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Ferrari 812 Superfast vs Aston Martin DBS Superleggera


Sept. 11, 2019

Ferrari and Aston approach the maximum GT thing from very different directions
But then the Ferrari gets on track, and you forget everything. You forget the tyre roar, the nervous steering, the price. You forget your own name, where you live, your next of kin. Although the latter suddenly becomes highly relevant. This is not a car. It’s a bomb with alloy wheels. In a world full of overstatement, I think I’m slightly underplaying it by saying that this Ferrari, with this naturally aspirated engine, is quite literally epic.
It revs like a superbike, dying out of its own stratospheric range like the rev-counter is attached to a rubber band. It blips downshifts like an F1 car. It leaves black tyre marks everywhere – not just when sliding – although that might have something to do with the ‘option’ tyres Ferrari thought were necessary for our track jaunt. But it’s not really about the tyres, here. It’s about the combination of a genius naturally aspirated engine and shotgun gearbox coupled to a car that’s so viscerally intent, that it seems unreasonable that your brain must be expected to keep pace with your body.
At first, the information arrives in an almost overwhelming deluge. Like walking in to a noisy chatter-filled party from a quiet garden. But soon, the channels separate, become distinct. There’s subtlety, and nuance. You just have to get your head around the fact that there’s also 789bhp fighting its way through the rear tyres, and mostly winning. Slow corner? I applied possibly a millimetre too much throttle and found myself instantly facing the wrong way with a dazed look on my face. Fast corner? The 812 had me sweating, jabbing away oversteer with crazed concentration.
If you want to really go fast in an 812 Superfast with the traction systems disabled, you’d better have had your Weetabix. And several coffees. And a partial lobotomy. On the road, you just can’t deploy full 812. But you also can’t deploy full DBS either, so they’re relatively close to each other point-to-point on a real road. But on a track? The Ferrari leaves the DBS for dead. Then burns the body and salts the earth.
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