Long term tests

Pagani Zonda C12 S

Henry has persuaded Harry Metcalfe that they should swap cars for the day...

The excess on the insurance for me to drive Harry’s Zonda is the same as the list price for my Caterham. Which is interesting.

‘Don’t touch the traction control,’ says Harry.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

‘What, this little button?’

‘Yes, that one. You know the bit at the end of an episode of The Apprentice? I don’t want to have to re-enact it. Oh, and the rear tyres are shot.’

‘OK!’ I say with all the breeziness I can muster. And then he shuts the door and I’m alone in the Zonda, muttering, ‘Ya fired!’

Of all the supercars, this is the one I’ve wanted to drive most. I’ve been just slightly obsessed with it since I was at school. Now I’m finally about to drive one. I can’t believe Harry went for my ‘every garage should have a Caterham’ line, but there he is, fighting with the four-point harness…

We roll out of his driveway (so much torque you don’t really need the throttle) and through the narrow streets of his village. The antennae mirrors are purely decorative, so guessing how close the huge rear end is to clipping badly parked Toyotas and narrow Cotswold bridges is fun.The biggest early impression (and this is going to sound really geekily road tester-ish, but trust me) isn’t the sparklingly light steering or the wall of sound from the quad exhausts – it’s the ride. The way the Zonda glides across bumps and dips yet stays in touch with the road is just perfect.

Which in turn gives you the confidence to use all 600bhp. You have to accept that any attempt to do so will land you in an overcrowded prison if you’re caught, but it’s worth it. Wait for a clear piece of road, snap the throttle open in fourth gear at 5000rpm and the instant slam forward feels like you’ve been hit with one of God’s lightning bolts. Then you have to brake really quite hard to make sure your don’t run into the back of Alan Sugar in the Caterham in front.

Running Costs

Date acquiredMay 2006
Total mileage30,720
Costs this month£0
Mileage this month539
MPG this month18.9

Most Popular

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series breaks Nürburgring lap record
Mercedes AMG GT

Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series breaks Nürburgring lap record

The GT3-derived Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series is now officially the world’s fastest series production road car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife, lap…
17 Nov 2020
UK bans sale of petrol engined cars from 2030
Electric cars

UK bans sale of petrol engined cars from 2030

British Government brings forward its ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel engines to 2030. All hybrids banned from 2035.
18 Nov 2020
Synthetic fuels explained: is there such a thing as carbon neutral petrol?
Technology

Synthetic fuels explained: is there such a thing as carbon neutral petrol?

Could carbon-neutral synthetic fuels save the internal combustion engine and safeguard the future of the cars we love?
18 Nov 2020
Ferrari 812 GTS 2020 review – ultimate open-top V12 thrills
Ferrari

Ferrari 812 GTS 2020 review – ultimate open-top V12 thrills

A wonderful combination of near-hypercar pace and open air driving
3 Dec 2020