Preparing my car for Gumball 3000
With something as major as the Gumball 3000 and, of course, that many miles in seven days, I had to ensure the car I am driving, a Ferrari F355 Spider, was not only ready, but in the best possible condition.
It also meant it needed some upgrades too.
But before I go any further, I have to extend my thanks to The Ferrari Centre in Kent. They are independent Ferrari specialists with over 30 years’ experience looking after Prancing Horse supercars. Rodger, the owner, along with his wife Claire, are friendly and passionate about what they do, whilst also taking both a pragmatic and cost-effective view as to what needs to be done. I bought the car from them and, unless something unexpected happens meaning I would choose elsewhere, will use them for as long as I have the car. I should also add that the team of James, Dave and Matt are always on hand to do anything you might need.
When I was deciding which car to drive, I consulted many people, including them. My main concern was that, despite wanting to do the Rally in the F355, it would not hack the hard miles and the pace they will be driven at. Both Rodger and Claire’s response, having owned many Ferraris over the years including an F40 and, now, an F12 Berlinetta, was both instant and simple… “That’s what these cars are made for… she’ll be fine… go for it”.
What comforted me somewhat was that, despite the F355 being 22 years old, it is a much more mechanical proposition compared to the newer, more electronics dominated supercars. In the year I have had it, and without tempting fate, she has not missed a beat. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said of the California T.
So, when I had made my decision, I spoke to The Ferrari Centre about what needed to be done and, in just under five weeks, all the work was completed. You can find a complete breakdown of all the work under the cost of the Gumball.
The car, of course, had to be protected with paint protection film, which was absolutely necessary given the likelihood of some serious stone chips along the course of the Rally. I had also toyed with the idea of wrapping it / adding some decals but, in the end, I thought it would detract from the car’s feline, classic look. Additionally, she makes more than enough noise to draw attention, without the need for adding chrome or some racing stripes!
Seeing her in the service centre, with the unbelievably large AP Racing brakes and wheel spacers added to accommodate them, she has a slightly wider (15mm all round), more aggressive stance. 15mm doesn’t sound like a lot, but now the alloys fill the wheel arches perfectly, providing a more attractive aesthetic and, of course, better handling.
Driving her home, before covering her up ready to be shipped, was just incredible. The tightening of the gear linkage, coupled with the new engine and gearbox mounts, meant she felt razor sharp; how I imagine it would have been to drive her back in September 1997, when she was built.
So once again I extend my thanks to the guys at The Ferrari Centre for looking after me… Now it’s just a case of resisting driving her, particularly with the amazing weather here in London, before she sets sail for Mykonos!