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F430, 911 TURBO, GALLARDO TRACKDAY
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Last week I had a date with the aforementioned at Llandow, which admittedly, is closer to a go-karting track than a proper circuit. But anyway, in the far too brief time of four laps in each car, a fun time was still had and I left there with heaps of adrenalin insomnia setting in during the following couple of days.

As expected, the conclusion I took away from the experience was partially worthless due to the time frame in each car and the fact all three had a different degree of a 'worn' feeling you inevitably get with track slags.

During the drive to the track I was most excited about popping my Fezza cherry, but the F430 Spider proved to be the least enjoyable of the three. It had the worst worn interior of the trio, driving position not race-like, the manual gearbox (while 8) with the open-gate) felt temperamental and volatile and lacked composure that the 997 Turbo and Lambo had when pressing on.

Getting from the F430 and into the 911 immediately felt 'just right' and the interior was a much more quality product. From engaging first gear I got that instant feeling of precise crispness lacking from the Fandango. Then swiftly came the back-straight comparison: The 911 Turbo was in a completely different league (half-expected) as it ate it up at a frightening pace - failed to clip the apex at the approaching chicane as I carried far too much speed in and heard the gentle cry from the pro racer sat next to me. I openly admit I've never felt acceleration like this before and I left the car shaking like a shitting dog.

Through the bends, not a hint of understeer surprisingly. And I found myself getting on the power earlier with each bend.

In terms of pace, the Gallardo and 911 Turbo felt pretty even, just 5mph extra eeked out of the Porsche down the main straight, as I ignored the pro racer's demands to change up at 5000rpm as long as I dared, eventually clipping 120mph in third before snatching fourth and braking hard for the sharp left at the end.

Leaving the 911, it felt the antithesis of what I initially had in mind. Far from a complete animal. And incredibly docile and so very very easy for a ham-fisted individual like myself to use. It forgives a lot more than you think, thankfully.

The Gallardo was a very similar experience, but with an immense aural soundtrack (that V10 8) ) but with an interior that felt more delicate than the 911's. Again, an open-gate manual but this one felt considerably more friendly than the Ferrari's which makes me wonder what can you take way from these experiences when it's a given each car will be at different state of wear-and-tear.

I did like how the instructor in this car allowed me to chase the redline as often as I like with complete freedom and kept pushing me to go harder and faster each lap, despite him not shutting up and letting me enjoy more of that glorious V10. That first blap will live with me forever.

To sum up, on this very limited experience and the selection, I'd take the Lamborghini Gallardo for laps of the track. But to live with on a daily basis, the 911 Turbo every time. I always felt the Carrera S would be the complete all-rounder, but if I was fortunate to have the choice between this and Turbo, the fact is could not live without Turbot performance in my life. So very rapid and highly addictive.

On another note, the instructors upon getting in the F430 and Gallardo were keen to tell straight away "do this, don't do that" regarding the clutches and gearboxes. In the 911 Turbo, the instructor simply said "just drive".

I don't know why but I hate V10's

Its a tough call admittedly between the remainder but like you as much as I have always loved 911's it would have to be the F430.

Cheers

Steve

I really wanted to love the F430 Spider, but that gearbox ruined it for me. I'm sure it would've been a different matter had it been the F1 'box :)

The F430 manual must be pretty rare. You probably would have loved the paddle shift as its very good and the gate does take a bit of getting used to.

Updated February 19, 2013 at 8:44 PM

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