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The reluctant LaFerrari driver – evo archive

How do you get a £1million hypercar out of the back of a delivery truck? Very, very, slowly…

‘As moments go, arriving at our chosen meeting point high on the Denbighshire moors to find the Enzo and LaFerrari already disgorged from their transporters and silhouetted against an azure sky is something akin to a religious vision.’

That was chapter 1, verse 5 from Meaden’s epistle to the tifosi in issue 203. He paints an idyllic picture. And why not.

What he didn’t mention was the slightly shaky-looking lanky chap not wearing any shoes. You see, occasionally – and it really is only very occasionally – you really don’t want to be the one behind the wheel of a LaFerrari. And one of those occasions had occurred just before Dickie arrived at the rendezvous.

Rewind half an hour and Ferrari’s first hybrid hypercar was still on the truck. The incredibly generous loaning owner had driven it on there the day before and the driver of the truck was, understandably, unwilling to drive it off. You see, it wasn’t just a case of trickling it down a ramp. Oh no. This was one of those lorries with a promontory at the back that lowers its cargo to the ground rather like it’s a pallet on the prongs of a forklift truck. My task was to drive the new £1m hypercar out onto the promontory. A promontory barely any longer than the LaFerrari’s 4702mm length.

It would be a palm-sweating journey of less than five metres. Any more and it would end in an expensive nosedive towards the Welsh ground (and probably infamy on Twitter thanks to Dean Smith wielding his iPhone).

There was no room to open a dihedral door inside the truck, so I had to climb through a window. Hence being in my socks. Pressing the starter button filled the lorry with full-volume V12 as the cold start did its thing. Glorious, but intimidating. Then it was a question of squeezing the throttle like it was the trigger of a gun I didn’t want to go off, hoping to unleash the smallest possible amount of 950bhp to get the tyres rolling. It looked for all the world like I was driving into fresh air.

> When Audi showed up Porsche for the first time – evo Archive

Enough? Now?? Now??? Never have I been so glad to be told to ‘STOP!’

Twelve hours later, test over, I found myself behind the wheel of the LF again, driving it back to the owner, 200 miles away in Buckinghamshire. In torrential rain. At night.

Drystone walls reached out for the spindly mirrors, while oncoming headlights seemed to shrink Snowdonia’s roads still further. I was relieved to reach the relative safety of a motorway, then dismayed at a diversion for late night roadworks on the M6…

I’d never been to Coventry before (apart from metaphorically). As I peered through the kaleidoscopic mix of city lights and rain, I realised I had company. A Corsa, close, fully loaded, trying to get even closer. Smartphones and hollers of ‘Mate! Race ya!’ Then an insistence on hearing the Ferrari rev like it was the King’s Road. It wasn’t the only harassing hatchback either, and for what seemed like several hours I felt like a jam-covered child trying to outrun wasps at a picnic. 

Seeing the LaFerrari still looking like a LaFerrari should, parked up outside the owner’s garage, key safely in his hand – now that was something akin to a religious vision.

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