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Choosing a Car for Gumball 3000

Ferrari F355 Badge

One of the major decisions when participating in the Gumball 3000 Rally is, of course, which car to drive. The first decision for me was whether I wanted to do it in my own car or, like many who take part in the Rally, to rent one, as I discuss in this video.

Here are some examples of what renting a supercar, for an event like the Gumball, might cost:

Make / ModelLamborghini Aventador SLamborghini Huracan Performante SpyderFerrari 488 SpiderFerrari California TMclaren 720sAudi R8 Spyder
Cost£24,500£21,000£19,000£16,000£19,500£16,000

 

These figures are inclusive of shipping the car to Mykonos and leaving it in Ibiza at the end of the event, the mileage of the Rally (3,000 miles) and a support car should there be a breakdown / flat tyre. What it does not include is insurance, which you have to arrange yourself – I estimated this to be around £7,500 – £15,000, depending on the car, on top of the rental cost.

I decided quite quickly however that this was not the option for me.  As my first Gumball, I wanted the occasion to be marked as one I could tell my children (when I have them!) about and, especially, having the car I drove the Gumball in, in my garage. So then I thought about whether I should use the Ferrari California T, the Ferrari F355 Spider, or perhaps purchase one specifically for the event.

I drew up a list of cars both in my price range and considered all the attributes I thought would be vital for a Gumball car and, perhaps more importantly, driving 3000 miles in: looks; power; comfort; and noise. The top hit was the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, which I test drove a few weeks ago. It was a car I enjoyed driving and is beautiful on the outside with linear, effortless power delivery, but when I thought about it, was it really a better option than the California T? No was my resounding answer; it doesn’t have the same breadth of capabilities the California T does. It might be slightly more cossetting, thereby with arguably better GT credentials, but it also needs to cut it as a real supercar and, being honest, it fell down here. The Ferrari feels much more connected and, despite having a hard top retractable roof instead of a soft top, is lighter on its toes and more sporty. Plus I was a little underwhelmed by the noise, even through a tunnel with the windows open.

So then I started to question whether I should be looking to buy a car at all, when I already had two amazing options available. Firstly, the California T… it has the looks (albeit not superstar looks like, for example, the Huracan or the 488), comfort, power, luggage space and the fact it should be reliable, being a pretty new car and having only done 8,000 miles. It’s a sensational car to drive and, I think, unfairly gets labelled as not being a proper Ferrari. This is total nonsense in my books and, in many ways, would be the perfect Gumball 3000 car, particularly with its incredible double clutch gearbox and the fact you can drop the roof at the touch of a button.

Secondly, the F355 Spider. This certainly has the looks and, in my view, is the prettiest V8 Ferrari ever made; although perhaps the 458 comes close. It also makes one of the greatest noises ever to be emitted from four exhaust tips, especially with a Capristo exhaust system fitted. It has a surprising amount of room for luggage in the ‘frunk’ and, from what I have experienced driving it, is actually very reliable when maintained properly; remember this car was from an age when electronics were only just starting to make their way into supercars, meaning it is a much more mechanically orientated vehicle. So if a part fails, it just gets replaced, instead of having to deal with all sorts of electrical gremlins that plague (and have plagued the California T – a separate article and video on that to come) much newer supercars. Plus, it’s manual, something I think adds an even greater sense of sensation to driving a car like that.

So I made my decision… and what a decision to make… which Ferrari to take on the Gumball 3000 Rally… it really is what (my) dreams are made of…

And that decision was . . . the Ferrari F355 Spider.

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