The magic of Fiorano - What makes Ferrari's test track so special - Will’s beginner's guide
We try to pin down why we love Fiorano just so much
Will’s beginner's guide
If you tackle Fiorano for the first time in a 488 GTB, you can hardle begrudge Ferrari the slightly slower configuration it imposed upon us. However with 661bhp of turbochaged V8, it certainly feels quick enough. This 'slower' track layout means we use the inside path for the first bend, which makes the first corner a right-hand hairpin with a slight left kink before it. Unusually, the left kink means you start braking for the right-hander on the right side of the track as you try to straighten out your approach as much as possible.
The right hairpin requires a late apex because there’s a left shortly after it. This late apex sets you up nicely to move over, further to the right side of track for the left-hander. As the first corner is so tight, and therefore you’ve scrubbed-off so much speed, being too far to the right isn’t necessary.
As you accelerate hard out of the second corner you’re faced with two long sweeping corners, a right followed by a left. The 488’s glorious performance means speed rapidly increases. The first right requires some patience on the throttle. The second part is dealt with in fourth gear, but as is the ferociousness of the 488, you will be fighting oversteer on the exit.
Fiorano is, essentially a glorified figure of eight. Because of this though, the track must go over and under itself at some point. Rather than an undergorund tunnel, Fiorano has a bridge.
Before you climb the hill to go over the bridge, there is a two stage right hander to master. First there is a kink right, then comes a tighter bend. The first part makes judging your line quite tricky. Start to the right of the circuit and then, as the track chinks right, maintain your trajectory as the left side of the tarmac comes to meet you. This sets you up perfectly to brake deep into the second part of the corner, take another late apex, and accelerate cleanly up the hill and over the bridge.
After the bridge, there’s a ninety degree right. However, there’s a crest before the corner that not only makes it blind, but can also unsettle the car under braking.
As you descend the hill there’s slight left that’s taken flat. As soon as it has straightened though, you need to be thinking about braking heavily into a right-hand hairpin. It’s very easy, thanks to the downhill section and the sheer speed of the GTB, to carry too much speed into this corner.
The corner itself feels like it's been slightly squared off, with two right angles in close succession rather than one flowing switchback. The first part can trick you into too early an apex, which then causes understeer as you pile on more steering trying to keep a tighter line, then oversteer as you correct the understeer with copius amounts of throttle. Ignore the kerbs to begin with, and stay closer to the centre of the track before cutting in later. The corner is so tight that you still have to manage oversteer on the exit, but the later apex makes it much easier to be tidy.
After the hairpin there’s a flat right into a tighter left. The left is still very quick, but perhaps not as fast as it initially seems. What feels like a corner where just a lift would suffice, actually requires some brakes. Go in too quick and the front will push wide onto the exit curbs. There’s a long flat-out section as the track bears right after the corner, so any mistakes here will really effect a lap time.
Finally there’s another left-hand hairpin. This one is wider than the last, but is smoother and the racing line is more conventional. The corner does open out and widen, but if you hug the inside curb until you can start to see down the main straight, it allows clean, fuss-free acceleration under the bridge and to the end of the lap.