I've nevet looked forwatd to anything more than the launch of this car. Never. I woke up at 5am excited as a six¬year-old kid at Christmas - and that was two weeks before the plane flew to Florence. The night before I was due to drive it, I woke up at precisely 3:37am and lay there in the hotel room grinning, rrying to get back to sleep but not really caring whether I did or not.
Counting dark alloy GTO 1 O-spoke wheels did the trick. There have only been three GTOs in Ferrari's 63 years of building road cars and this is the third. You probably know rhar already, so we won't bore you with a history lesson here. Ie's enough to just say that it has 661 bhp and runs from 0-198kph in under 10 seconds. No hisrory required. If we were being cynical, all Ferrari needs to do here is make the standard 599 GTB a tad lighter, a bit more powerful and harder-looking, then plonk that exclusive badge on it - and the cars would sell out even with this heavy price tag of Rs2.03 crore in base spec.
And all 599 examples did indeed sell out, within months of the car being announced. Wow, 599 x Rs2.03 crore equals nearly Rs 1,222 crore of cash, and why nor? This company, like any other, is in business to turn a profit. Still, it's a big badge to live up to. Ah, the badge. GTO stands for 'Gran Turismo Omologato', the last word meaning 'homologation'. Ferrari is saying that this car is a 'homologated' version of the rrack-only 599XX special. Well, no it's not, because the need for homologation is defined by the rule-makers of a race series, who demand that a certain number of road car versions of the racer are built to make the competition car legal. Ferrari hasn't ever raced the 599XX, nor will it ever. So the new GTO is not a 'homologation' version of the 599XX at all.
Does it matter? Probably not. Let's get a handle on that 599XX first. Knowing that the GTO rakes a lor of stuff from that car is enough to get anyone excited. The XX is a high¬end, rrack-only, Rs9.5 crore development 'mule', featuring some of the most advanced technology ever built into a car. It is set up like a fly-by-wire fighter jet. That is, it's designed to be far superior to a 'normal' car dynamically with its electronic systems turned on, with the sacrifice being instability with them disengaged. In fighter jets like the EutOfighter they call it 'relaxed stability', where computer control intervenes constantly to keep the aircraft trimmed in normal flight in a way no human could - but when it comes to manoeuvrability, the thing is incredible, far better than aircraft designed ro be naturally stable. Same with the XX's chassis agility - the ESP systems are integrated into the suspension design from the start to help sort things out for the driver into, through and beyond the apex of a corner.